What is Convection Cooking?
Convection cooking is a must in any kitchen, but not a lot of people know what that means. Between commercial convection oven in restaurants and smaller options for your home, these are a staple for everyone.
If you are curious about why it’s a great addition to your home, here are the specifics of convection cooking and ovens.
What Does Convection Mean? Is It Worth It?
So what is convection cooking exactly? It’s a cooking style that’s adjusted for a convection oven. It heats food using the circulation of hot air. A fan is built in to make sure the warm air is continuously surrounding your food, which is can cook and warm it thoroughly.
Your typical, average oven doesn’t feature a fan and only heats up from the top and bottom. It’s why a lot of recipes suggest you flip food over halfway through cooking, that way you get it perfectly cooked. Convection ovens do this naturally due to the air circulation they provide.
Adjusting Recipes for Convection Cooking
To go along with the question of what is convection cooking, you should also ask how you can cook with a convection oven. Since both home and commercial convection ovens have a different style of heating, you may need to how to use a convection oven just change up your recipes.
Most recipes are designed with a regular oven in mind, and because it doesn’t circulate hot air, this type of oven needs longer cooking time, higher temperatures, or even both.
Convection Oven Vs. Regular Oven
What is convection cooking like compared to cooking with a regular oven? While one oven is not better than the other, both have their perks and their disadvantages. Depending on your needs, one may be better suited for you than the other. As mentioned before, both ovens just use different styles of cooking. For example, with a regular oven, there is typically no need to adjust recipes, but a convection oven heats food more evenly.
Let’s take a look at the two types of ovens to see their pros and cons, as well as how they compare to each other.
Cooking More Than One Dish at Once
When it comes to big meals, you may have to put more than one dish in your oven at the same time. When you do this, the temperature in a typical oven can drop, making one dish cook faster than the other. It can become frustrating for you, not to mention that you may under or overcook some items.
What is convection cooking like when handling multiple dishes? Can it do better? Convection ovens can handle more than one dish because it uses thermal heat and warm air at the same time. The circulating air assures that all your meals will cook at the right temperature.
Food Can Be Put Anywhere
You have to be careful where you put your food in an average oven because the heat comes from the top and bottom. Putting anything too close to the top or bottom can result in your food burning.
Again, the air circulation of a convection oven makes it easier to place different dishes. You can put them anywhere they fit and not worry about burning or undercooking. No matter where they’re placed, the warm air will cook them evenly. The circulated air is what you have to consider as you learn what is convection cooking and adjust recipes properly.
Convection Ovens Can Break More Often
Having a fan means having an extra part that can break down at any time. Fans can be fragile. Luckily, many ovens are made of high-quality material. There are brands like Vulcan convection ovens or Hobart convection ovens that would work great in your kitchen.
Either way, it’s another aspect to consider.
Need Specific Trays
Depending on the cooking trays you already have, you may need to get new ones for a convection oven. You need to use low sided pans or rimless baking sheets that way the air can go to and fro without any barriers. It’s a minor setback but can be annoying none the less.
Needing specific trays is why some people ask what is convection cooking. They think it’s vastly different due to needing specific trays.
Convection Bake Vs. Bake
There’s no perfect convection oven for baking, which may be the main negative of a convection oven. It’s not to say that it’s impossible, but the dough doesn’t rise the same way as they do in a traditional oven. It can even alter the appearance of some baked goods.
So you have to be careful with how and how long you cook something.
Dough Doesn’t Rise
What is convection cooking compared to baking? With dough, the air-circulating fan works against convection ovens. Batter and dough that has more of a liquid consistency can be blown to the side due to the force of the fan, which makes for lopsided cakes, muffins, and more. It can even cause your baked goods to come out lumpy, and no one wants that.
Convection ovens can also dry out the insides of certain foods like bread, cake, and soufflé.
Some convection ovens do offer a feature that will turn off the fan so you can use it like a regular oven to avoid this issue. You can also check on whatever you are baking when it’s around three-quarters of the way done to make sure it doesn’t overcook.
Convection Ovens Aren’t Just Full of Hot Air
So, there’s your answer to “what is convection cooking?” You can decide if this style of oven is suited for your needs. Fair warning, some of these ovens can be a little more expensive than your average oven, but that is because there are extra parts to pay for. While there are a few drawbacks, overall it’s a great machine, especially if you cook a lot of meat, roast often, and like cooking more than one dish at once.