Convection vs. Non
I've never got the principales down....
For those with convection ovens, when do you CHOOSE convection vs. Non.
Same goes for temps. Are you guys decreasing the temps by 25 degrees or so when baking/roasting in the convection mode or not ?
I think it depends on the oven. My oven has three settings - Bake, Convection Bake and Convection Roast. I need to get an independent oven thermometer so I can tell for sure, but as far as I know, the Bake setting heats the oven to the stated temperature, the Convection Bake setting automatically subtracts 35 or so degrees from the stated temperature, and the Convection Roast setting heats to the stated temperature but cooks faster due to the convection feature. I actually find the Convection Bake setting quite annoying, because I don't have control over the exact temperature, so I generally only use Bake or Convection Roast. When I choose Convection Roast, I do decrease the temperature if I'm worried about foods becoming too brown too quickly, etc.
I think there is a huge difference in convection ovens. I have a Wolf range and Electrolux wall oven. I have also used a GE profile. Even though they all have a third element they work differently. There are also those ovens that work with a fan only. As mentioned some have different modes, baking(more heat from the bottom), roasting, (more heat from the top and all convection useful when the oven is packed.
I only use convection when I feel it will benefit what I am making. The effects are quicker heat transfer, which may reduce cooking time, drying--->promoting crispiness and browning as mentioned and more even cooking.
I think it is trial and error to learn to use it. When I use the Wolf oven, I use the convection bake for pies and quiches, pizza, and some cookies. I use the conv roast for meat or casseroles I want to brown on top. I used to do what you do and brown at the end but once you learn to make the adjustments, the browning is much superior because it is much more even with convection. I cooked for many many years on all kinds of oven and I hope I don't have to go without convection again. I do not use it for cakes or anything I want to rise because the drying can inhibit the rise and the rapid heat transfer can cook the outside quicker than is optimal. You could use it towards the end of these items if you wanted to. Some people do use it though for cakes and report good results but I would say it depends on the oven.
I have a standard/convection oven as well as a microwave/convection oven. I do generally reduce the temp by 20-25 degrees. I do not use convection for pastry or some bread recipes. Otherwise I use convection all the time. I almost never use 'convection roast' though. I mostly use that for poultry, when I do use it.
I started using convection (BTW, my English friends call it a "fan oven') with the micro/convection. It is great for so many things, especially dehydrating. It was my experience with the micro-convection that convinced me to get a convection oven and a toaster-oven with convection.