Convection Oven Buying Guide
Imagine an oven that was able to reduce cooking time by up to 25%, and cooking temperature up to 30%, when compared to standard radiant ovens. Furthermore, imagine that it was so versatile that it could not only cook, but warm, roast, re-thermalize and bake as well. Imagine no longer, because this oven does exist. Convection ovens have become one of the biggest timesavers in the kitchen since the microwave or the handheld electric mixer.
Convection ovens work so efficiently because they're equipped with a fan that actively circulates the hot air in the oven around the food, creating a uniformly even temperature and cooking every surface with equal heat. Standard radiant ovens let air move around the food at random, which creates hot and cold spots, resulting in burnt and undercooked parts of the food. This system of moving air and equal heat also helps to ensure that the bottom of food doesn't get burnt to a crisp while the top is left nearly raw, a frequent occurrence with many regular ovens.
Convection ovens cook food at significantly lower temperatures than do standard radiant ovens, thus saving you plenty on your energy expenses. They are also able to cook at a lower temperature because moving air speeds up the rate of heat transfer between two masses that are unequally warm; because of this, hot, moving air heats things up faster than motionless air of the same temperature.
Not all convection ovens are created equal; there are two types: regular convection ovens and "true" convection ovens, which also go by the names, "third-element convection ovens" or "European convection ovens". The difference is that while both of these ovens use a convection fan to force swirling air around foods, the "true" convection ovens add an extra heating element near the fan, allowing it to blow pre-heated air, instead of moving around the already-heated air that, before now, had just been sitting in the oven. This "true" type of convection oven is slightly more efficient are cooking foods than the regular kind. All convection ovens offered through this website are "true" convection ovens.
Because of how drastically a convection oven changes the time it takes to prepare food and the temperature at which the food is cooked, there are some basic guidelines to follow when using your convection oven. First of all, you should reduce the temperature a recipe calls for you to cook at by at least 25°F. You should also reduce the cooking time that the recipe recommends by up to 25%, depending on how quickly food cooks in your new oven. Keeping a close eye on your food is necessary no matter what type of oven you have. It is important to remember that the longer you need to cook an item, the more time you'll save; you might only drop two minutes or so from a batch of cookies, but your slow-roasting turkey will be done up to an hour sooner.
You should also consider the pans you put in your convection oven. Baking pans with low sides are best suited for convection ovens, as they take full advantage of the moving air by exposing more of the food to it. Unlike standard radiant ovens, you can fill every rack in your convection oven with pans or trays, because there is no longer any chance of unequal heating burning the food.
One other factor to consider when choosing the right convection oven for your particular application is Deep Depth or Standard Depth. Both styles that we carry from Garland / US Range have the same interior height and width ( approximately 29"W x 24"H), but the difference is in their depth. Deep Depth (sometimes called Bakery Depth) convection ovens are approximately 28" deep, which allows the user to load standard size pans in either direction, something that cannot be done in a Standard Depth (24" deep) model. As a result, multiple pans can be "staggered" or faced in alternating directions on the racks for better airflow and more even results, particularly when baking.
Most convection ovens allow you to turn the fan off and on while cooking is taking place. This is a benefit because it allows you to change the texture and color of the food. For instance, if you want a slow-cooked, well-browned roast, you could turn the convection fan on during the beginning or end of cooking, and keep it off for the rest of the time. It’s also suggested that you use a metal spoon or fork to hold down foil or parchment paper, because the convection fan tends to blow their edges up, potentially interfering with the food that is being cooked on them.
You can cook everything in a convection oven that you can cook in a standard radiant oven; oftentimes, items cooked in a convection oven are much tastier, crispier and juicier. Since the cooking time and temperature are less, the butter and flour in a pie crust and other delicate bakery goods won’t have time to fuse, creating flaky layers. The skin of a roasting chicken renders its fat and browns more quickly, so the meat cooks faster and stays juicier. Vegetables caramelize more quickly, and produce crisp edges, moist interiors, and deep flavors.