It’s Getting Hot in Here
June 30, 2016
Dacor’s 30-in. Self-Cleaning Pure Convection Wall Oven
As designers, you know convection ovens are the new black for cooking appliances. Built with an interior fan and exhaust system, convection ovens cook food more evenly and more quickly – with more moisture and flavor.
KBB spoke with the experts and picked out what you need to know – from installing to cooking instructions – when you consider specifying a convection oven for your client.
KBB: What are the benefits of a convection oven?
“The benefit of cooking with a convection oven is that it provides an even distribution of heat. Convection cooking eliminates hot and cool spots within the oven cavity to ensure consistent results.”
-Brian Jones, director of marketing, Sub-Zero/Wolf Group
“As long as they understand the basics of convection mode, novices and experienced cooks alike can benefit from utilizing this cooking process. Novices can find meats juicier, pastries flakier and foods cooked more evenly, and expert home chefs will achieve perfectly predictable and easily replicated results by using convection mode for their dishes.”
– Chuck Huebner, president and CEO of Dacor
KBB: What are some of the best ways for clients to use a convection oven?
“Convection ovens are particularly useful for cooking foods that can be prepared on two or three racks at the same time, like pizza, cakes, cookies, biscuits, muffins, rolls and frozen convenience foods.”
-Tina Sheffield, Viking cooking lab expert
KBB: What are the best situations for designers to specify a convection oven?
“They should especially recommend them for clients that value energy efficiency and saving time while cooking, as well as for people who genuinely like to cook.”
-Christian Boscherini, Smeg Marketing
“Convection ovens are really perfect for any skill level in the kitchen, whether you are an occasional cook or someone looking to take your baking to the next level. They are great for busy families because convection can allow busy moms and dads to cook multiple batches at once and can even lessen the cooking time on dinner.”
– Anna Carl, cooking expert at Whirlpool Corporation
KBB: Are there any obvious differences among different types of convection ovens?
“In general there are several levels of convection that impact speed, evenness and quality. This can be attributed to the different types of convection, such as fan convection, 3rd element convection, dual fan convection and element wattage.”
– Julie Fritz, senior director of cooking product line at Frigidaire
“There are two types of convection: Convection and true (or European) convection. Convection uses a traditional oven with heating elements on the top and bottom of the cavity and uses a fan to evenly circulate pre-heated air within the cavity. True or European convection features the heating elements behind the fan, allowing the fan to distribute heated air throughout the cavity.”
– Anna Carl, cooking expert at Whirlpool Corporation
KBB: Are there any situations where a convection oven would not be recommended?
“There are a few circumstances where using convection mode is not recommended: for cooking pavlova (meringue), which requires a still oven; fruit cakes also require a still oven. The use of the convected air causes the fruit cake to have a dull appearance when a glossy appearance is desired.”
-Chuck Huebner, president and CEO of Dacor
The Main Take-Away
While convection ovens as a whole all aim to evenly distribute hot air and vent it out, designers should be aware of the differences and when explaining the options to a client.
Fan-Assisted Convection Ovens. These combine a traditional oven with heating elements on the top and bottom of the cavity with a fan to evenly circulate pre-heated air within the cavity. This is also known as the Convection Bake mode on some ovens.
-Works to brown the bottom of a dish, making it ideal for pizza or certain breads
-Several items can be baked at once on any rack since it won’t matter where the dish is placed; the heat is the same throughout.
– Cakes and pies tend to be flakier since the dough rises higher.
-Heat won’t be as well distributed as with a true convection oven.
-Recipes will be skewed; the general rule of thumb is to lower the temperature by 25 degrees.
True (European) Convection Ovens. These ovens feature the heating elements behind the fan, allowing the fan to distribute heated air throughout the cavity. This is also known as the Convection Roast mode on some ovens.
- Quickly sears meat and locks in valuable juices without constant shifting and basting
-Cooks meats that are crispy on the outside and moist inside
-Watch out for how quickly it cooks, and warn your clients to be careful of overcooking.
Electric Convection Ovens. These use a rear element located on the back wall of the oven, which reaches each rack more evenly. Little to no air space needs to be left around the baking sheet.
Gas Convection Ovens. This less common type of oven does not have a rear element, because of combustion issues. Instead they use a bottom flame located underneath the floor of the oven cell. The convection fan in the back circulates the heat coming up from the bottom. Therefore, air space of at least one inch on all sides must be left around baking sheets or roasting pans.
Editor’s Note: I bought a little condo last year and fell in love with the true convection oven that came with it. My only qualm is that it takes some getting used to. If your client is unfamiliar with convection cooking, educate them so that they don’t overcook food and become disappointed. Cooking with convection often means lowering the cooking temperature or lowering the cooking time, and with baking that can be particularly tricky because of the precise nature of baking recipes.
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