I just bought new appliances and we did splurge and get a convection oven. Does anybody have any suggestions, do's or don'ts before I try this thing?
Don't put a roast in the oven with a lid on it. I did that and it vacuumed sealed or something. The lid came off when the roast was cold- not before. So, no lids wiith convection ovens.
Convection is for roasting. Not so good for baking, except for uniform browning at end of bake cycle.
If you do try for baking, be sure to drop temperature by at least 25F. It speeds up baking... mostly too much.
I use the convection setting on my oven for baking cookies, biscuits, pizza, or anything flat. I use it mostly for cookies because you can bake 3 racks at one time. Everything cooks a little faster in a convection oven. The recommendation is to lower the temperature 25 degrees; I don't lower the temperature but I live in Denver. It does not work very well for cakes, pies, or bread. Anything with a bottom crust, like a pie, will not brown.
Most important is the type of pan you use. Use metal shallow pans; do not use glass, covered pans, or anything deep. For recipes that need browning, use pans with low sides. Meat may splatter. Don't reduce the temperature for meats but remember it will cook faster. I like using it for seafood, both fresh or frozen. It is fast for heating up fish sticks or breaded planks. Works great for baked potatoes.
You don't have to preheat the oven. Don't open the door with the fan running. I turn it off to peek and then turn it back on.
Just my experience. I like it. I also have a convection toaster oven and I use the convection setting on it for everything.
I'm sorry, but I must completely disagree with the "no need to preheat" statement. First, many ovens use the broiler during the preheat stage and you will scorch what you are baking or roasting. Second, All recipes assume a preheated oven is used. Third, she posted this in the cake decorating section and that is the worst advice for a baked good. I preheat to the exact temp with two independent thermometers in my new ovens in my shop and my personal kitchen. Even new ovens can become uncalibrated in even one session. The wrong temp is no way to cook anything but fish sticks.
Some convection ovens are perfect for any kind of baking. These are the "true convection" ovens with no bottom element. The fan is also gentler. These ovens are usually the higher end models. Mine is a Kitchenaid. If the fan blows too hard, try adjusting the shelf position. If it is still too hard, you may not want to use the convection for baking. Lowering the temp and/or the bake time varies with each oven. It is best to get familiar with your oven, but the general guidelines already stated are a good start.
I do preheat on regular baking, just not when using the convection setting. It may just be my brand of oven which is a GE. The manual that came with my oven says you do not need to preheat on the convection setting. In some circumstances it is necessary to preheat the oven. You would need to see how your oven works for you. Read your manual. It should tell you. I would preheat if making a cake but I don't ever bake cakes on convection. Everything else I bake or roast, I do not preheat and I have never had a problem.
I probably am in the minority but it works for me and I love saving electricity.
I'd never recommend putting a cake into the oven before it reached the set temperature. During the preheat cycle, the RATE of heat transfer is much, much higher than during the portion of the cycle where the oven is adding heat only to maintain the temperature. When baking cakes, we want a low, even rate of heat transfer into the oven. In fact, that's why convection can be a problem during baking.... the convection increases the rate of heat transfer, even though the set point is the same. I won't go into a highly technical explanation of why this is so... the bottom line is that preheat cycle is not equal to regular baking is not equal to convection baking. They are three very different processes and will yield different results.
We are not on the same page. I DON'T bake cakes on convection setting and I DO preheat when not using convection.