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Bakers' input wanted: Have you ever baked in a True Convection oven?

I cook a lot but am also a big-time baker and I am in the process updating the kitchen and have only ever used a standard oven for all my baking (cookies, biscuits, pies, cakes, cupcakes, tarts, etc) and have heard mixed reviews about baking in convection ovens. I am considering a True Convection oven (heating elements on top and bottom plus a third by the fan).

Ideally I would love to be able to bake several pans at a time (ie. 2-3 cookie sheets or 4 x 8" cake pans) all at once and achieve the same results as when I bake in a traditional oven. I guess time efficiency is what I am after.

If you're a baker I'd love to hear about your experience and pros/cons. Thanks!

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  1. I bought a barely used Kenmore Elite 30" double convection oven off Craigslist for $100,and love it. My pies, and breads come out perfect , and no burning.

    I have done 7 - 9" pies in one shot with 3 shelves installed. They all came out fine.

    BTW Frigidaire made the model I have for Kenmore

    4 Replies
    1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

      Thanks for your post. Seems that finicky baking such as cakes, muffins and the like are subject to great variability with convection. Lucky you on getting such a deal.

      1. re: InRosiesKitchen

        I have not had any problems with breads, cookies,cakes, or muffins. They all come out great.

        BTW if it makes a difference, mine is electric

        1. re: InRosiesKitchen

          If you've ever read Thomas Keller and Sebastian Rouxel's book, Bouchon Bakery, they actually encourage you to use a convection oven in many of the recipes. For many baked goods, they will gain a slightly higher rise and more even color. Madeleines are given their classic bubble through the use of a convection oven. Some cakes actually get a better crumb from its use. Coffee cakes beg for a domed top and convection ovens will encourage this. Macarons benefit from it as standard ovens aren't really optimal for making them (they have a tendency to form specks on the cookie which negatively impact texture). Cookies wont spread as much and will get a more even color as well. I have one as well as a standard oven and there are times when i'll use one over the other. It all depends on what im making actually. Muffins, for example, are best baked in a standard oven. Another nice benefit for convection ovens is that it allows for a shorter baking time.

        2. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

          Hi, do you know what the model number of your oven is? I am looking for a good oven for my pie baking business and your review of yours was very helpful. Thanks

        3. I used an early convection oven for about 12 years, and prefer it to a standard oven. I don't know what you mean by a "true convection oven" though.

          For me it gave lovely browned poultry and beautiful cornbread and biscuits. Cookies turned out well too. I seldom set the temps back. But I checked the contents often.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sueatmo

            There seem to be different kinds of convection oven - the older technology with just a plain fan to blow the air around and the "True Convection" that also has a heating element by the fan in addition to the elements at the top and bottom. Thanks for your post!

            1. re: InRosiesKitchen

              Well, I'd love to have either kind, frankly.

              1. re: InRosiesKitchen

                Third element isn't really newer or necessarily better. Third element has mostly been a feature on electric ovens. It usually isn't practical to put a third element around a fan in a gas oven. Although, I do believe that Frigidaire now has some gas stoves with an electrical third element around the convection fan.

            2. After I overcooked a Zuni kitchen while using the convection option, I found this conversion chart. Do others automatically do this?

              http://www.convection-calculator.com/

              8 Replies
              1. re: c oliver

                The Kitchenaid I just installed in our house has automatic conversion

                1. re: kagemusha49

                  The calculator is a great tool - THANKS c oliver! And an automatic conversion is now on my "must have list" - seems it would help in the guesswork. Thanks kagemusha49!

                  1. re: InRosiesKitchen

                    Automatic conversions may or may not be useful but at least most stoves/ovens that have this feature allow you to shut it off when you don't want it.

                    It will take some trial and error to figure out how well it does or does not work for you. You want to be sure you have your oven calibrated correctly or at least measured. My experience is that the automatic conversions vary widely in effective they are.

                    I live at near 6000 feet altitude. I've found with my last two convection ovens, that I often need a slightly hotter oven. If I'm baking bread, I don't get good results if oven is dropping from 350F to 325F. Actually, I get better results with the oven at 375F.

                    These are just examples and, unfortunately, YMMV.

                    1. re: JWVideo

                      Your experience living at 6,000ft altitude is about what I'd expect as you are blowing less air mass at that altitude and that would lower the convection heat transfer rate. I imagine that the default for automatic correction is sea level and I haven't checked to see if that can be adjusted.

                      1. re: kagemusha49

                        I live at 6400' so appreciate this heads up.

                      2. re: JWVideo

                        I live at sea level and I agree "the automatic conversions vary widely in effective they are." I used the feature a little when first got the Miele ovens, but now I just reduce the temp by 15F (not the 25F recommended). And the cooking times are generally the same as stated in a recipe. IMO the greatest benefit is convection roasting of vegetables. They're very addictive. PS This was also my experience with kitchenaid convection ovens. Just reduce temp by 15F, not 25F, and follow the cooking time stated in the recipe.

                    2. re: kagemusha49

                      We have a new kithenaid with double oven one is true conversion the fan u to run all the time when it was on convection now it don't I think something is wrong with my oven please let me know

                      1. re: kagemusha49

                        I have a new Kitchenaid also when you use automatic conversion and it reaches the temp. dose you fan stay on or does it go off and on

                    3. I've had three convection ovens over the past 30 years, and loved all of them. The only thing that did not turn out well or better was creme brulee - it just would not set, and did not cook evenly nor well (and I've been making creme brulee for many years). Now I just bake custards w/o the convection feature.

                      I also do not remember to adjust the temp down, but with careful watching for browning, it's fine.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Claudette

                        Thanks for your post. Good point re: creme brulee. I do makes lots of it! One of my favourite desserts by far.

                      2. A couple of general observations. First, ovens vary. No exception for "true" convection (a/k/a "third element convection" and "European" convection.) There seems to be a fair amount of variation among ovens and stoves,and brands and models, so generalizations have to be understood against that background.

                        Second, for much of the last decade, I baked in a GE dual-fuel stove with third-element convection. I now have a pro-style all-gas stove with a convection fan but (being gas) no third element. The GE oven did a better job with thin things such as cookies. I could throw in three sheets of sugar cookies or ginger snaps and they would all come out about equally browned without my having to rotate the sheets or shuffle positions. My current pro-style stove only has two oven racks and I had to rotate and shuffle the sheets half-way through when using the convection fan (no third element.)

                        On the other hand, I find the new stove's oven does a better job with bread. I can do four loaves of bread and get a shatteringly thin and crisp crust with the new stove that I never quite achieved in the old third-element oven.

                        I have played around with oven thermometers a time or two. I found that, once fully preheated, the old GE's oven maintained a pretty even temperature throughout the oven cavity when the third element convection and fan were going. There was some fluctuation in the upper corners, but only around 10F to 20F. My current stove's gas oven does about the same just using the plain convection fan.

                        Running the GE oven in "convection roasting" mode (using the broiler element and the third element), it was pretty easy to get good browning of a couple of sheet pans of southern-style biscuits. WIth the current gas oven, convection or no, this is harder to do and involves some shifting of pans.

                        For many things --- pies, roasted meats and poultry -- I'm not noticing any difference in results. I recently tried making layer cakes using four 9" cake pans. Didn't see any noticeable difference between the current batch of cakes and those that I made a year ago when using the old GE running the third element convection.

                        Beyond that, I have not observed any "time efficiency" differences between the third element GE convection and the plain fan convection on my current stove. Convection seems to get longer tasks (roasts, poultry, etc.) done a little quicker than a plain oven, but the current gas oven doesn't seem to take any longer to do those things than they took when I had the GE third-element convection.

                        Now, to be sure, there are variations between stoves and ovens, and others may have different experiences with other versions and brands.

                        1 Reply