Save Cooking Time : Convection Oven Cooking Tips
Cooking on a convection oven is more productive and efficient than on a regular oven because you’ll be able to cook food faster. Some are still hesitant because it requires making some changes to regular cooking methods, but with these quick and easy tips you’ll be using that convection oven like a pro.
Conventional Oven Baking to Convection Baking: 3 Ways
The following are the most common methods to turn regular recipes into convection baking.
● Bake at a lower temperature and a shorter period.
● Bake at a similar length of time but set the temperature lower by 25 degrees from the recommended level.
● Bake for a similar length of time but for a shorter period.
Baking at a lower temperature and a shorter period is the most effective method for most recipes. No matter which method you use, make sure the pans and containers are appropriate for convection baking.
Sheets and Pans
Convection cooking is ideal for recipes that need shallow pans and cookie sheets. Regular cooking is more suitable for deep roasting pans and covered dishes, pans and casseroles.
Low side pans are the best for optimum browning, and rimless cookie sheets are perfect for baking lots of cookies. What’s better is that most convection ovens already have racks and pans which have been specially designed for this type of cooking / baking.
Using these racks makes roasting easier because air circulates all around. You will also get better results if you position the pan’s sides so they’re parallel to the oven’s door.
Because convection ovens are all about the air supply, it’s essential that you use the right types of pans. The reason why lwo side pans are always stressed is it allows air to move and reach the food. This is also true for rimless sheets and roasting pans.
Apart from the low sides, food will also benefit from sufficient clearance.
Read the Manual
A convection oven is not difficult to use,read our Convection oven using guide and the instruction manual should have step by step directions. Follow them, and if it comes with a recipe booklet, use that as a guide. While the basic operation of a convection oven is the same, some features are particular to a model. Aside from the printed manual you may be able to find a copy from the manufacturer website.
If you have done any kind of research about convection ovens, you’ll notice the emphasis on air circulation. As we have mentioned earlier, it’s the airflow which allows best convection ovens to cook at a faster and more efficient rate than conventional ovens.
Most convection ovens work fine with around 1 to 1.5 inches around the pans. If you’re going to bake on multiple racks, you’ll want around 1 to 1.5 inches above and below the pans too.
Tips for Poultry and Roast Meats
Preheating is not required in roasting meats. All you have to do is put the meats on the rack, put the roast pan and the oven will do the rest. Regardless of the size or volume, cooking time will be cut down anywhere from 25% to 30% compared to conventional ovens.
The reduction time holds even if you don’t lower the temperature, and lowering will reduce cooking time even more. Check if your oven comes with a roasting option for bottom and/or top browning. Use the initial heat surge option: combined with the fan it reduces cooking time even more.
● Unstuffed Poultry and Small Roasts: there is no need to lower the temperature for unstuffed poultry, skinny roasts and other small pieces. Roasting a 3 ½ lbs chicken takes only about 60 minutes at 375 F. This is 20% faster than regular cooking, and you’ll get excellent results.
● Stuffed Turkeys and Dense Roasts: these foods must have the temperature lowered by 25 degrees at some point - or during the entire - roasting. Lowering the temperature will slow cooking a little. However the meat will not shrink as much and there will be more juices.
● Baking: bake for the same period as on a regular oven, but reduce the temperature by 25 degrees.
Other Baking/Cooking Tips and Suggestions
● Don’t be afraid to experiment, the doneness level you want, the initial temperature, food and oven quality all play a part in determining the cooking time. While 25 to 30 degrees is fine with the most recipes, feel free to try something else.
● Baking and cooking time isn’t an exact science either: reducing the temperature could cut cooking / baking length by up to 15% for cookies and other pastries. For large meats, it’s around 30% or more.
● Proteins: protein rich foods cook quickly because convection renders fat quickly. Juices are locked in, giving the food evenly brown skin. What’s more, you don’t need to do any constant basting or shifting.
● Vegetables and Fruits: these are very suited for convection cooking because the airflow leads to quick caramelization. For fruits, it means more concentrated flavor, creamier and more moist. For vegetables, they become crispier, plus the nutrients are retained.
● Baking: the biggest difference when baking on a convection oven is that butter releases the steam almost instantly. This is important because it means the foods you bake will be loftier, lighter and flakier.
● Grains and Nuts: convection ovens are also great for nuts and grains. You’ll get that golden color with fewer tossing and turning. For best results, use a shallow baking pan to toast the nuts. Temperature should be around 360 F but look for browning after 3 to 6 minutes.
● When cooking meats and fruits, remember that the internal fan in the oven dries fruit and jerky faster. It’s more effective than a regular oven or a dehydrator, so check when it is done more frequently.
The bottom line is cooking on a convection oven is quicker and more productive. Speed wise convection cooking is faster by up to 30% due to the hot air circulating around the food. Furthermore, food flavors and nutrients are retained much better than with a regular oven, and there’s no moisture issue either.