If you’re in the market for a new oven, you might consider one that has a convection feature. Unlike conventional radiant (also called thermal) ovens, convection ovens have a fan that continuously circulates air through the oven cavity. When hot air is blowing onto food, as opposed to merely surrounding it, the food tends to cook more quickly. A short version of the scientific explanation for this is that moving air speeds up the rate of heat transference that naturally occurs when air of two different temperatures converges.
The heated air is continuously circulated which reduces cook times as well as the temperatures required. On average you’ll use 20% less energy a month running your convection oven, as compared to a standard oven.
Guidelines for using convection
- When following a recipe designed for a conventional oven, heat the convection oven to a temperature 25°F lower than the recipe suggests.
- Expect food to be done in less time (as much as 25% less) than it would be in a conventional oven, even with the 25°F reduction. The longer you’re cooking something, the greater the time savings. You may only save a minute or two when baking cookies.
- Use baking pans with low sides to get the full benefits of convection.
- Go ahead and fill every rack in the oven, but still keep an eye on browning. Depending on your oven, you may have to rotate pans for even cooking.