Convection Ovens – Frugal Investment?

Rather than let hot air circulate randomly, a convection oven carefully creates a uniform temperature with internal fans that evenly circulate hot air. Convection ovens are often more expensive than standard, or radiant, ovens, but they cook food faster, at a lower temperature, and often with better results. Fans ensure that the same temperature reaches the top and bottom of foods, as well as foods at all rack levels. They are also called European, true, turbo or fan ovens.

First, a few basic mechanics: A conventional oven uses radiant heat that emanates from the top and/or bottom surfaces. The result is usually an oven with hot and cold spots . What makes a convection oven stand apart is the internal fan that circulates hot air, creating an evenly heated environment for the food. The most obvious advantage to having a steady supply of heat surrounding and penetrating the food is that all your meat, produce, and baked goods will cook faster and brown more evenly.

Benefits of Cooking with a Convection Oven

  • Saves time and energy : Because the heated air transfers heat more efficiently to cooking containers and exposed food surfaces, food will take less time to cook. Most recipes can be cooked for 25% shorter time, which ends up saving energy. The temperature at which food cooks may need to be lowered slightly on a trial and error basis.

Less time and energy usage makes this a Frugal investment and a Frugal use of power.

Retains flavor : A convection oven may also do a better job at sealing in the juices of meat so dishes taste more flavorful and moist.
Cooks evenly : Baked goods, such as pies or cookies, will be more evenly browned, even if placed them on different racks. Pastries often comes out better, too, because the heat doesn’t fuse the flour and butter, but allows it to form flakes.
Cooks more at once : When using multiple racks, the food itself won’t interfere with the heat that reaches other foods.

Cooking more at the same time, causes you to use less power than if cooked separately.

Works with broilers : Most convection ovens also have a broiler, allowing food to be exposed to high heat when required.

Editor’s Note: We bought a convection overn over 12 years ago. We have been able to heat up, cook and broil much faster and with less temperature than when we used a regular oven. We don’t use microwaves so this has sped up our cooking requirements considerably.

Resources: wisegeek.com and epicurious.com

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