When preparing food in a range oven, one of the most advantageous features you can have is a convection cooking option.
Just what is a convection oven? It’s a fairly simple concept that has revolutionized how people cook. Basically, a convection oven has all the normal elements of a regular oven—but it also has an interior fan with its own heating element that circulates heated air around the oven compartment.
This has the effect of literally pushing heated air against whatever food is being prepared. This in turn reduces what is known as the “thermal boundary layer”—a naturally-forming layer of cooler air that surrounds the food and slows cooking. When that layer is reduced, food is cooked faster and browns quicker as the moving heated air results in more even cooking and heat distribution throughout the oven.
Convection ovens are available in a number of styles and configurations such as this ILVE UPN90FDMPB range oven, which is a truly luxury kitchen appliance. They also can be installed as a single wall oven like this slim and sleek Bosch HMC54151UC or even as a double wall oven unit for large-scale culinary feats, which you can accomplish easily with the Viking VDOE130SS.
HOW TO COOK IN A CONVECTION OVEN
With convection cooking, you should keep some things in mind to get the best out of your oven:
- The cooking process has improved so much that lower temperatures, less power, and less time are needed for food preparation (just a few of the benefits of a convection oven).
- Special care should be taken to lower the oven temperature to a proper level so that food won’t get overcooked or dried out. This drop in temperature is usually around 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Since the entire convection process is based on the movement of hot air, foods should be spread out enough within the oven to allow for proper circulation.
- You should use shallow pans or baking sheets, so the maximum amount of food surface is exposed to the heat.
- When using the convection feature, make sure to keep in mind just how much more efficient this type of cooking is when compared to normal oven settings. Cooking time is usually reduced by about 25%. Until you get used to the differences in temperature and cooking time, you may want to check on your dishes to see how they are progressing. It may take some getting used to, but the results will be worth it.
WHEN TO USE A CONVECTION OVEN
Another great feature of using a convection oven is the fantastic variety of foods and recipes which are only improved using the convection method. Meats and roasts such as beef, pork, chicken, and turkey will come out hot, juicy, and thoroughly cooked to your taste inside, while the outside is gently crisped for that savory sealed-in flavor. Roasted vegetables cook more evenly while retaining their tenderness. When baking pies in a convection oven, the bottoms of the pies will not be more browned than the tops—a common problem when baking in a regular oven. Brownies and cookies especially benefit from convection baking since the all-over heating allows for the batter to rise and settle perfectly. However, not all baked goods should be convection cooked, as the continual air movement is detrimental to more delicate dishes like custards and souffles.
There is a myriad of recipes for all kinds of foods that can be convection cooked. Remember, you shouldn’t feel limited—you should only feel free to explore the culinary possibilities open to you with a convection oven.