or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › fan ovens, is there any good reason?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

fan ovens, is there any good reason?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Can't find any thread on these horrible fan ovens so i'm starting a new one.  Mainly to rant.

 

I was cooking in another place this weekend and they had a fan oven.  Aargh.  We were trying to make pizza in a community center and the oven would not heat the pizza stone up though it was set to maximum.  It did burn the top of the pizza but the base stayed soft and gooey.  (Yes, we preheated quite a long time).    I can't imagine how it's possible to cook anything at all decently with one of these.  I suggested laying the stone directly on the floor of the oven, but putting my hand in, i realized that the heat came from the walls of the oven!  what sense does that make?  How can you brown anything (that is, before it dries up) in an oven like that?  What possible benefit does it give over a regular oven?

 

I prefer gas, but old fashioned electric ovens had a bottom coil and a top coil, and you could use only the bottom one and be sure that the cake would rise because the heat came from the bottom, and the top cooked more slowly.  With the fan the top dries out and also cooks faster, making the cake crack around the edges as it rises. 

With the fan oven, potatoes don't brown unless you overcook them and the fan dries them out. 

 

Is there any positive side to them? ?? 

 

Yeah i know they're supposedly faster, but to me they're just faster at drying things out.  And if you lower the temperature you get none of the benefits of high heat, which makes practically everything better except cakes.  

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #2 of 13

I love that there are no hot spots in a convection oven. When trying to cook for 115-125 people at once, it's nice be be able to put 5 pans of rolls or cookies in at once and know that they won't have to be rotated or worry about how close to the heating element a rack is.

 

I agree, when making small amounts of items I prefer a traditional gas or electric oven but IMO for mass production and consistency, convection is the way to go.

post #3 of 13

Do you mean a convection oven?  I have one and the key is to know when to use it.  I'm surprised you don't like them Siduri considering you like a hot dry oven for your roasts.  A leg of lamb, a roast beef, these benefit a lot from convection cooking.  If it was your own convection oven you'd know when to use it and when not to.  I roast my potatoes in a convection oven, hot as heck.  But they're covered with foil until the last 15min of cooking in which case the cover comes off and the browning is quick and hard.  I don't bake things in a convection oven, too scary but I'm a novice at baking and I'm sure others would know how to use it to get maximum results.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #4 of 13

I love convection!

And yes, you should have put the stone on the bottom of the oven. I permanently line the bottom of my ovens with baking/pizza stones.

All ovens are not created equally though. I don't know if I've ever used one where the heat radiated from the sides. Was this oven a Convotherm?

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

All i know about it is that it's a type of oven lots of people have in europe.  It's electric and has a fan in the back.  I don't know what a convection oven is.  The floor of it had no heat at all.  The heat coming from all directions was really annoying. 

 

I have a gas oven, and can cook four trays of cookies at once, and no problem.  The heat comes pretty evenly.  The old electric oven we had when i was a kid worked fine, without a fan. 

 

Koukou, i like the fact that in a regular oven you can get closer or further from the heat source - in the gas oven i have, i put my roasts on the floor of the oven, and the bottom heats quicker.  The potatoes around the roast get nicely browned and the roast also cooks faster, and has a nice crust.  The potatoes i cook at my daughter's house (with a crappy oven from a crappy landlord - electric with a fan) dry out as they get brown.  Though the heat does rise from the bottom so you can put the pan on the floor and get a better result.  But when i make a cake there the top of the cake dries out.  Same in my microwave with only the oven function, which i used a couple of times in emergencies when my gas oven was broken, the cake came with a dry, overcooked top.  Bla. 

 

So what exactly is a convection oven?

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

All i know about it is that it's a type of oven lots of people have in europe.  It's electric and has a fan in the back.

 

(...)

 

So what exactly is a convection oven?

 

You just described it: an oven with a fan (usually in the back AFAIK). My convection gas oven has two fans, side to side, on the back wall. The heating element is on the oven floor and the heat is pulled by the fans and is then pushed back into the oven. You get less hot spots and a drier, more homogenous heat throughout the oven. 

 

Convection is good for some things, bad for others. I wouldn't turn it on when baking creme brulee, but if I'm roasting a chicken and I'm not getting the color I want or the color is not even, I'll turn on the fan for 10-20mn and it'll give me the results I want. 

 

I also have a stone on a shelf toward the bottom of my oven, so that when I bake pizza or bread it goes straight on the stone, and I keep the convection off. 

 

For roasting veggies for example the convection really helps, except that the pieces in front of the fans will get colored much quicker than the rest, so I have to keep turning the roasting pan or rearrange the pieces. 

 

In my experience convection is great when I need even dry heat on the outside of something.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks FrenchFries, I didn't realize this. I thought a convection oven was some new technology.   So why call it the fancy name of "convection" oven - why not just fan oven?  Isn't a convection stove some weird kind of stove with some strange electric thing under the glass?  Or am i completely confused?  Anyway, 

 

My experience with these ovens (and admittedly, the ones i've seen may just be the worst-of-the-line) is that they're like cooking with a hair drier.  Dries the food before it cooks it.  And none of the ones i've used have the option of shutting off the fan. 

 

I'll stick with fire and a direct source of heat.  Certainly cheaper than electric for one thing, but i would be willing to pay more to cook with gas.  Yeah, in all ovens the roast chicken is cooking primarily with hot air, but the hot air is not being blown on it, and the blowing is what seems to dry things out, like cakes, roast potatoes.  Also I LIKE that there is a particular source of heat that is coming from a particular place, because i can use that for extra browning.  I like the browning that the side of the potatoes lying on the pan gives, more than the browning on the top, and halfway through roasting potatoes, i turn them so all sides get nice brown from contact with the pan.  They don't just turn brown, they get some stickiness, caramelized or something.  And sometimes i'll turn the roast so the top parts get the benefit of contact heat.  (Of course, it goes without saying that i never put water in the roasting pan). 

 

And thinking about it, i hate house heating that is through hot air.  I prefer a radiator.  It glows, you can get closer to it, and it doesn't dry out the air as much

 

Maybe it's like preferring a stick shift to an automatic - the automatic is easier and faster, but you have less control. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

Thanks FrenchFries, I didn't realize this. I thought a convection oven was some new technology.   So why call it the fancy name of "convection" oven - why not just fan oven?  Isn't a convection stove some weird kind of stove with some strange electric thing under the glass?  Or am i completely confused?  Anyway, 

 

As far as I know it just means some means of circulating the hot air to create a flow. 

 

My experience with these ovens (and admittedly, the ones i've seen may just be the worst-of-the-line) is that they're like cooking with a hair drier.  Dries the food before it cooks it.  And none of the ones i've used have the option of shutting off the fan. 

 

I would never go for an oven that doesn't let you turn off the fan. My fan is very often off!

 

I like the browning that the side of the potatoes lying on the pan gives, more than the browning on the top, and halfway through roasting potatoes, i turn them so all sides get nice brown from contact with the pan.  They don't just turn brown, they get some stickiness, caramelized or something. 

 

I do the same thing: turn the vegetables so they get that golden brown from the contact with the pan! But with the convection on. 

 

And thinking about it, i hate house heating that is through hot air.  I prefer a radiator.  It glows, you can get closer to it, and it doesn't dry out the air as much

 

I completely agree. 

 

Maybe it's like preferring a stick shift to an automatic - the automatic is easier and faster, but you have less control. 

 

But if you can control the fan then you have a stick shift with an "automatic" button.  smile.gif

post #9 of 13

Sounds like you hate the ovens you've seen.  My mother in Greece has an electric fan oven like you describe and I don't like it.  I am used to gas stoves and ovens and it irritates me to no end to have to switch to an electric heat source, it's so dumb!  But I love my convection oven, especially since it's optional and not on most of the time.   Like I said, you have to learn how to cook with it, for example potatoes and vegetables - cover them and you won't have that problem.  And come over and use my oven for one of your roasts.  I'm willing to bet you'll like the result.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post

Maybe it's like preferring a stick shift to an automatic - the automatic is easier and faster, but you have less control. 

 

But if you can control the fan then you have a stick shift with an "automatic" button.  smile.gif

 

Well, i did drive a Smart car once when our regular car was in an accident and the insurance gave us a smart car to use.  It was awful.  It worked badly as an automatic and badly as a stick!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

Sounds like you hate the ovens you've seen.  My mother in Greece has an electric fan oven like you describe and I don't like it.  I am used to gas stoves and ovens and it irritates me to no end to have to switch to an electric heat source, it's so dumb!  But I love my convection oven, especially since it's optional and not on most of the time.   Like I said, you have to learn how to cook with it, for example potatoes and vegetables - cover them and you won't have that problem.  And come over and use my oven for one of your roasts.  I'm willing to bet you'll like the result.

cover the potatoes?  then they steam.  No, i would probably not use that function. But i've made quick roast potatoes in the microwave i have that has a convection option.  Not as good as in the gas oven but better than boiled. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #11 of 13

I've been considering getting a toaster oven to reheat a pizza slice, toast sandwiches and small stuff like that.  A number of them now come with a convection option, may get one to see how it does.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Reply
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Reply
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

Well, i did drive a Smart car once when our regular car was in an accident and the insurance gave us a smart car to use.  It was awful.  It worked badly as an automatic and badly as a stick!

cover the potatoes?  then they steam.  No, i would probably not use that function. But i've made quick roast potatoes in the microwave i have that has a convection option.  Not as good as in the gas oven but better than boiled. 

 

I'll defend my potatoes to the death.  They are not steamed.  Most recipes ask for potatoes to be parboiled before roasting in the oven and I don't like that because they taste like water.  Covering the potatoes in a convection oven causes them to roast in their own juices (I do not add water like many recipes do), meaning they are soft and flavorful on the inside.  But then I uncover them and they get a blast of dry heat which makes them crispy and golden on the outside.  That's making the best out of the convection function. 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

 

I'll defend my potatoes to the death.  They are not steamed.  Most recipes ask for potatoes to be parboiled before roasting in the oven and I don't like that because they taste like water.  Covering the potatoes in a convection oven causes them to roast in their own juices (I do not add water like many recipes do), meaning they are soft and flavorful on the inside.  But then I uncover them and they get a blast of dry heat which makes them crispy and golden on the outside.  That's making the best out of the convection function. 

 

OK, koukou, we'll definitely have to meet one day and have a cook off!  I'll withhold judgment.  But i still think that sticky coating you get from the bottom of the pan is unattainable with hot air from the top. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by teamfat View Post

I've been considering getting a toaster oven to reheat a pizza slice, toast sandwiches and small stuff like that.  A number of them now come with a convection option, may get one to see how it does.

 

mjb.

My brother had one, and i hated it - the toast would toast, yes, but it would also dry out  - awful unless you want zweibacks

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › fan ovens, is there any good reason?