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What is a convection oven?


Lady taking out freshly baked cookies from the oven

All ovens weren’t created equal. While it may not matter to you what kind of oven you’ve got, it is very useful to understand the difference between an ordinary oven and a convection oven. Professional chefs swear by the advantages of convection ovens. That’s because it cooks food slightly differently. But what is a fan oven and when can you use it? Let’s take a look.

What is a convection oven and how do you use it?

A convection oven has a fan and an exhaust system and that’s what makes it stand out from regular ovens. An ordinary oven will cook the food by heating the outside of the food with hot air. The outer parts of a dish are continuously exposed to higher heat and the food is kept in the oven until this heat has reached the inner parts and cooked them. 

A convection oven uses a fan to blow around the air more evenly. Not only does it make the air hotter because the force on the air produces more heat, but it also distributes it more evenly. 

Convection ovens can produce up to 30 percent more energy. However, this will depend on the power of the fan. So a convection oven cooks your food faster and is hotter, even without preheating the oven!

How to use a convection oven

Convection ovens do cook food differently. Here’s what you need to know. 

  1. Because cooking and baking are much more efficient in a convection oven, you can set the temperature a little lower than that of a traditional oven. 
  2. Food cooks faster in a convection oven. That means you should check your dishes or baked goods more often. If it’s the first time using your oven, judge by how the food looks and smells rather than going by cooking time in a recipe. You’ll get the hang of it quickly!
  3. Avoid putting too many dishes in the oven. The air vents must be able to circulate the air for the convection oven to work properly. It will become less efficient the more dishes are stacked into it.
  4. Similarly, it’s advised to use lower dishes and pans and baking sheets without rims. This means the air can circulate better and you’ll be able to serve up your delicious meal much faster.
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When to use a convection oven

It’s tempting to reduce the time to cook and bake. But there are some dishes convection ovens just weren’t made for. 

They’re great for most dishes from casseroles to lasagnes to baking cookies. 

Here are some of the foods that can be safely cooked using a convection oven:

  • Roast vegetables
  • Roast meat
  • Toasted bread
  • Cookies
  • Pies
  • Casseroles
  • Lasagnes

But if you’re preparing more delicate foods like soufflés or pastries, the quickly moving air can actually dry them out or destroy them. Foods that are best not cooked using the convection setting include:

  • Custards
  • Soufflés
  • Bread
  • Cakes

Make sure you also know how to decipher oven symbols, how a self-cleaning oven works and how to clean a ceramic hob. You will be cooking up a storm in no time!