Have you been looking for a new oven and wondering what makes some models “convection?” On the outside, both ovens look the same, and both can be gas or electric. The difference between these models is in how they distribute heat in the oven.
Convection ovens do a much better job of circulating heat, preventing the kinds of problems many bakers and cooks encounter with regular ovens.
How Regular Ovens Work
Regular ovens perform their cooking and baking functions by radiating from a stationary heating element at the bottom of the appliance. Most ovens work using heat that rises from the bottom, whether they rely on gas or electric energy. This is why many ovens also have a problem cooking thoroughly in the expected timeframe called for in a recipe.
Regular ovens often form pockets of air that are warmer or cooler than the intended overall temperature. To compensate, cooks and bakers working with regular ovens turn their sheets or pans around half-way through the cooking time. If it gets hotter in the back, this action prevents the food in the back from burning while the food in the front of the oven is still cooking through.
The convection oven is different in that it seeks to prevent these air pockets with one handy feature.
What Is A Convection Oven?
It’s funny how one added feature can do so much to improve an oven. Convection ovens and regular ovens are almost identical, down to the heating element, but the former has an extra feature: a fan and exhaust system. While it might not sound like much, it changes the game for a lot of professional cooks and bakers – and makes them want to shell out a bit more money for their ovens.
Rather than only radiating upwards, the fan component blows the heat around so that the air circulates to every part inside of the oven. This prevents the formation of pockets of too much or not enough heat from forming. But one of the pros of a convection oven is that they also function as regular ovens! All you need to do is turn the fan off and you get the best of both worlds.
Regular Ovens or Convection Ovens: Which Is Better?
Convection ovens are becoming more and more common, even as they cost more. The even heating means the cook or baker doesn’t have to waste time and energy shifting the food around the oven. Convection cooking and baking is more even, reducing the time needed for a recipe by as much as 25 percent compared to a regular oven.
This means that the convection setting is also more energy-efficient than ordinary ovens. The actual appliance doesn’t use more or less energy than an ordinary oven to reach the desired temperature; rather, the convection setting prepares the food more quickly, requires less energy overall. If you’ve been cooking with a regular oven but recently swapped it out for a convection oven, remember to compensate for the faster cooking time!