Convection Roast vs. Convection Bake Difference and What You Should Know About
Is convection cooking as good as claimed? Some have never heard of convection before, and it’s very rare, if ever, you will find recipes with guidelines on how to roast or bake in a convection oven. But make no mistake about it, convection cooking is more effective than conventional cooking as it is faster and using lower temperatures.
Why is Convection Cooking Effective?
Convection ovens use heating elements and a fan to move hot air around the food. The warm air circulates, cooking vegetables, fish and meats evenly. While convection ovens are good for cookies, cupcakes and others, it is more challenging to make souffle and cakes so you’re better off with conventional baking on those.
If your bake or roast does not have guidelines, reduce the temperature by 25 F. Let the dish cook as usual, but start checking around 50% or 75% of the way as it is going to cook faster. The end result is food is cooked evenly: whether it is roast or bake, you will notice both exterior and interiors are cooked and there are no uncooked or overcooked portions.
Convection Roasting Tips
Roasting in a convection oven or convection mode isn’t as complicated as it may seem. One of the benefits of convection cooking is it does not have any hot or cold spots, meaning you don’t have to rotate the food you’re roasting. Other than not rotating the dish, lowering the temperature and reduced cooking time, the roasting process is the same but with tastier results.
Convection roasting is especially effective for large chunks of poultry. The hot air which circulates quickly renders fat, cooking skin so it is crisper and seals the juices in. This is also one of the reasons why convection vegetable roasting is effective: thanks to the circulating hot air, sugars caramelize much more quickly: the outer layer is crisper and the interior is soft.
Convection Baking Tips
Convection baking is ideal for cookies, pies, pizza crusts and bread. What makes convection baking efficient is it forces butter to quickly release steam, causing cookies and pastries to bake more efficiently. What this means is baked goods are flakier, and the pastry also rises faster than on a conventional oven.
In a conventional oven, tender pastry which quickly rises collapse as the outer layers are unable to support it. With convection baking, the outer layers set more quickly, providing a solid structure for the pasty rising. While this works for any number of pastries, cakes cook better in a conventional oven.
General Convection Oven Tips
Roasting and baking are two different cooking methods, but there are some tips which should prove useful for both.
● Use low side, shallow pans. While pots and pans come in different shapes and sizes, a shallow, low side pan is what will allow for optimum airflow and efficient cooking.
● Do not put foil over the racks as that will block air flow. In a convection oven that’s not necessary and will actually shorten cooking time. That’s why foods that require lid are not the best for convection cooking.
● Whether you are roasting or baking, there is no need to change the recipe on a convection oven. Use the same ingredients but lower the temperature by 25 F.
● As mentioned earlier, convection ovens cook faster than regular ovens so you need to check up on that food earlier to see if it is done.
Convection Baking and Roasting FAQ
Q: What does the term carry over cooking mean?
A: When you remove a dish from the oven, it continues to cook, which is why you have to let it set. The duration of the carry over cooking depends on the food size: the larger the food, the longer the carry over cooking. If you roasted meat, let it rest for 10 minutes so it can lock the juices.
Q: Should I use special pots and pans?
A: No, you can use conventional oven cookware. However, there are certain types which last longer. For example, light colored and bright aluminum pans perform better than anodized finishes, as anodized cookware causes food to brown too quickly. Earthenware, glass and some ceramic dishes are not adept at directing heat so use of heating elements are necessary.
Q: Why is convection roasting better on convection than conventional ovens?
A: When properly positioned on the rack, a convection oven quickly cooks the meat and retains the juices.
In conventional roasting, you often need to do cooktop browning and then put it in the oven. That is not needed if you’re using a convection oven because the circulated air cooks the food.
Q: Do I always have to reduce temperature by 25 F?
A: In most cases, a 25 F reduction is all that is needed. As heat increases, food is baked or roasted faster. In a few recipes you may just need to reduce it by 10 F, but if you’re not sure, go with 25 F.
Q: Is it possible to use a pizza or baking stone with a convection oven?
A: Yes it is possible. These stones do get quite hot, giving crusts a brown, crispy texture. For best results you should just leave when preheating.
Pizza and baking stones produce the best results when they are positioned at the lowest rack. By putting the stones as near the heating element as possible, the desired temperature will be reached quickly.
Q: Are there different kinds of convection ovens?
A: Yes. A true or European convection oven has a third heating element and enhances baking. Convection ovens with fans utilize the bottom element to spread heat out evenly.
Q: How much cooking time does a convection oven save?
A: It varies per recipe, but 25% to 30% is common.
Convection baking and roasting takes some time to learn, but give it a try. You’ll develop the necessary skills and as your confidence increases, you will be able to do a lot more when cooking. Not only will you save time, but the food will taste better too.