There is a growing interest in households to be economical and use energy saving appliances. There is no better way to save energy and time while cooking than with a convection oven.
If you already have one of these great appliances in your kitchen, you can find out more about its benefits and save money and time. However, if you still use a regular oven, it might be time to think about the many other choices of cooking appliances for the kitchen.
What is a convection oven?
These ovens have a fan installed inside and an excellent exhaust system, both of which are lacking in a regular oven. In this way, the hot, compressed air is distributed in the same way inside, circulating everywhere near the food, so the food is prepared in a shorter time, it is baked/cooked better; energy is also saved due to the shorter cooking time.
Why we need to use convection ovens more
To shorten time for cooking, this oven is the first choice.
With the circulating hot air, you will save up to 25% of cooking time. Also, if you are one of those who want your food evenly baked, both inside and out, opt for a convection oven which locks the heat inside, whereas regular ovens release heat and have the heat source coming from one spot, mainly from the bottom or top of the oven.
With a convection oven, the food you prepare will not be watery on the surface and semi-done inside (as it often can end up being with a conventional oven); instead your food will be well done on the inside and crispy baked on the outside. And lastly, but most importantly, a convection oven saves energy. Since the heat is trapped inside and not released, the food will stay inside for a shorter time and you will have less energy spent while cooking.
How and when is a convection oven used?
In general, this depends on what are you cooking.
Convection cooking brings more benefits and makes food preparation much easier. You probably are puzzled regarding the regular oven settings that many convection ovens still have. On rare occasions, you would not want hot air equally spread around the food.
Fan-circulated hot air is not the best choice for delicate items like flans, soufflés, custards, quick breads, cakes and some plain breads (some say the inside of the bread gets dry, and some prefer its brown crispy outside, the choice is up to you). However, convection ovens are best used for:
- Pastries and pies—The heat inside convection oven instantly melts fat, thus makes more steam right away; this makes the pastry pie lift better on the top. The same goes for almost every dough for pastry as well as croissants and similar food items
- Roasting—For this cooking method (mostly for vegetables and meats) expect extremely fast cooking, evenly done food, mouth-watering crispy, chewy skin, and for vegetables or fruits, you will get a caramelized layer done fast with moist centers inside, strong and creamy flavors
- Covered foods—If the meal needs to be covered with a lid, for example casseroles covered with foil or braised meals, no need to worry over loss of moisture. The difference is that the food will be done in a shorter time
- Cookies—These ovens allow baking more batches, or more than just one tray. The best part is that the trays do not need rotating and switching places, since the heat is equal in every part of the space inside
- Dehydrating and toasting—For dehydrating and toasting foods, you need to remove as much moisture as you can and as fast as you can. Convection ovens are the right choice for this method, compared to regular ovens
Convection ovens are superior to regular ovens due to energy efficiency
Convection ovens fit in more food (if placed symmetrically), the heating up and cooking time is shorter compared to a regular oven, but technically speaking, the energy drawn off a socket is 2,500-5,000-watts for regular oven with temperature of 350°F degrees and energy 2kWh for 60 min. of cooking.
For a convection oven, the numbers are 1,200-watts, temperature of 450°F for a cooking time of 50 minutes. The numbers clearly show a convection oven being more efficient than a regular oven.
How is cooking better with a convection oven?
If you are wondering when is the convection oven used, and for what cooking needs, there are several things to consider.
First, lower the temperature or take the recommended temperature and lower it by 25° Fahrenheit. Second, check on the food more often; this oven compresses more heat and shortens the process, so take the recommended cooking time and check on it 2/3 or ¾ way through the recommended cooking time. Third, keep in mind the air has to circulate all around and above the food.
You need pans, trays, roasting and baking pans that have low sides, and there is no need of foil covering. Use shallow pans, and remember air supply is the key. If the convection oven is ineffective, this means the air does not circulate evenly.
Fourth, adjust the original recipe. Cooking time is affected by food quantity, oven heat, doneness and oven model. Lower the temperature by 25-30° Fahrenheit; for cookies shorten the time by 10-15% and for a big roast, lower time by 30%.
Convection ovens and appliances
When we talk about energy saving, you should start with kitchen appliances. There are many great appliances that save energy. For instance, self-cleaning ovens are energy efficient and have excellent insulation. Slow cookers also need less energy used than a regular stove.
But a convection oven makes a big difference. The air inside this oven circulates with good heat all the time and from every angle, so expect 20% less energy used at the end of the month, compared to a regular stove/oven.