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Swearing off using convection oven

Sigh, after brandying my cherries for months, after glaceeing my lemon and orange peels, after soaking my chopped fruits in rum and wine for two weeks, I made my three black cakes. I have a relatively new Wolf oven. Why I decided to bake these using the convection mode is now beyond me. I lowered the temperature the recommended 25 degrees and checked them after 1 hour 17 minutes rather than the 2 hours that the recipe called for (Laurie Colwin). They are burned around the edges and there are no crumbs sticking to the toothpick.
This is not the first convection failure. I am not using the convection mode, except possibly for pies, again. If I move, I will get another cooktop, but I am getting a normal oven.

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  1. I think the problem is that we are so adapted to the convention (normal) ovens that it is very difficult for us to reinvent our recipes for convection ovens. In theory, it should be possible to bake in the convection ovens, but it will take some re-invention.

    Ironically, the newer you are to baking, the easier the transition because you have fewer recipes to change. If you have 30+ perfected recipes, then it will be a nightmare to convert all of them for the convection ovens.

    1. I too have had issues with convection when baking. I have some recipes that work beautifully...others where I am better off using the regular bake option. I have started noting that on my recipes. For some reason cakes seem to not work as well using convection. Cookies not as well. Puff pastry seems great with convection...

      1. pies. pizzas (what they were made for). cookies too. not cakes...

        1. I never bake using my convection. But I would never buy another oven that WASN'T convection as it does such a great job roasting meat and veg, cooking pizza, or any other savoury thing. But I don't like it for sweet things.

          1. Ah, well, glad to hear I'm not alone. There is so much hoopla about the convection thing, and I was just going on the premise that, since I had one, I must absolutely figure out how to use it, and I really messed up. I am not a stupendously talented cook and I don't really even use my oven that often; most of what I do is on my cooktop, which I adore, and so I don't think I am well suited to try and adapt to the convection. I have used it for pies and will use it for that. I am a vegetarian, so there's not much meat roasting that I would do. I like my pizza but don't do that often, either. I think, for the most part, I will ignore the convection. The recipes I use aren't for convection ovens and I don't have the talent to convert.
            Sigh; I am thinking there is one possibly salvageable cake and the other two, which were to be gifts, I will grind in the garbage disposal. I can't feed them to the birds; they would be drunk!

            3 Replies
            1. re: kayandallie

              Am I correct that you can turn off the convection mode for a convection oven?

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I can only speak for the Wolf. There are a myriad of settings to choose; it is not preset. You press the oven on button and then choose the mode. There are non-convection choices; none any easier or harder to choose than another.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  I have a Magtag, nothing high end about it. And I can choose convection or not. I would say, overall, it's a bout 50/50 between when I use it and when I don't.

              2. Baking and convection don't seem to mix. Since I live at high altitude, I do use that feature for many main dishes - meats, potatoes and other root vegetables since cooking time is always longer here.

                3 Replies
                1. re: FromMyCabinDoor

                  Interesting. I would have assumed the opposite, since everything I cook with convection is cooked so much faster. The first turkey I cooked with convection was done 2 hours earlier than I expected!!

                  I wonder what about high altitude negates that. But, I live 500 metres from the oean have never cooked at high altitude myself.

                  1. re: CanadaGirl

                    Things take longer to cook at high altitude and the blowing air in a convection oven helps speed things up a bit.

                    1. re: wyogal

                      I just re-read FromMyCabinDoor's post. Looks like I just didn't pay enough attention the first time though and we are all saying the same thing! Thanks :)

                2. I use convection for baking cookies, I can get more in the oven and the circulating air distributes the heat better than if I had racks of cookie sheets above and below each other in a regular oven. But, for a dense, longer cooking item, like fruitcake, I wouldn't use convection.

                  1. Hopefully we will be getting a new range in the next couple of years. What I would like to buy is a an induction stove with a convection oven. I too have heard convection ovens are best for roasting meats and that they can be troublesome when baking. I would not swear off the convection entirely, just don't use it for baking unless you are certain your convection setting will work for the recipe you are using.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: John E.

                      Yes, I think that is good advice. I will no longer think that I am supposed to try and use it for everything...I guess it does have its advantages; I'll just try to be alert as to what those are. All I know about are pies, pizza, and big hunks of meat things. Right now I will stick to those. After all, it is a gorgeous blue and the light set-up is very well thought out. Just using the regular oven settings coupled with that should make me happy enough.

                    2. I learned the hard way not to use convection for my cakes and custards (creme brulee, flans). My roasts and cookies turned out well, though.

                      1. As others have mentioned, convection is great for somethings and not for others.

                        1. I don't like it for baking either, except cookies. I think there must be a big difference in convection ovens, though because some on this forum have said they like their convection oven for baking. It is just another tool and you have to think of it in those terms.. The moving heated air is drying and that is good for things that need to be crisp or brown, but can be damaging to delicate cakes. It tends to heat the outside quickly and cause it to set, before it can rise in some cases. It also causes sugars to caramelize more quickly, which can also cause sweet things to burn.

                          Besides roasting, I have used it as a dehydrator and for certain art projects where I needed some thing to dry quickly. I can be beneficial too if you have your oven loaded to keep the heat even. I also don't pay that much attention to the -25 degree rule. There is more to it than just lowering temperature. Another thing to consider on the Wolf oven is that you have the ability to have more heat come from the top (roasting mode) or bottom (baking). I like all that. I have cooked for many years on a multitude of convectional oven and just the last three with convection and now I wouldn't be without it.

                          13 Replies
                          1. re: wekick

                            "I think there must be a big difference in convection ovens"

                            That is a good point. It must be, because the moving air current can be different for each convection ovens, as there is no standard or regulation on the air.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              And there are apparently different kinds of convection cooking. My relatively new Bosch double ovens have "convection" and "true convection" settings. Darned if I know the difference!

                              1. re: CindyJ

                                :) I have an idea what true convection is. The traditional ovens are operated by using heated elements via infrared radiation.


                                Many of the convection ovens have a fan to assist the circulation of hot air, but otherwise operated just like any traditional ovens.

                                True convection ovens have heated elements right next to the fan:


                                Unfortunately, it will take some "translation" to convert one recipe to another. So the more recipes you have perfected, the more difficult to move to a new baking mode.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  This is further complicated by number of fans, size and speed of fans, size of elements and how much each one come on in each mode and how baffles are arranged in the oven. It also might make some difference if it is gas or electric. That is why there is now blanket rule for conversion.
                                  It really has not been difficult to move to convection. It just needs to be used where it will be the most benefit and if you already have good recipes for baking why change? It does have a benefit for baking an oven full of quiches and I have to bake those in a few weeks at someone else's house without convection and I was wondering how that was going to work because I'm used to the convection now.

                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                My oven has 2 convection settings, convection and roast convection, the roast convection the fan runs about twice as fast as the normal

                                1. re: Dave5440

                                  "the roast convection the fan runs about twice as fast as the normal"

                                  Holy moly.... Wow.

                                  Next thing we know, there will be different wavelength.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      my convection oven (sharp) uses microwave and convection during roasting. finishes in about 30 minutes what would take two hours. truly, it's good!

                                        1. re: Dave5440

                                          Oh my SIL has that and I have baked/roasted in it with her and I didn't notice as she set the oven. All our stuff came out great. I really like that oven. We made the best apple pie of all time in that oven!

                                          1. re: wekick

                                            It's served us well, not that i use it too much , we mostly use the grll for everything except bread

                                      1. re: Dave5440

                                        Mine's got roast, convection roast; bake, convection bake; broil, convection broil, true convection and speed convection. It drives me nuts trying to figure out how they're different from each other and which setting is best for any particular purpose. I haven't noticed any differences in the speed of the fan on any of the convection settings I've used.

                                  1. I'm wondering when the last time it was calibrated was, or if you are using an oven thermometer because I don't that this problem with my convection ovens, I have 2. I do lower the temp 25 degrees and set the timer for a first check 30% less than the recipe calls for. Usually it is not ready that fast but I can tell how close it is.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: rasputina

                                      That is an excellent point. It could be off on the temp. Also since it is run by electronics, it could be cycling wrong.

                                    2. I picked up a barely used 3 year old Kenmore Elite 30" double convection oven off Craigslist for $100, and I love it for baking. I have done numerous pies, cookies, and breads , and they come out great. I have less problem with burning than with the old standard oven. Mine has hidden elements, so no IR gets to the items being baked, only hot air. It has a feature where you put your regular temp in, and it converts it for convection (down 25). I haven't found it to really be that much faster for baking, just far less problems with burning.

                                      1. Was taught by a french chef to use them for macarons. There's no way in hell I'll ever go back. There is a learning curve, and we don't use it for everything. We like using it for things that aren't thick like meringues, macarons, cookies, etc. I don't have the heart to try a cake or pie.

                                        1. The Wolf oven should have some guidelines in the manual, which outlines which "mode" to use for various types of recipes. I love using the convection bake mode for cookies; roast mode is great for, uh, roasting (i.e., cooking proteins)
                                          And I second the suggestion to check temperature with an oven thermometer.
                                          Sorry to hear about your cakes. Hope you will keep trying things with your new oven. I've loved my three convection ovens.

                                          1. My mom has a Wolf oven with convection. Her meats turn out amazing using the convection. I know she never does baked goods with convection though.

                                            1. I don't know what type of range you have Kay, but my Samsung true convection oven is the best investment I have ever made. Being a seasoned chef every recipe turns out beautifully. I always have my conversion mode set to on and the temp is converted automatically. You then just set the auto time as called for in the recipe. I would never go back to my old Kenmore standard convection for all the tea in China. I do hope you have better results, keep trying.

                                              1. Convection mode with my range necessitates reducing the temp 50 degrees rather than 25, learned through events similar to what you've described, unfortunately.

                                                I switched from an all gas range to dual fuel, and in my opinion, that was a critical, positive improvement for baking. Beyond that, I could take or leave convection at this point, eight + years in.
                                                Now, STEAM injection/convection, I would SO be in for. If I could upgrade my electrical service and had a place to put it, I would already have a commercial combi oven.

                                                1. Love my Trini Black Cake