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Mar 27, 2013 07:26 PM

I'm Curious

Per "Cooking With Gas" below, I'm learning to use my new gas range. Can anyone tell me why the directions advise against using the convection feature when baking layer cakes? It's fine to use the feature on all other baking but suggests to not use convection when baking layer cakes. I don't get it.
Thanks for your advice.

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  1. Convection has these actions. The fan moves the air and that
    -is drying-This can cause the surface of what you are baking to dry and inhibit the rise.
    - increases the rate of heat transfer - causes the cake to cook faster on the outside, which can cause an uneven rise
    -evens out the temperature in the oven-this brings heat from all directions again changing the way things cook. Heat in a conventional oven come mostly from the bottom causing the cake to cook from the bottom, up allowing a better rise.
    Some oven fans cause the cake to look "blown".

    There are some people that use convection for cakes and report good results so I think ovens vary quite a bit in the way the fan(s) work and the oven is constructed. I look at convection as a tool and do not use it unless it will benefit what I am baking. It is great for things you want to be brown or crispy, like roasted poultry, many cookies or pies. I don't use it for muffins or quick breads or the first part of baking yeast breads because it is detrimental to the the rise. There are people on baking forums that have electric ovens(which hold moisture from what you are cooking and are humid-good for the rise) that open the oven after the rise is complete to allow the humidity to escape and turn on the convection to promote a little browning, if you want to be that fussy. Gas ovens are drier even though gas releases water as a product of combustion, because they are ventilated more and the moisture is removed so you don't need to open the door.
    Convection is a learning curve but results for me have been well worth the time spent learning about it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wekick

      That's the answer I'm looking for. Thank you Wekick.

    2. @SonyBob,

      Convenction heat is steady and dry. From my understanding, gas heat can flucuate and for baking you want consistent temperture through the entire process.

      1. Gas ovens do, in fact, fluctuate so the temperature is more or less an average. Many of the newer double oven ranges with a smaller oven on top or bottom only offer convection in the larger oven. Many convection fans are variable in that they spin faster/push more air the hotter the oven temperature.

        I don't bake any pastries in my convection unless it specifically calls for it.

        I wish my range had electric ovens. I prefer them because they do maintain a more consistent heat.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rigmaster

          " Many convection fans are variable in that they spin faster/push more air the hotter the oven temperature."

          I had never heard of this. What is the purpose? Is this for commercial application? The are modes that use reduced speeds of the fan to avoid some of the issues of convection. Miele has all kinds of ways to direct heat and fan speeds.

          Gas or electric, the temp swing is dictated by the thermostat. The normal swing is 25 degrees on either side of the set temp. Some electric ovens claim to have as little as two degrees swing. There might be some gas ovens that have a narrower swing. You should be able to find out from the manufacturer what the specs are for any given oven. People often put bricks and all kinds of stuff in the oven to get a more consistent temp. It may take longer to make that swing but the temperature is still controlled by the thermostat.

        2. Try it, and see what happens.

          1. I wrote up a thread on this here - Basically, cakes dry out too fast on the outside while failing to cook adequately on the inside, and the whole thing can dry out before it's fully risen.