Baking is a timeless art form that has been around for centuries. With the advent of modern technology, we have a wide range of ovens to choose from, including convection and regular ovens. While convection ovens are newer, they have quickly gained in popularity due to their faster and more even cooking capabilities. However, for those who are used to traditional baking, regular ovens still have a place in their hearts.
In this article, we will explore the differences between convection and regular ovens, the pros and cons of each, and how to decide which one is right for you.
What is a Convection Oven?
A convection oven is an oven that uses a fan to circulate hot air inside the oven. This fan helps to distribute heat more evenly, which can result in faster cooking times and more evenly baked goods. Convection ovens also tend to cook at a lower temperature than regular ovens, which means that they are more energy efficient.
The fan in a convection oven can be either a rear fan or a third heating element. Rear fan convection ovens push the hot air from the back of the oven, while third heating element ovens have a heating element near the fan to help distribute the heat more evenly.
Pros of Convection Ovens
- Faster cooking times: Convection ovens cook food up to 25% faster than regular ovens, so you can get dinner on the table more quickly.
- More even cooking: The fan in a convection oven helps to distribute heat more evenly, so your food cooks more evenly.
- Crispier crusts: The fan in a convection oven helps to remove moisture from the surface of your food, resulting in a crisper crust for baked goods and meats.
- Energy efficient: Because convection ovens cook at a lower temperature than regular ovens, they are more energy efficient.
Cons of Convection Ovens
- More expensive: Convection ovens tend to be more expensive than regular ovens.
- May require adjustments to recipes: Because convection ovens cook faster and more evenly, you may need to adjust the cooking time or temperature of your favorite recipes.
- Loud operation: The fan in a convection oven can be quite loud, which can be a nuisance in open-plan living spaces.
What is a Regular Oven?
A regular oven, also known as a conventional oven, is an oven that heats food by surrounding it with dry, hot air. Regular ovens do not have fans to circulate the hot air, so the heat tends to be more localized, which can result in uneven cooking.
Pros of Regular Ovens
- Less expensive: Regular ovens tend to be less expensive than convection ovens.
- No special adjustments needed: Because regular ovens do not cook as quickly or evenly as convection ovens, you don’t need to make special adjustments to your recipes.
- Quieter operation: Regular ovens do not have fans, so they tend to be quieter than convection ovens.
Cons of Regular Ovens
- Slower cooking times: Regular ovens tend to cook more slowly than convection ovens, which can mean longer wait times for your food to be ready.
- Less even cooking: Without a fan to circulate the hot air, regular ovens can result in unevenly cooked food.
- Less energy efficient: Regular ovens tend to use more energy than convection ovens, as they need to stay at a higher temperature to cook food thoroughly.
Which One Should You Choose?
Choosing between a convection oven and a regular oven ultimately comes down to personal preference and cooking style. If you tend to do a lot of baking or roasting and want crisp, evenly-cooked food quickly, a convection oven is the best choice for you. If, on the other hand, you don’t mind waiting a bit longer for your food to cook and prefer a quieter operation, a regular oven may be the better choice.
How to Convert Recipes for Convection Ovens
If you have a recipe that was written for a regular oven and you want to use your convection oven instead, there are a few adjustments you’ll need to make to ensure that your food cooks properly:
- Lower the temperature by 25°F: Convection ovens cook at a lower temperature than regular ovens, so you’ll need to lower the temperature by 25°F to compensate.
- Reduce the cooking time: Convection ovens cook faster than regular ovens, so you’ll need to reduce the cooking time by about 25%.
- Use baking sheets with low sides: Because the fan in a convection oven circulates hot air around your food, you’ll get better results if you use baking sheets with low sides. This allows the hot air to circulate freely without hitting the sides of the pan and affecting the cooking process.
- Rotate the pans: Because convection ovens cook more evenly than regular ovens, you may not need to rotate your pans during the cooking process. However, if you’re cooking multiple pans at once, it’s a good idea to rotate them halfway through to ensure that they cook evenly.
When it comes down to it, both convection and regular ovens have their pros and cons. If you’re in the market for a new oven, consider your cooking style and preferences to determine which one is right for you. And don’t forget to make the necessary adjustments when cooking with your new oven to ensure that your food cooks evenly and thoroughly.
What’s the difference between convection bake and regular bake?
Convection bake uses a fan to circulate hot air inside the oven for faster and more even cooking, while regular bake uses dry, hot air that is not circulated, resulting in slower cooking times and less even cooking.
Can you use convection bake for all recipes?
While convection bake is great for most recipes, not all recipes are suitable for convection baking. Recipes that require a high level of moisture, such as custards and soufflés, are better suited to regular baking.
Do you need to make adjustments when using a convection oven?
Yes, you’ll need to lower the temperature by 25°F and reduce the cooking time by about 25%. You’ll also want to use baking sheets with low sides and rotate the pans halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking.
Are convection ovens more energy efficient?
Yes, convection ovens are more energy efficient than regular ovens because they cook at a lower temperature and cook faster, which means less time spent heating your oven.
Are there any downsides to using a convection oven?
Convection ovens tend to be more expensive than regular ovens, and they can be louder due to the fan. Additionally, you may need to make adjustments to your recipes when using a convection oven.
Are regular ovens still a good choice?
Yes, regular ovens are still a great choice for those who prefer a quieter operation and don’t mind waiting a bit longer for their food to cook. They are also less expensive than convection ovens.
What kind of baking sheet should I use in a convection oven?
You should use baking sheets with low sides to allow the hot air to circulate freely around your food.
Can I cook multiple dishes at once in a convection oven?
Yes, you can cook multiple dishes at once in a convection oven. However, be sure to rotate the pans halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking.
What temperature should I set my convection oven to?
You should lower the temperature by 25°F when using a convection oven.