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Teach me how to use my convection oven

We have a fancy new range with our kitchen remodel which gives us the option of convection bake. I have never used a home convection oven before and need help. The guy who installed it said basically use it for things you want crispy on the outside like roasts or potatoes because the circulating air dries things out, and that it doesn't necessarily decrease cooking time. I used it once to bake lasagna with no noticeable differences, and once to bake cookies when they were browning unevenly. It did help the cookie browning. What should it be used for and not used for? Anyone use theirs to dry fruit (I am thinking our boatload of figs - but lowest temp setting is 200)? Words of wisdom?

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  1. In addition to using it to create a crispy exterior on meats, I use it when cooking *long and low* (200 degrees) to create more even cooking (ie; my Thanksgiving turkey, Easter ham, pork shoulder, pot roast, brisket, etc.).

    1. You can use it for almost everything. It does take some trial and error to get used to it. You'll also want to monitor your food a little more closely to figure out when things are done (until you get used to it). You don't need to preheat as much.

      Most convection ovens come with a good instruction manual that gives you a translation table between conventional and convection ovens (for example, if you normally cook a roast at 380, you will want to set it at 350 in the convection oven).

      Here is a good on-line resource:
      http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/pa...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Darren72

        just tried my convection oven smoky and messy had a horrible smell because on the roast setting the broiler goes on and off guess what the hot air blown over the food nicely gets sent allover the oven and leaves a greasy film over the entire oven is this common what am I missing here I wish I had my old electric oven back how to prevent the grease

      2. I had a convection oven where I used to live, and am looking for a range with a convection/conventional oven. What did you get? Baking cookies is done at a lower temp and actually takes longer. Cakes the same. Meats about the same but end up crispier on the outside. This is a great tip: Nuke a baking potato until almost done and then convect for 10 or 12 minutes for a crispy skin. Also Thanksgiving: Your turkey can go from wall to wall as the air is moving and you don't need much space around it. Contact me directly if you want more specifics.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Curmudgeon

          Thanks for the tips! I'm baking potatoes tonight. It is the 36" Viking - all gas, self-cleaning, sealed burners. I love having six big burners. Room for pasta water, skillet of sauce AND skillet of vegetables without something perched halfway off the stove. Canning is totally enjoyable with this thing for the same reason.

          I had heard people complain about not getting the burners low enough to simmer but I have not had that problem. Also my husband bought a metal plate at Shackfords to put over the burner so my Bialetti coffee maker doesn't tip or overheat, but I needed that before. It distributes the heat beautifully. I use it when scalding milk and can melt chocolate right in a saucepan on the plate.

          The oven is enormous (we would have sprung for the 48" with two ovens but didn't have room and 8 burners is just ridiculous) so I'll plan on two Thanksgiving turkeys. The broiler is a revelation, toasts bread instantaneously. I haven't tried creme brulee with it but I'm sure it's possible.

          My only complaint - besides the price which is why I am here typing instead of on vacation this summer - is the window on the door is kind of small and the lighting isn't too good in there so I end up opening the door to check on things more than I would like.

        2. Just about the only thing I don't use convection for is things that would get blown around due to the fan-ie souffles (they'll look like they were windblown). It might not always decrease cooking time but I find it usually does. My thanksgiving turkeys (~15 lbs) always take under 2 hours.

          1. From what I am reading, all items using the convection feature of an oven are cooked uncovered. Can I assume that an item cooked in a lidded pot gets no advantage from the convection feature? Thanks.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mksfca

              you can get the benfit of keeping things covered. The general rule is 25 degree lower temp for 25% less time. So, if something braises for 2 hours, you can usually cut about 30 minutes from it.