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How Does a Convection Oven Work, and Should I Get One?

Aug 18, 2016 | by Carrie

Here's the funny thing about the term, "convection oven." Your standard oven already is a convection oven, defined by "the natural circulation of heat as the result of temperature differences." And, that's exactly how your current oven operates. Convection ovens, however, take that process one step further by adding a fan and exhaust unit into the mix.

What is a convection oven and should I get one?

The fan significantly enhances the "circulation of heat," eliminating temperature variations and irregularities prevalent in standard ovens. You know, the ones that require turning cookie sheets 180-degrees half-way through, or result in lasagnas with crispier, browner back-left corners?

Benefits of a Convection Oven

For this reason, and others, convection ovens are becoming a popular item in the kitchen remodeling market. Even cooking isn't the only reason why cooks and bakers love them, however.

The following are additional benefits offered by convection ovens.

They cook faster. These are busy times, and people want everything quicker and faster. Convection ovens help along these lines because everything cooks quicker, sometimes twice as fast as with standard ovens.

It's like the relationship between wind and cold. When the wind blows on a cold day, you get colder faster. When your convection oven blows hot air around your food, it gets hotter faster.

They brown better. Is there anything better than a nice, browned crispy chicken skin? Or that golden-brown hue on fresh, homemade cookies? You thought your oven browned alright, but a convection oven will show you what browning is all about. Why? Because as food cooks, moisture is released.

In a traditional oven, this moisture creates a bit of humidity until it is burned off, and this humidity competes with the browning concept. Since your convection oven has a vent system, accumulated moisture is vented out and the browning feature wins the match.

It's more energy efficient. Not surprisingly, any oven that heats up faster and cooks your food in less time uses less energy. If your oven is on for half the time, you're using half the energy, and that leads to pretty significant savings in a household that cooks on a daily basis. Combine that efficiency with an energy-efficient oven model, and you've just doubled-down on energy savings.

Things to Know About Using a Convection Oven

There are a few things to know about using a convection oven.

Beware the delicate items. Things like flans and custards, cakes and souffles can be vulnerable to the fan mechanism, resulting in lopsided desserts. Also, the verdict is out on breads. Some swear by the crusty, brown exterior of their convection oven-baked breads, others say the middles seem drier than normal. That's for you and your family taste testers to decide.

Lower the temperature. It's recommended that you lower the cooking or baking temperature of standard oven recipes by 25° for best results.

Check it earlier/use a probe. Undercooked foods can always be put back to bake longer, overcooked foods are doomed. It's a good idea to check foods a little earlier than you would normally, until you get used to the cooking times of your oven. Most have temperature probes that aid in your cause - and smart technology allows these probes to alert your smartphone...pretty cool.

Don't block airflow. For convection ovens to work well, the air has to be able to circulate around the food. Multiple sheet pans are fine, but leave at least an inch around them.

Not sure whether you want a convection oven or not? Not to worry. Most manufacturers make ovens with convection settings, so you can choose which "cooking" style is best suited for a particular recipe or time available.

Want to chat a bit more about your options? Visit us here at Kitchen Magic. In addition to sharing our own insights, we may be able to put you in touch with recent remodel customers so you can get their take on the matter.

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