When to use the convection feature of my oven?
May 29, 2012 1:20 PM   Subscribe

[BakingFilter] When should I use the "convection" feature of my convection oven?

We recently moved into a house after living in a series of rental apartments that had stoves and ovens of varying qualities. Our house has a moderately nice oven with a convection feature. I understand how convection ovens work and their benefits, but my question is when should I use the convection feature? Always? Only for baked goods? For everything but baked goods? For things that are very sensitive to changes in temperature (e.g. souffles)?
posted by Betelgeuse to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I don't bake a lot at the moment but use the convection feature all the time. Mostly for speed and even cooking. And when I say even cooking, I mean when I'm roasting vegetables, meats or fish and want everything evenly done. It really does speed things up too, so keep an eye on it.

On a related note, I use non-convection baking/roasting for directional cooking, like when I want a crispy pizza without burnt cheese or when I want to put a crust on meat.
posted by Mercaptan at 1:32 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I used to have one of these ovens, and miss it. The only time we would not use the convection feature was when we wanted to avoid listening to the fan (which on our Dacor was quite loud).
posted by cosmac at 1:34 PM on May 29, 2012

Best answer: Our super fancy oven at a rental had a convection feature. Turning it on made things cook unevenly (like, noticeably -- the cookies on one side of the pan were MUCH darker than on the other side) and slower. Obviously this was not how it was supposed to work. YM(should)V, but I would do a few test things first to make sure it's actually working how it's supposed to.
posted by brainmouse at 1:35 PM on May 29, 2012

This is somewhat true for all ovens, but it might also be worth buying one of those small thermometers you can place in the over (sometimes they hang off the rack). Then, you can be assured of the actual temperature in the oven, and see if there is any difference in the knob.

I was just speaking with a family member who had been struggling over their convection oven for a while too. It definitely sped things up, but certain recipes that always seemed to work in previous ovens were not just speeding up but burning. It turns out that the temperature in the oven was 30 degrees higher than the reading on the knob.

It is probably worth the small expense to add one on, if only just to get an initial sense of error in temperature. That may help eliminate one variable as you start playing around with the convection.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 1:52 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I use the convection feature for things with, let's say, qualitative baking times. Things like roasted veggies, slow-cooked meats, etc (stuff where you tell it's done just by poking it a bit). For more quantitative things (cakes, cookies, meat that needs to be watched like a hawk otherwise it dries out, that sort of thing), I go with the regular boring oven, since I know what to expect from it.
posted by phunniemee at 2:10 PM on May 29, 2012

I've had fine luck with cookies on convection, but be aware that anything puffy may get a bit windblown as it rises. I tend to do cakes/cupcakes without the fan. And yes, roasted anything (veg, meat, etc) is great convection territory.

My least favorite aspect of convection cooking is that it actively blows the steam onto my glasses as I peer into the oven, and I still haven't learned to duck.
posted by aimedwander at 2:36 PM on May 29, 2012

DO NOT USE THE CONVECTION FEATURE FOR PIPED MERINGUES! They have nothing to anchor them down and will all end up plastered either to the door or the back of the oven, depending on how your fan works. (Don't ask me how I know.)
posted by miss patrish at 2:46 PM on May 29, 2012 [12 favorites]

I used it all the time, really speeds up the cooking.
posted by thylacine at 2:54 PM on May 29, 2012

I use it always.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:13 PM on May 29, 2012

We use convection pretty much all the time. With baked goods, it's practically cheating. We never burn baked goods anymore.
posted by adamrice at 3:18 PM on May 29, 2012

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