Many of today’s new homes automatically come with top-grade appliances and food preparation technology, from innovations in food storage to baking and stovetop cooking. And the renovation revolution is another source of high tech appliances being bought and snatched up, just as soon as they hit the market. It seems that kitchen technology especially leads the way in home elements that create the overall appeal of the home.
One of the most significant improvements to kitchen technology has been the widespread introduction of convection cooking. Actually, many homeowners are not really sure what this even means. They’ve heard of it and understand that it is supposed to be an improvement over existing baking, but they don’t really know how or why it is better.
Perfectly Done Baking
Anyone who knows how to operate an oven can certainly operate a convection oven. All the foods you normally cook in a traditional oven can be cooked in much the same manner as in a convection oven, with one exception: everything you cook in your convection oven will be evenly done, perfectly browned, crisped, with no underdone spots–evenly baked.
A True Time Saver
The best way to learn all about convection baking technology is simply by using it. You can begin by experimenting with your favorite recipes. You will always want to set your convection oven to bake at a lower temperature than you have been used to baking with, and set your timer for a shorter period of time. So, in addition to more even baking, a convection oven will save on time, dependably.
A Fan Circulates the Hot Air Evenly Within the Oven During the Baking Process.
Conventional ovens use something called radiant heat, with no apparatus to really circulate the heat away from its source in order that the source would not be the hottest area of the oven. A convection oven ensures the evenest form of heat distribution by constantly sending the heat around within the oven cavity. The hot air that is virtually forced to circulate around within the oven more quickly penetrates the food, therefore cooking it more uniformly.
The scientific explanation for this can be illustrated in a simple form by the consideration of the wind chill factor. When you add cold blasts of icy winds on a frigid winter day, you will become colder, faster than you would if the wind suddenly stopped blowing, even though the air might be the same temperature, unchanged.
Convection Baking’s Superior Performance
By forcing the heat to speed into constant circulation for the cooking process, there are chemical reactions that, while also occurring during conventional baking, are sped up dramatically during the convection baking process. Pastries like pie crusts, puff pastry, and croissants get their ultimate flakiness from the careful addition of butter into the layers. A convection oven causes this butter to release it’s steam quicker, maximizing the flakiness of the layers.
The skin and marbling in meats are forced to render their fats more quickly, facilitating superbly even browning and juicier, more tender results. Caramelizing vegetables and potatoes is easier than ever, with their sugars being produced sooner, creating delightfully crisp edges, moist interiors with the deepest flavors not lost. Generally, you can expect your convection oven to produce a fully baked food in 25% of the time a conventional oven would have required.
Convection Assures a Uniform Baking Temperature Throughout Your Oven
With convection cooking, you can dependably fill up every available space in your oven with foods to bake, and without worrying about whether anything will cook more in certain areas than others, or some dishes cooking more than other ones. Regardless of the volume of entities baking away in your oven, they will all turn out perfectly and evenly heated, and thus no burned spots or mushy, undercooked areas.
If you were to try to accomplish such extensive baking efforts as this by using a conventional oven, what you would end up with would be the foods on the bottom rack being overcooked, with questionable levels of doneness to the middle rack’s foods and mostly overcooked (just on top) items baking on the top shelf.
No hotter or cooler spots within the oven at any time of the cooking process. Just imagine how much quicker your holiday baking would be accomplished! And you save money, as you are not using your oven nearly as long–baking as much as three times the volume as ever before. Roasting meats in a convection oven in a baking dish or rack with low sides(or a baking sheet with a slight rim) will produce an even, all-over golden browning, so much tastier and prettier than the same roast, when done in a traditional oven. And your roast will be ready much sooner, too!
How to Tell Whether a Convection Oven is an Authentic Convection Oven
Unfortunately, not all convection ovens are created the same, and some less than scrupulous merchants will call certain ovens convection ovens, even though they do not really perform using the same technology, and thus don’t deliver the same perfect results. In order to adequately blow air into the oven’s cavity, a convection oven needs to be designed with a third heating element, in addition to the top and bottom elements in a radiant oven. This third heat generator is typically located near or around the fan in the back area of the oven.
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By heating the oven’s air to the same temp as the rest of the oven before it is blown through the oven, there is no temperature variation at any time of the cooking process. There is often a panel or baffle that covers this third heating element, and channels the air sucked in by the fan past the heating element and back into the oven–energy efficiently. Ovens that feature an externally mounted fan result in unheated air being sucked into the oven to circulate the air, where it mixes with properly heated air. You can imagine the result–there’s no way to regulate the oven’s temperature, ever.
Why a Countertop Model May Not be the Best Choice For You
Most “true convection” ovens are created to be ovens that are actually built into the wall, or as slide-in ranges, and not countertop models. Full-sized ovens provide better circulation and ventilation, and may even be designed with the further benefits of a filtering system–and is self-cleaning. If you find that you can only use a countertop model, make sure to look for the few that actually offer heating elements that are integrated into the fan.