Whether it’s meats like golden, roast turkey, maple-glazed ham or crusty and juicy crown rib roast … roast vegetables like sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts or butternut squash … or pies, cookies, pastries and breads, many of your favorite roasted and/or baked holiday foods will benefit greatly from the use of a convection oven.
Convection ovens use a fan or fans to circulate hot air within the oven compartment which evens out the cooking temperature throughout the entire oven compartment, encourages more even browning, speeds cooking and allows the use of lower cooking temperatures. Some “true convection” or “European convection” ovens go one step further and an additional heating element specifically to heat the air being circulated in the oven, rather than relying solely on the heating elements in the oven floor to heat the air being circulated by the fan(s).
A general rule of thumb when using convection mode is to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit and cut the cooking time by approximately 25 percent when adjusting recipes intended for convection ovens. However, you may need to experiment with some of your favorite recipes when baking/roasting in convection mode to get the cooking time and temperature adjusted perfectly. Roast meats, especially when crisp skin is desired as with holiday turkey, benefit from the even browning and dry heat provided by convection cooking. Roast vegetable also caramelize more evenly when prepared in a convection oven. Similarly, baked goods such as breads, rolls, pies, pastries, tarts and cookies benefit from the use of convection, with less risk of scorched bottoms and uneven browning. The increased baking speed and efficiency are also big pluses, when you are using the oven for extended periods, such as when you are baking multiple batches of holiday cookies.
Whether you need a wall oven, double wall oven, combination wall oven/microwave, or are looking for a range (including freestanding, slide-in or drop-in models), you can find a variety of models offering convection cooking. Likewise, convection mode is available on gas and electric ovens, as well as gas, electric, induction and dual fuel ranges. If you’re hosting one or more holiday events this year, or you will be doing a lot of holiday baking for friends, family and coworkers, you might want to upgrade to the benefits for convection cooking this year.