A convection oven is a fairly versatile household appliance that has gained popularity in all countries of the world due to its economy and ability to preserve the beneficial properties of food. Convection ovens are used in catering establishments, manufacturing companies and just ordinary kitchens. Like any device, a convection oven has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see whether a convection oven is actually worth it.
Is a convection oven worth it? A convection oven is definitely worth it since it can offer you high-quality cooking and excellent performance, it will save your time as it cooks faster. A convection oven is also easy to control and maintain. Convection ovens are versatile in use and you can get it for an affordable price.
However, we need to dive into this deeper. So here is the ultimate guide on a convection oven for you to make a weighted decision.
What Are the Pros and Cons of a Convection Oven?
Pros of a Convection Oven:
- Variety of models. There are both household and industrial convection ovens. The first ones are easily installed at home, are small in size and affordable. The latter has the highest performance but are distinguished by impressive dimensions and high power consumption.
- Ease of maintenance. Convection ovens are produced with two systems — electronic and mechanical, although this does not affect the complexity of use. The difference is that the electronic control can be programmed for specific recipes.
- Versatility. In convection ovens, you can cook any food without fear that they will burn, and the maintained humidity level will keep the food juicy. Although these devices are most often used for the preparation of bakery and confectionery products, they are also good for meat and fish. Broaster products are a good example of furnace versatility.
- Heating. This is no joke, with convection ovens you can easily cope with the heating of almost any room. That is why there are wood-fired models. Although gas devices cope with this task no worse.
- Even distribution of heat throughout the oven, which makes it possible to refuse the use of oil or fat, and the ability to load any dishes other than plastic.
- The ability to simultaneously place 4 non-standard trays for baking dough pieces.
- Reduce energy consumption. Bakers who use a high-quality convection oven set the temperature 10-15°C lower than the recommended recipe.
- Save your time. By adjusting the maximum level of power consumption to reduce the preparation time of buns, muffins, puffs and other baked goods.
- High performance. The ability to simultaneously bake culinary masterpieces with different requirements of time, humidity and temperature.
Cons of a Convection Oven:
What are the disadvantages of a convection oven? The main disadvantages of a convection oven are the release of combustion products that can be dangerous to human health, dirt during the fire, as ash can fly into the chimney. For a convection oven, you should not only find a place in the kitchen but also make it sufficiently heat-resistant, because the convection heats up quite strongly during operation.
- Convection oven needs a lot of work space. In most models, it is small enough that it does not provide for high performance. You should not only find a place in the kitchen but also make it sufficiently heat-resistant because the body of a convection oven heats up quite strongly during operation.
- The impossibility of preparing dishes that require different processing methods. So, for example, it will not be possible to simultaneously make dishes that require steam processing and frying. Steam convection appliances do this, but not conventional ovens. This significantly reduces the productivity and speed of cooking.
Is a Convection Oven Worth the Extra Money?
Since convection ovens are practical, economical, energy-efficient and reliable, they are definitely worth the extra money. A convection oven will also preserve all the vitamins in your food, which makes it perfect for people who care about their health.
That said, convection ovens allow you to quickly reach the set temperature, while baking takes less time than in a conventional oven. Due to the fact that the oven doors are made of double glass and an air gap remains between them, heat loss is reduced and it reduces your electricity bills.
If you touch the door while the oven is operating, there will be no burns. Some convection ovens are equipped with a steam humidification function to prevent overdrying of baked goods.
The combi steamer will become an indispensable helper for all baking lovers, as it ensures the preparation of perfect bakery products.
There are also models of convection ovens in which there is no mixing of hot air, due to which it is possible to cook two dishes at the same time on different levels.
The home convection oven is small in size, while it is capable of performing almost all the functions of professional-level equipment. It does not take up much space in the kitchen and has an attractive design, which is important for many housewives.
The home convection oven allows you to cook food in different modes, including without fat. Cooking food does not require constant attention and turning the food, as the chamber heats them evenly from all sides.
A powerful steam generator (with an operating temperature of 30-130 ° C), which is equipped with a mini convection oven for the home, provides the ability to sauté, stew, blanch and steam. Such modes contribute to the maximum preservation of the colour and useful properties. For lovers of meat dishes, there is a dry heat mode, which allows you to cook, for example, juicy cutlets with a crispy crust.
The convection oven for home has many advantages, such as multifunctionality, practicality and ease of care, the presence of a high-strength steel body, which ensures long-term operation, reasonable price and lighting inside the oven, a protective coating on the inner surface, which is resistant to high temperatures, scratches and detergents.
Almost every convection oven is equipped with a timer with an alarm to inform you about the end of cooking, as well as an automatic shutdown mode, which makes cooking even easier. However, all these advantages can be appreciated only if you choose a good convection oven.
Convection vs. Conventional Ovens Explained
Should I Buy a Convection Oven or a Regular Oven?
You should buy a convection oven if you bake a lot or have a big family to cook for. If you do not cook that often, a regular oven will be just fine. If you want to save some time when cooking, then you should buy a convection oven. Remember that a convection oven cooks faster than a conventional oven.
However, among the disadvantages of convection ovens are the relatively high cost, as well as rather strict loading rules: for example, baking trays must be installed in them, starting from the centre.
What Is Better — Convection or Conventional Oven?
To understand what is better — convection of a conventional oven, we need to compare them. A convection oven differs from an oven primarily in the presence of built-in fans and the location of the heating element. In a conventional oven, heating elements are usually installed at the top and bottom. In a convection oven, heating elements are located around the perimeter, and fans distribute the heated air throughout the entire internal volume – due to this, the dish in the chamber is exposed to influence from all sides. Many ovens are equipped with two fans to improve cooking quality.
Cooking time in a convection oven compared to a conventional oven is reduced by about 25%, as well as energy costs. It was noticed that they can be set to a lower (by 10-15 ° C) temperature without deteriorating the quality of cooking.
Unlike conventional ovens, convection ovens can store several dishes at the same time on different levels. To prevent food drying out, they are supplemented with a steam humidification system. Water is poured into a special reservoir, and then flows in small portions to the fan and, under the influence of high temperatures, turns into steam.
What foods are best cooked in a convection oven? Convection ovens are very good for frying and roasting meat and vegetables (they quickly form a crisp on the surface, but inside they remain soft and juicy), for baking dry biscuits, puff pastry and other products that are not afraid of a dry environment.
When should you not use a convection oven? You should not use a convection oven for high-fat bread and pastries (biscuits, pound cake, etc.) as they are cooked much better in a conventional oven or broiler.
That said, you can cook anything in a convection oven, however, baked foods are best cooked in a convection oven. Thanks to moisture, they turn out to be more fluffy, softer and do not fall off over time. For better hot airflow, it is recommended to use moulds with low sides. For those who are just learning to cook, built-in auto programs will help.
Cooking & Kitchen Tips: Convection Oven Tips
Steam Convection Ovens
It is worth mentioning steam convection ovens, too. Steam streams preserve the juiciness of the products, their natural taste and consistency. And the baked goods prepared in this way do not dry out and turn out to be especially lush and soft.
You should buy a steam convection oven if you are:
- A parent. In a steam convection oven, you can not only cook food for your baby but also sterilize baby dishes. The high heat steam kills bacteria on baby bottles and teats.
- A healthy lifestyle advocate. We are talking about athletes, fitness instructors and anyone who counts calories and tries to make every meal as healthy as possible. You can easily find recipes for healthy meals from a wide variety of products on the Internet, and the convection steam oven will help you prepare them quickly.
- An elderly person. Elderly people need to pay special attention to their health: in order to avoid excessive stress on the stomach and liver, it is better to steam food.
- A person suffering from problems with digestion. The steam oven helps you to follow the diet prescribed by your doctor, without starving or suffering from the monotony of the menu. There are a lot of recipes for dietary dishes — complex and not very complicated. A convection oven with steam will help you master any of them.
How Do I Choose a Convection Oven?
To choose a convection oven, you need to pay attention to the following:
- Power. It is clear that the higher it is, the faster the dishes are prepared. However, if you have restrictions or problems with the power supply (for example, when the device is bought for a summer cottage), then you can consider a steam oven for a kitchen with lower power. The choice here is quite wide: the power of convection ovens ranges from 1.8 to 15 kW.
- Energy-saving. Residents of large cities should pay attention to this indicator so that later they will not be surprised at the amount in the bill for utilities. All household appliances have an energy consumption scale. Ideally, the device should be in the green zone — from level A to level B.
- Functionality. The set of functions of a convection oven directly affects its cost. Before buying, you need to clearly understand what the device is for and how it will be used. If the oven is needed mainly for sterilizing baby bottles and preparing cereals, you don’t need to look for a model with wide functionality. But steam humidification and an electronic childproof lock are necessary in this case.
- Service life and warranty. How long does a convection oven last? According to the warranty, given by convection ovens manufacturers, a convection oven lasts for 10 years if it is properly looked after. The manufacturer, who is confident in the quality of his product, necessarily establishes a warranty period during which the convection oven can be repaired or exchanged free of charge at a branded service centre.
- The size. Kitchen equipment should fit comfortably into the room. If you have little space at your disposal, consider this nuance and look for compact models.
- Type of control. There are electromechanical and electronic convection ovens. Electromechanical convection ovens are not only convenient but, as a rule, cheaper to operate. While electronic convection ovens require some specific knowledge, but they also automate the process of heat treatment.
- The number of levels – the more there are, the higher the performance.
- Price. Prices for models with similar functionality from different manufacturers differ significantly. It depends on various factors such as company policies, seasonal discounts, and so on.
To choose a perfect convection oven, it is best to consult with professionals and read reviews from real people. Feel free to ask even the trickiest questions to consultants. They will be happy to advise and help in purchasing your oven, ideal in all respects.