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Old 10-27-2005, 03:21 AM   #1
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Convection vs. Conventional

Hello folks! Well I have been alloted the task of trying to get a conversation or debate started on the uses of these two cooking methods.

Well having the oppurtunity to live in Europe for the last 4 years and renting various homes, I have had full use of both.

Hard to decide on a preference as the convection oven cooks faster, displays the heat better, and tends to leave more moisture in the foods. Even when baking a cake or a pastry.

But then if roasting a nice rack of lamb or a beef roast I like direct heat from the conventional oven. And nothing is better than a beef and pork roast together in a roasting pan with a few onions, potatoes, carrots, celery bits and some cabbage to round off the aromas carousing through the house. The vegetables do not get mushy and unpresentable when tabled, yet the meat temperture can be easily controlled by slow roasting and almost melt in thick slices on it's own.

I do prefer the convection for baking, it leaves the moisture in the baked goods, causing a good rise. And when baking breads with whole grains it allows the flours and yeasts to hold on to the grain, no crumbling here. A pound cake baked in a convectoin oven is perfect as is a sponge cake.

So as I talk this through, I guess for me it is a convection oven for baking and a conventional oven for everything else.

But I will also impart this note, when we arrive back in the States next fall we will build our first home. It will come equipped with and AGA stove...a whole new cooking adventure! ; )

How about you?


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Old 10-27-2005, 03:34 AM   #2
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Is it the addition of fans in the oven that make it a convection oven? or is there something else?

I have never used a convection oven and don't know much about them.


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Old 10-27-2005, 07:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Brianschef
And nothing is better than a beef and pork roast together in a roasting pan with a few onions, potatoes, carrots, celery bits and some cabbage to round off the aromas
that sounds AWESOME!! Anyone have a recipe (with details) for this?!?
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Old 10-27-2005, 08:09 AM   #4
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I personally have used both conventional oven and convection and my findings are similar to yours Brian. The other thing I like is that it indeed reduces the cooking time over the traditional oven. On Zereh's question, yes the fan helps circulate the heat evenly and hence more even end product especially when baking breads and cakes.

I am pretty happy with the covection and I don't think want to go back to conventional.
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Old 10-27-2005, 08:17 AM   #5
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I've only used a conventional oven. From what I've heard/read on this site and others, convection really shines when baking. Otherwise, it's been said that the difference is minimal. Are your experiences the same or different?
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Old 10-27-2005, 04:51 PM   #6
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In all ovens, and covered barbecues, and grills for that matter, a certain amount of convection is working. From a scientific standpoint, convection is one of the means by which heat is transfered into something, and is a natural process that seeks to bring everything to an equal temperature. That is, all the surfaces closest to the heat source rise in temprature, usually due to radiant energy absorption. These surfaces contact the air and transfer some of the heat energy by simple conduction. The warm air then rises and displaces the heavier "cooler" air which sinks to the oven bottom, to be heated and itself rise upward. And the cycle continues. The top air cools as it gives its nergy to the oven walls, the food, etc, and is replaced by the rising hot air. Thus, the oven get hot.

Now a conventional oven has a fairly small area and little convection occurs. The oven stays at a fairly constant temperature from top to bottom. But there is a difference. There is a reason you don't bake the cookies on the bottom rack.

Conventional ovens transmit their heat to foods through convection - the continuous movelment of hot air against a surface, conduction - the heat is conducted through the metal oven walls, and is transmitted through the metal to the racks, to the pan, and to the food through touch, and by radiation - Heat is radiated from all hot surfaces and is absorbed directly by the food and pan.

To understand a convection oven, think of a warm day, with a cool breeze. The radiation from the sun is absorbed into your body, raising your body temperature. In still air, the only cooling mechanism you have is evaporation. You feel hot, uncomfortable. The still air is only able to absorb so much of your excess heat, and the moisture evaporates slowly. But then, the air moves. Now it's the same temperature as was the still air. But since it's moving, new air replaces that which was warmed by contact with your skin. It also causes faster evaporation of your sweat. The new air is cooler, relative to your skin than is the air that was warmed by your skin. Therefore, there is a more rapid exchange of energy. your body is cooled more efficiently. You feel better.

The same thing happens in a convection oven, only in reverse. The air is hotter than is the food. And the moving air is able to both absorb more energy from the heat source, and transfer that energy to the food due to fresh hot air always touching the food surface. Also, the moving air helps elliminate hot spots cause by radient heat, or still, slow-moving air. The result is faster cooking with more even heat surounding the food.

The advantages are obvious. But the disadvantages exist as well. Radient heat energy is somewhat neutralized as the moving air takes away the intence heat created by thermal radiation on the food surface. Foods just don't brown as well. The air must do the lion's share of the work.

As stated above, both ovens have their place. Which one is right for you depends on what you most do with your oven.

And the covered grill, it cooks mostly by radiation, even with the lid closed, as does your oven's broiler. Moving air has little effect with these appliances.

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Old 10-27-2005, 06:39 PM   #7
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Hi Brian.

I've always cooked with a conventional oven. After watching some demos on a shopping channel, I was very tempted to buy a convection countertop oven. From memory, just about everything could be cooked in one - cakes, pies, meat. If I recall, there was a rotisserie and microwave feature. (I know, I know everyone hates the microwave but me.) I would have to research it a little more for the exact perks. The price looked very reasonable. Wish I had more counter space. If I could redo my kitchen, I would go with a stove that has a grilling capacity on top, and newer models I've seen that have no fire on the stovetop, and are cool to the touch. With all the cooking appliances out, someday I might use my oven for storeage.
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Old 10-27-2005, 07:04 PM   #8
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I have an oven this is both conventional and convection...I use the convection and a hearth kit for breads, rolls, and I've even done a prime rib in it...With the breads you get a beautiful brown crust, with the roast it was beautiful but it did seem to cook faster. I do have to remove the hearth kit when doing cakes or pies as things get dried out around the edges and will brown to fast if you don't keep a close eye on them, while using the convection oven. Have to admit, I'd not like to be without the convection oven...It took some getting use to but, I now love it.

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Old 10-27-2005, 07:12 PM   #9
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We had a combination microwave/convection oven at the farm, but alas someone broke in and stole it before we ever got used to it. We still had to use the book each time we cooked something. I think I would have really enjoyed it had we not had the bad luck of losing it. Whoever took it didn't take the book - I suppose they just wanted to sell it for almost nothing. Too bad!
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Old 10-29-2005, 09:32 AM   #10
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I love using the Convection over for making prime rib. The flavor is wonderful and the roast browns nicely. It is also great for roast chicken, but you must have the bird on a rack to elevate it above the sides of the pan or you will have a half cooked bird.
I do not use the convection for cookies as they don't cook evenly. Pizza is great reheated on an upside down cookie sheet. It also makes raw pizza have a crisper crust than one baked in a non convection oven.
In my experience useing convection is a trial and error process. Using the stoves manual will help you adjust cooking times and temperatures.

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