Cooking 101: Convection Oven and How to Preheat It

Whether it is baking cookies or bread, broiling steaks and other food, or roasting a chicken or turkey, the convection oven does it all and performs everything better and faster than a conventional oven, all while saving energy. When it comes to appliances for the kitchen, the convection oven is a must-have appliance.

The preference of the convection oven over other appliances and over the regular oven is due to the fact that the convection oven is not only efficient but also versatile. It has multiple functions and cooks faster, making it not only convenient, but also cost-effective.

For first timers, there is no need to worry about using a convection oven because it is easy to do. There are some things to remember when using the convection oven and one is knowing how to preheat a convection oven. But before going through the process, it is important to know what a convection oven is and how it works.

Warming up to convection ovens

The convection ovens could be a regular oven with a convection setting or it could be a convection oven itself with an added third heating element.

Whichever type it is, one thing holds true for both, and that sets the convection oven apart from the other ovens; a convection oven has a fan and exhaust system that pushes and pulls hot air into and around the food inside the interior. Because of the stable temperature afforded by the convection oven, cooking food is easier, faster, and more even.

Also, since the fan and exhaust system provides an escape for the moisture to pass through, the resulting food becomes crisper and looks browner.

Things to consider in using a convection oven

Always adjust the temperature of the convection oven 25°F lower than the temperature called for in a recipe, which would be used in a conventional oven since there is a faster and more effective absorption of heat in convection ovens.

Even with the reduced temperature, the food is normally cooked 25% faster in a convection oven when compared to a regular oven.

It is preferable to use pans with low sides to allow the maximum effects and benefits of cooking in a convection oven.

Avoid crowding the oven or trying to cook too much food at the same time to rely more on the circulation of the heat within the interior of the oven; too much food placed inside would prevent the even flow and circulation of air around the food.

How to preheat a convection oven

The first thing to know about the appliance, aside from the general guidelines, is how to preheat a convection oven.

Preheating is the process of switching it on and allowing it to reach the desired temperature for cooking. Most recipes recommend preheating first because it takes time for the oven to warm up when switched on.

Like any type of oven, the convection oven also needs preheating, so it is important to know how to preheat a convection oven, something that is surprisingly easy to do. However, before learning how to preheat, you should first know when not to do preheating.

It should be noted that when it comes to meat, poultry, cake, pastry, scones, bread, and pudding, there is no need to preheat a convection oven because meat and poultry have the tendency to be overcooked.

As for cake, pudding, and others, the action of blowing the air back and forth may ruin the recipe because  for cooking these types recipes, a steady atmosphere is needed more than faster cooking.

In preheating, it is always recommended that the user’s manual for your convection oven is followed because it might provide another way doing things. If no preheating process is provided, you can simply follow the usual process.

Turn on the convection oven 10 to 15 minutes before  cooking—do it before or half way into the food preparation. Set the temperature as required by the recipe. When the desired temp is reached, place your food inside the oven, and then wait until it is cooked.

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