How Does a Convection Oven Work?: Important Facts
If you are familiar with baking, you would know how tedious the process can be. Some bakers do a lot of tactics just to get a perfectly baked item, and mimic what a convection oven can do. They may put a dish with water in their ovens to prevent overheating, or they may even regularly rotate the dishes to prevent their goods from burning.
Some bakers are also paranoid about using their bottom shelves for fear that their baked goodies will burn. Luckily, with the science behind how it works, using it can prevent you from doing all those things mentioned above.
You may have heard about convection ovens and associated them with something that professionals use in their kitchen. However, that is not the case for everyone because some home cooks own smaller versions that can fit on top of their countertops. In fact, some traditional models or gas ranges come equipped with a setting so you won’t actually have to upgrade.
With that said, if you are planning to get one or your oven has a convection feature, and you want to learn more about it, then this article will be helpful. Throughout this piece, we will give you the information you need to know about the mechanism it uses and how it differs from the traditional version. We will also discuss some tips on how to properly use it and when not to.
How Does a Convection Oven Work?
A convection oven works by using radiant heat that emanates from the top or bottom surfaces. In some models, the heat can come from both the top and bottom surfaces. Much like a typical model, such a heat setting will mean that it will have spots that are hotter than other areas.
To deal with that issue, this device comes equipped with a fan and an exhaust system that work in tandem to circulate the hot air and to vent it out. The circulation of hot air will eventually lead to an even temperature.
The science it is that the air will speed up the way in which heat is transferred. Rather than the air just staying in one area and surrounding the food, the fan allows it to be blown directly onto the food. You should consider that the oven and the fan will produce two different temperatures. Despite having two different temperatures, there is a rate of natural heat transfer.
What are the Pros and Cons of Using a Convection Oven?
The way how the convection oven works actually has a number of benefits and drawbacks.
There are reasons why you should use one, and the list is a bit exhaustive. For one, using one means that your meal would cook faster because of certain reasons such as where the hot air is directed. They also brown your food items better than the traditional oven because the convection technology helps create an atmosphere where there is no humidity; hence, the air is dry and browning takes place faster.
Convection ovens are also preferred over regular ones because they save energy. What makes it energy efficient is that it operates at a lower temperature, and as mentioned, they cook food faster. Not only that, they also cook food more evenly as the fan circulates the air throughout. This circulation of air will help to distribute the heat evenly to all parts. In addition, these products have become popular simply because the accelerated heating speeds up chemical reactions in your dishes and yields superior, yet favorable results.
As discussed, these devices come equipped with a fan and are full of heat. Since some food items are delicate, using this kind of device may become a liability and destroy the look and texture of the final product. As such, they should not be used to make soufflés, cakes, quick bread, and any types of bread.
Also, in some instances, though it may allow for even browning, the interior of the baked items may be a bit too dry for your liking when using this kind of cooking method.
What are the Guidelines to Follow?
If you prefer to use a convection oven when cooking food, you should always set the temperature 25 degrees Celcius or Fahrenheit lower than what is suggested in the recipe. Apart from that, it is also advised that you adjust the time. As suggested, the time required to cook the food on the recipe should be adjusted to 25% less as well. So, for instance, if the recipe advises you to bake an item for one hour, you should bake it for no more than forty-five minutes.
The time and temperature adjustments are recommended as they tend to be hotter than traditional versions. Additionally, to get the full benefits, your baking pans should have low sides so that the air can circulate adequately and evenly. With a convection oven, you can comfortably use the bottom shelves and you do not necessarily have to rotate your pans. If you are using parchment or foil in your baking, you should use a spoon to hold them down because the convection’s fan can blow them around.
A convection oven actually has a pretty cool design, and it can be expensive. However, if you are a baker, chef or a regular in the kitchen, the benefits derived from owning such a product may far outweigh the cost. The way it works not only reduces your baking time and cooks the items faster, but it also works well as a tool for energy conservation. If you are environmentally conscious, then this is a must-have appliance for your kitchen.
Even if you don’t want to get one because you deem it to be a commercial appliance, there are countertop versions that can also be used as toasters and rotisserie. They are also a lot more affordable and will not require you to replace your entire oven. Overall, purchasing one of these could help you to improve your cooking skills in the long term.