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Convection oven tips, please

After a sort of lengthy kitchen renovation, I will be cooking (fingers crossed) with my new GE Profile convection oven some time towards the end of next week. I have searched this board for what has been discussed about convection ovens, but I want to ask:

What is the one thing you can tell this first-time convection oven user that will make learning to use a convection oven an easy task and make me love it?

No naysayers please. I realize there are downsides to a convection oven (and just about everything else in life), but the oven is in place and there is no turning back now. I just want to hear from those who enjoy their convection oven and have a useful tip to pass along.

Thanks!

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  1. My convection oven is rather new so I'm looking forward to following this thread. I have found that more than one pan of cookies on different shelves really does work. Also it seems to me that my biscuits are fluffier baked on convection.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Plano Rose

      I'm looking forward to answers from people who have been using their convection oven for a while. We got ours just a few days ago, and so far, I've only used the rotisserie function.

    2. I have found that baking home-made pizza right in front of the fan gives a terrific crunchy crust. I have the same model; I really just use the setting and it adjusts the temperature appropriately. I don't really fuss with it at all. Usual caveats of checking things early to make sure you don't overcook, but that's true with any oven.

      1. I've had convection ovens for many years, and love them, especially for roasts (meat, veggie chips, etc.) Just be careful with timing - some things cook very quickly (especially kale chips). The only things I don't use the convection feature for are custards (creme brulee, flan, etc.) - for some reason, they cook more evenly and quickly w/o the convection. This sounds counter-intuitive, but I've tested this twice and got the same results. Have fun!

        1. Thanks to the few who answered; seems like no one else wants to play.

          Now I have a specific question: is it worth using the convection mode for a braised dish? Something that will sit in a covered casserole for 2 or so hours? I can see the advantage of a convection oven for baking cookies and other things that the hot air can circulate around, but I wonder about a covered casserole. Thanks.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ttoommyy

            In answer to your specific question - no it's not worth it for a braised dish. In braising, you're looking for even, gentle heat that comes from bottom (mostly). Convection will blow the air around the dish, but this really isn't necessary because the food itself doesn't actually get touched by this air movement. So no - don't bother.

            Actually I find that convection doesn't get used as much as I thought it would. It's GREAT for roast meats, especially poultry, where you want a browned, crisped exterior. I use it sometimes for the last ten minutes or so when I bake bread or some kinds of pastries (like choux) where a nicely browned crust is important. But most of my baking is better off with regular, non-convection heat - steady, even, bottom heat. A big loaf of bread is nice to bake 3/4 through on regular heat and then turn on convection for the last 1/4. The same strategy might also work for some kinds of cookies, although they bake so quickly that usually I don't bother with convection at all (unless they're not as brown on top as I'd like). And in answer to Piano Rose (below) it depends on the size of the turkey. Convection all the way if it's smallish, but if it's a behemoth that will have to roast for 5 hours anyway, don't use convection because it'll get too dark before the inside is fully done.

            Like any other kitchen toy, it takes some experimentation to see how it works. AND not all convection ovens are equal - so you'll just have to figure out what you like.

            1. re: Nyleve

              Thank you Nyleve. Very kind of you to give a thorough answer. I appreciate it.

            2. re: ttoommyy

              probably cheaper than the big oven. save money, buy tasties instead!

            3. I have another specific question. Should I use the convection feature for the turkey? I have true convection if that makes any difference.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Plano Rose

                PlanoRose: "Should I use the convection feature for the turkey?"

                You will not like this answer: it depends.

                Convection ovens either reduce cooking times or allow you to set the oven 25 degrees lower for the same cooking times. There are certain dishes for which you NEVER should use convection: souffl├ęs, Dutch babies. There are others where you should think twice: where there is danger that the food will dry out.

                Do you roast your turkey in a covered pan? Fine, use convection. Do you get your turkey extra moist through brining before cooking under a loose aluminum foil "tent" (as we do)? Fine, use convection. Do you roast your turkey ""in the open" and exposed without moisturizing it through brining or putting an aluminum foil tent over the top? Then, do not use convection.

                1. re: Plano Rose

                  I roasted a turkey open with convection and it was the best turkey I ever made-very juicy. I think the main drying part goes to the skin which makes it crispy and the fat under the skin provides a moisture barrier to prevent the drying of the flesh unless the internal temp is too high and it overcooks. I cook my turkey stuffed and upside down for the first 1.5 hours and with a probe. I also have the Electrolux oven and it has a "perfect turkey" button.
                  I think cooking with convection can lead to some very personal preferences. I have read that cakes and muffins baked in a convection oven do not come out as well due to the fact that the batter becomes dry on the outside and inhibits the rise and the the heat comes from all directions instead of the bottom and this causes the rise to be uneven. Others on this forum say they have gotten great results with convection. I think that many factors can come into play. Gas or electric oven, fan or third element, how deep or how thick or the color of your pans, and I'm sure quite a few more factors I haven't thought of.
                  I think some things might have a consensus but there are quite a few things you just have to try for yourself. I think that the ovens with the third element used in a pure convection mode are not as even as used in a convection bake mode. I think they blow heated air and make a hot spot in front of the fan. If you use the convection bake/roast mode, the third element does not really even come on that much. I have two different brands with European convection. I just think it is oversold and not that necessary.

                  1. re: Plano Rose

                    use roast setting? both microwave and oven at once?