How To Roast With A Convection Oven
Are you doing a kitchen renovation and are wondering what kind of oven you need, or have you recently bought a convection oven and are unsure how to use it? One kitchen appliance we tend to take for granted is the home oven, yet many don’t yet realise how convection technology has revolutionised its use.
Once you understand how to get a beautifully moist and succulent roast dinner from your convection oven, you may never go back to using a conventional oven.
How Do They Work?
Convection ovens contain a third heating element, usually located near the oven fan to ensure the air is heated to a uniform temperature.
This type of oven cooks around 25-30% faster than a conventional one, as the hot air forced all around the food seals the surface quickly, retaining moisture and nutrients.
Why Is A Convection Oven Better Than a Conventional One?
The benefits of using a convection oven include:
Shorter cooking times –- Great for today’s time-starved families, who need to to get good food on the table fast. Roasts cook more quickly and with less attention than in conventional ovens.
Moist, flavoursome roasted meats –- By sealing the surface quickly, much of the moisture is locked in, resulting in tender, tasty roasts.
Consistent temperature –- There are no hot spots and cold spots. The hot air is distributed evenly around the oven and the meat cooks properly all the way through, without the need to turn or baste it.
Energy efficiency –- With reduced cooking times and/or temperatures, energy consumption is reduced by around 20%. Most efficient are the turbo table-top models, which can cook with up to 80% less energy consumption than a conventional oven
What is Different about Cooking In A Convection Oven?
Don’t be afraid to make some changes to your regular method. Remember:
Shorten cooking times – If cooked at the same temperatures as a regular oven, roasts cook 20-30% faster.
Adjust existing recipes to suit – Feel free to experiment. Some roasts, especially larger ones, do well if the temperature is lowered by 25 degrees for some or all of the cooking time.Smaller cuts usually cook well at the regular temperature but are ready 20% quicker.
Roasting pans need to allow for air flow – Low sides are best. Keep 2-3 cm clear around your pan, and don’t cover the oven racks with foil. Deep pans and casserole dishes block the flow of air; if using them, a conventional oven is best.
What Type Is Right For You?
Convection ovens come in various sizes, from the commercial-sized ovens right down the bench-top turbo models (like the Australian-made Easy Cook).
For a large family, a full-size range or wall oven would be a good choice. Some units even have a self-cleaning function, another great time-saving feature. There are many models and manufacturers — talk to your local home applicance specialist about your needs.
The bench-top model is perfect if you are cooking for a small family, a couple or yourself; they are extremely energy-efficient compared to the full-sized models, and perfect for camping or motorhome holidays.
Quick Recipe Ideas
Cream Puffs – Use your favourite choux pastry recipe with your oven at 190°C. Cook for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. The puffs will cook evenly all over and there is no need to swap trays or poke the puffs, as some recipes suggest.
Roast Pork With Crackling – Use a 1kg pork loin roast. Score the skin before rubbing with generous amounts of olive oil and salt, and roasting on a rack (to maximise the airflow around the roast) in your convection oven at 220°C for 20 mins, then 180°C for another 40 mins.Allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
Fried Chicken – Oven fried chicken is fabulous. Roast your prepared chicken at 180°C in your convection oven for 30-35 minutes for wonderfully moist chicken with the lovely crusty coating.
Garlic and Parmesan Toasts – Yes, toast! Drizzle olive oil over slices of French or Italian loaf, sprinkle with garlic powder and grated parmesan cheese and cook in a fairly hot oven until the edges are browned and the cheese is golden (about 5-7 minutes).
Once you understand how and why convection ovens work so well, you can snap one up and dazzle your family and friends with the perfect roast. Bon appetit!