If you are used to cooking with ordinary ovens, you may be confused about what a convection oven is. You have probably heard about home cooks throwing around words like “convection cooking” and “a convection oven setting” without really knowing what it means.
So, if you’re wondering about what exactly a convection oven does and how you would use it or if you’re looking to buy a good one (with microwave function) for your own kitchen, here is everything you need to know beforehand.
What is a Convection Oven?
A tabletop convection oven is different from ordinary ovens in the very structure, functioning, and construction of it. While ordinary ovens create a high temperature within the oven’s environment to heat or cook food, convection oven produces concentrated heat energy that ensures uniform heating.
A convection oven comes with an exhaust system and a fan. The exhaust system takes air from the atmosphere and produces hot air. The fan then blows the hot air inside the premises of the oven, surrounding the food placed inside. The exhaust system then vents out the hot air out into the atmosphere, and the food is ready to be devoured!
The convection oven works better and quicker than regular ovens because it sends heat directly to the surface of the food in the oven and cooks the food evenly. On top of that, convection ovens are known to produce over 25 percent more heat than a regular oven. A great way to illustrate why convection ovens function better is considering how your body temperature changes in the winter.
Our body tends to get colder in a windy winter day than on a windless winter day. This is because cold air blows against your body directly during windy days, making the effects of cold more drastic.
What Is A Convection Oven Used For?
A convection oven can practically be used to heat or cook anything. But home and professional cooks have found that the best use of a convection oven is for roasting. You can roast different kinds of meat products like chicken and expect a fully cooked meal within minutes.
This is because convection ovens are great at heating the meat evenly while also creating a crispy layer on the surface, which works miracles with baked potatoes.
Since such ovens let air escape its box, it can create a drier environment where the moisture from meat or vegetables can escape and the sugars within the food can be caramelized, causing a browning on the food. Hence, convection ovens can also be used for baking.
Experts rave about convection ovens for their ability to bake bread efficiently. You can bake bread, cookies, biscuits, brioche buns, tart shells, and more- all with a single convection oven. Since this kind of an oven circulates heat around the food, it allows the dough to puff up and produce more volume while also creating a browning on the surface. This means that you can not only heat or bake food but also toast things like bread or nuts.
How To Use A Convection Oven
It is incredibly easy to use a convection oven. You only need to know a few instructions before you can get started. Here are a few pieces of information you need to keep in mind:
- Temperature: Since you have the option of setting the temperature in a convection oven, you need to be mindful of how the settings are fixed and whether it is too high because a higher temperature can cause any food you want to heat to burn easily. So, the first step of using a convection oven is to set the temperature at a comparatively low rate. The ideal temperature for a convection oven is usually 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Air circulation: The reason many people get convection ovens is its reputation for cooking food very evenly. But if the heat from the oven is not properly circulated around the box, the food will not be cooked properly as well. So, you need to make sure that the heated air can circulate the way it should. You can facilitate that by using trays, baking pans, roasting pans, etc. and avoiding any foil coverings on the food.
- Monitoring: Food usually cooks faster in convection ovens. So, if you don’t check how your food is cooking at regular intervals, you might end up with burnt garbage. Hence, you need to check on the food after every few minutes of the recommended time and change the temperature settings to adjust the heat if necessary.
Apart from all of that, it is necessary to figure out how to use a convection oven by playing around with it a few times. This will help you understand what works best with it and help you enjoy its amazing results.
When To Use A Convection Oven
Here are the ways in which you can use a convection oven:
- Roasting: It is highly recommended to use convection ovens for roasting meats as well as vegetables. Such food would take longer to cook in a stove or a regular oven. But because of how quickly and evenly a convection oven is able to heat food, you can cook meats and vegetables within a dry environment for crispy skin on the outside and ensure that the exteriors are fully caramelized for better flavoring.
- Baking pies or pastries: The heat from a convection oven is great at melting fats as well as at creating steam. So, the steam can help to puff up pie doughs or pastries for a fluffy texture. Hence, you can bake excellent croissants with a convection oven.
- Making cookies: When you bake cookies in a regular oven, you have to rotate the cookie tray while they are baking in order to ensure even heating. But since convection ovens are expert at the art of cooking evenly, it is much easier to bake large amounts of cookies quickly and at a time.
- Toasting: Convection ovens are very efficient at toasting or dehydrating food. This is because it allows the food to remove moisture from it very quickly through the exhaust system.
- Heating covered food: If you want to heat a food item without removing any of its moisture content, you can simply cover the dish with a lid and benefit from the speedy cooking. So, you can totally use a convection oven for cooking a casserole dish!
The Best Convection Ovens
If you are keen about convection cooking but you are confused about which oven to buy, you can get the Oster Extra Large Digital Countertop oven. It is one of the best convection ovens in the market since it is both reasonable in price and highly functional in its capacity.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can always check out the Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Convection oven. But if you are willing to splurge, the best option of the fully-featured Wisco-620 Commercial Convection Countertop Oven.
Cooking with convection ovens is really easy, efficient, and quick. And this article should help you understand the basics of convection learning, its use, and its functions.