We're almost finished remodeling our kitchen, and I just got my new convection oven. (I actually didn't know the oven I bought was also a convection.) I'm baking my first batch of cookies now.
Does anyone have any tips?
The manual says the oven automatically adjusts the temperature to your conventional recipe. At first, the cookies seemed to be cooking awfully quickly; then nothing. The cookies have been in there longer than in my conventional oven. I thought convection ovens were faster.
Should I rotate the cookie sheets from rack to rack like I did in my conventional oven? This oven holds three racks, and I placed them where the manual suggested for cookie baking.
Should I turn the cookie sheets around half-way through like I used to? Or does the convection fan eliminate the need for rotating?
So much to learn, but the manual wasn't much help.
I've been using this recipe for years, and I feel like I've never baked before.
I'd appreciate any advice or tips anyone could offer.
It will take some time to get used to it. I have noticed that mine does not bake any faster than a regular oven when it is "loaded" (it will bake faster if there is just ONE cookie sheet in there) I have one "hot spot" in mine too - the upper right hand corner - top rack. Keep an eye out for any places like that - you will be able to tell - a cake will be more done in that one spot than in any other. I DO rotate that area - but that is the only spot I worry about.
When baking cakes, I also put a small pan of water in the bottom of the oven - if I don't the cakes get a hard crust on the top of them.
That is all I can think of right now. I LOVE my oven now that I am used to it. I can load that baby up and have a wedding cake done lickety split!
I love mine too & I really don't know all the ins & outs of it yet. I have had it 2 years. I actually have to push a button for convention otherwise its just a normal oven. It cooks everything so nicely. I dont think it necessisarily cooks faster, it just cooks more evenly. I did notice my cake edges get a little hard sometimes. I am going to try the pan of water.
Thanks for those tips. I'll keep them in mind. I'm surprised to hear the convection doesn't bake faster when it's loaded up.
And I'm glad you told me about the crusty cakes before I tried to bake a cake in it. How much water do you put in the oven?
Do you find you have to lower the temperature? Even though the manual said it self-adjusts the temperature, I still think it was too hot. The top row of cookies seemed slightly overbaked; the middle had a few overdone cookies; and the bottom came out the best. I put all three trays in at the same time so I could compare the results. Think I found a hot spot, too.
As you both discovered, it will probably take me a long time to figure this out.
I'm still learning about baking with convection. If your oven has a 'convection bake' vs. just a convection key, it probably adjusts the temp down 25 degrees.
What I know: you will see improved times in roasts and long-cooked items. Sometimes 20% sooner. However, with baked goods, the calculations all go out the window. You should not have to rotate, for the most part. Take Loucinda's advice and put a small amount of water in a dish or pan. It helps with not drying out. I'm looking to try a whole oven full of cakes like Loucinda. Haven't had the guts yet.
Also, I find it great at the holidays when you are throwing in trays of hord'ouevres (sp?). Two or three in at a time. Awesome.
Loucinda - thanks for the water trick. We just got a 2 convection ovens and it took some time to get use to. All my recipes didn't cook well at all. Now I have lowered the temp (I'll check tomorrow to see what it is) and it works better. I have the vent shut and the fan on low. I don't like how the tops of cakes do get the dome on one side from the fan blowing (not on cupcakes though). Cookies are great I use a large scoop and bake them for 15 min only and then take them out and leave them on the bun pan. They will cook alittle more since that stays hotter longer. Cakes are different the more in the oven the different they cook. I did notice that the bottom rack cooks slower.
I just use a 1/4 size chaving dish for the water. (you can use anything oven proof that will hold water though) Just a cup or two of water will do the trick. Some of the real high end ovens now even have a resovoir for the water built in - but mine is not like that. The pan in the bottom works just fine.
There's another similar thread going on right now, too...
I baked blondies and a pound cake today in my new convection oven. They came out okay, but not great. I'm still working out the bugs.
I'm not sure I grasp the advantages of a convection oven. It takes just as long as my old regular oven; it requires a water container; and the cakes have crusts.
So, what are the advantages?
The advantages are that you conceivably fill every with cake and bake it fairly evenly. Huge time saver, even if you have to do some trimming. For one sheet of cookies or a rack of cakes, little or no difference.
You will see differences in savory goods and roasts. In cooking roasts, you can save almost 20% off the time. Also, hord'ouvres (sp) and anything that needs to be crispy are much better. Imagine three sheets of pigs-in-a-blanket and see the power of convection.
So, there are no real advantages for home baking? If not, maybe I'll just do the baking in the regular oven. And if I need to bake lots of things at once, I should use the convection?