You may have heard the term convection oven, but werent quite sure how these ovens differ from traditional ones. If you are undergoing a kitchen remodel, you may wonder if they are worth the added expense. Keep reading for an explanation of key differences between convection and traditional models.
Viva la Difference! Its all about air circulation. In a conventional oven, the hot air circulates randomly, but a convection oven has high-speed internal fans that carefully and continually direct the air in the optimal way. The fans ensure that the same temperature air reaches the foods tops and bottoms, as well as the food on different racks. Lots of cooks complain that the bottom of the food gets burned while the top is fine. A convection oven prevents that from happening.
Speed: Because the air circulates more efficiently in a convection oven, food cooks an average of 25% faster than traditional ovens. When you first start using a convection oven, keep a close eye on your creations so you can adjust the recipes if necessary. (Many cooks recommend dropping the convection oven temperature 25 degrees so that it can remain in the oven for the full time.) Look for a model with a good see-through window. Not only will you need to shorten the cooking time, but you may need to reduce the ovens temperature frequently. You can find combination convection and microwave ovens which couple convections ability to brown food to perfection with a microwave ovens speed. You can also buy combination convection/traditional ovens which give you that option as well.
Taste: When used properly, convection ovens usually brown and cook food to perfection. When cooking meat, they do a better job of sealing in the juices, so it is more tender. Opinions about baking with a convection oven vary widely. Most agree they are great for cookies but opinions split on whether or not they are the best choice for brownies, cakes, and muffins. While some say baked goods cook more evenly and pastries are flakier, others argue the centers do not cook through or rise properly.
Energy Efficiency: The speed, lower temperatures, and efficiency with which convection ovens heat food mean that they will consume less energy than traditional models. This can help offset the convection ovens higher cost. In any case, when you add a new appliance to your remodeled kitchen, make sure you buy a model that is Energy Star rated. This shows that the oven meets the governments standards for energy efficiency.