Convection ovens, long used by professional bakers, have become more popular with serious home cooks because of their fast and efficient heating. Although these ovens are preferred by many people, it is important to note a few tips for baking with a convection oven. It is not difficult to do so, but a few items must be kept in mind for successful baking. When baking with a convection oven, it is best to review your owner’s manual, consider lowering the temperature needed for baking, shorten the baking time and leave enough room for air to circulate around the baked goods.
Reviewing the owner’s manual that came with the oven can often prevent mishaps while baking with a convection oven. Each oven’s manual contains tips for using the oven, most conversions that you might need to know and other helpful information for use of the oven. If a question arises about the use of the oven, consulting the manual first might quickly provide the answer that you need.
There are several opinions about the necessity of lowering oven temperature when baking with a convection oven. Some people believe that because a convection oven is just an oven with a fan to circulate the heat, there is no need to lower baking temperature. Other people believe that the faster baking necessitates a lower baking temperature to ensure that a product is not overcooked. Testing your particular oven is probably the best way to determine whether a temperature change is necessary. If it is, dropping the temperature by about 25 degrees Fahrenheit or by about 14 degrees Celsius is the usual recommendation.
Most experts agree that it is necessary to shorten baking time when baking with a convection oven. Heat is circulated evenly throughout the oven by a fan, meaning that there are spots in the oven that are hotter or colder. This allows for even baking, making it necessary to shorten the time the baked goods spend in the oven. A general rule of thumb is to use a 10-20 percent reduction in the recipe’s standard baking time.
Air circulates throughout the oven, evenly baking items, so it is best to avoid crowding items when baking with a convection oven. If items are crowded in the oven, air cannot evenly circulate around them, meaning that the convection oven cannot bake the items properly. Leaving at least 2 inches (5.08 cm) on all sides of the item being baked is a good recommendation to follow. In addition to leaving room around the baked goods, it also is best to bake items in as shallow a pan as possible. This allows the air to circulate directly around the item being baked.