3 Tips for Baking with Convection Ovens

Due to their energy efficiency and reduced cooking time, convection ovens are becoming popular home appliances. Unlike regular ovens, which rely on static air to transmit the heat of the burner, convection ovens use fans. One or more fans push the hot air around the oven for faster and move even heating. However, not all convection ovens heat evenly. Also, many bakers are unaccustomed to the differences between a convection oven and normal range. To avoid overcooking or drying out baked goods, homeowners can follow these tips.

Lower the temperature setting

Even if the recipe calls for 350 deg F, a convection oven may do the same job at 325 deg F. A generic rule of thumb from Consumer Reports is to lower the temperature by 25 deg. However, they warn that some convection ovens do this automatically, so homeowners have to check the manual to see how their convection ovens work. Otherwise, homeowners might actually end up baking their cookies at 50 deg under the recommended temperature setting. 

Check on baked goods sooner 

Lowering the temperature setting should help avoid over-baking breads and cookies. However, there is still a risk of over-baking because of the high heat of a convection oven. Consumer Report's rule of thumb is to check on baked goods 5 to 10 minutes earlier than the recipe calls for. 

Use a pan with low sides and a light color

As the warm air circulates through the oven, it heats up any exposed surfaces of the baking food. Exposing more of a roast to the warm air can make a crispier finish, so low sided pans may be a good choice. Pans in a light color like aluminum help foods to cook at a more regular pace. The darker colored pans tend to heat up faster and may cause overcooking. 

While a convection oven boasts more efficiency and a faster cooking time, it takes some adjustments to avoid overcooking your baked goods and roasts. Luckily, many convection ovens also come with a regular oven setting so you can use convection only when you need it. Convection heats more quickly, which is better for crispy breads and pizzas. However, foods that are prone to drying out under high heat, like quick breads, would benefit from being baked on the normal oven setting. Convection ovens can be a good choice for homeowners because they allow home chefs to use two different cooking styles. It just takes some time and adjustment to optimize the use of the normal setting and the convection setting.

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