Convection Oven Buying Tips and FAQ
Convection ovens are relatively new in the residential oven market. For years, they have been used in commercial bakeries and pizzerias. The reason these bakeries used them is because the added airflow browned their breads faster and more evenly. Pizzerias used them to cook the top and the bottom of the pizzas at the same time and much quicker than normal (hence the 30 minutes or less!). Since these ovens were so effective, the same theory of convection ovens was brought into the home. Not all convection ovens are made alike, though. “True,” “European,” “Pure,” and “Fan-Assisted” are just a few of the phrases thrown into the mix to confuse consumers about ovens. After extensive research of convection ovens, the following are a few very important tips to distinguish one from another:
First, to get the most even airflow, the element must be in the rear of the oven. A rear element is often covered by a “baffle,” or the back wall of the oven cell. It is called a baffle because it channels the air strategically to reach each rack position evenly. To bakers, this means no more shuffling cookies from one rack to another, or turning them around halfway through the baking cycle. It simplifies the baking process, which is what convection ovens were meant to do.
Second, the rear element needs a fan to circulate the air. Suggested is the one that uses reverse air flow. This means that the fan is pulling the air in, not blowing the air out. This design is brilliant in a couple of respects. It draws the cool air in, passes it by the element that surrounds the fan, and then pushes the air out through holes in the baffle wall. A fan blowing out would be hotter in one spot than another. Its harsh air would blow directly onto the rack, creating uneven baking. But since the air is pulled in by the fan, then gently pushed out through the holes, it will create a gentler environment for your delicate baked goods.
Finally, a filter placed in front of the fan would cause the oven to run a lot cleaner. Since the air is drawn in, grease and particles from roasts and chickens would catch in the filter, instead of hitting the fan and splattering all over the oven cell. A triple mesh stainless filter is most important especially if you cook more than one item in the oven at a time. Since this filter will catch the particles that transfer from one to another, you can bake them simultaneously. No flavors transfer.
When selecting a convection oven, think baffle, element, fan and filter for successful convection cooking. Here’s a list of the most commonly asked questions:
- A word about carry-over cooking.
After meat is pulled out of the oven, it will continue to cook. Carry-over cooking affects all foods, the larger the food, the longer the carry-over. It is best to let the meat rest after it comes out of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. This will allow the meat to retain its juices and continue to set, making it easier to carve and cook to a safe serving temperature.
- Are there different types of convection?
Not all convection ovens are made alike. “True,” “European,” “Pure,” and “Fan-Assisted” are just a few of the phrases thrown into the mix to confuse consumers about their ovens. “True” or “European” convection refers to the third element in the back of the oven cell, similar to Dacor’s Pure Convection™ mode. This is the most crucial part to achieve even baking in a convection oven. “Fan-Assisted” convection refers to using the bottom element along with the fan in the back to distribute the heat. This would be Dacor’s Convection Bake™ mode.
- Can I cook in glass bakeware in a convection oven?
Yes, you can use glass cookware in the oven. The temperature should not be lowered more than 25°F . If you are using really thick earthenware casserole dishes, clay or ceramic deep pots, Convection Bake™ or Standard Bake™ will be better cooking modes. The dish needs the bottom heat in order to cook the food correctly.
- Can I use a baking stone or pizza stone in a convection oven?
Yes, with great success. These stones need to get really hot in order to get a crispy, brown sear on the bottom of pizzas and breads, so I recommend leaving them in during preheat. I also recommend using Convection Bake™ or Standard Bake™, and use rack position 1, counting up from the bottom, to place the stone. This will get it as close to the element as possible, and allow it to reach an acceptable temperature.
- Can I use AirBake pans?
AirBake pans are designed with a pocket of air sandwiched between two aluminum sheets. The reason for this design is to buffer the heat coming up from the bottom of the oven cell. Remember that, in Pure Convection™, your heat source is from the back of the oven, not the bottom. There is no need to buffer the heat from the bottom. Can these pans still be used during Pure Convection™? Absolutely! In fact, they will also work well in Convection Bake™ and Standard Bake™.
- Do foods cook faster in a convection oven?
Most roasted items will cook 30% faster than in conventional ovens. So, in a convection oven, meats get a better sear, cook faster, and stay moister and juicier.
Baked items do not lose much time at all, simply because they have shorter times altogether. Since the temperature is lowered in convection cooking, baked items need the full amount of time to cook correctly.
- Do I have to lower the temperature and time when using convection?
In most cases, yes. During convection cooking, there is added heat movement inside of the oven. This will cause food to sear faster. Lowering the temperature will help the browning process to even out, so that the food continues to cook through at the same pace.
- Do I have to use the provided broiler pans?
Dacor highly recommends the broiler pans for broiling meats. The broiler pan is designed to allow fat to drain down belo, eliminating flare-ups and excessive smoking.
If you are broiling foods that are low in fat content, a heavy-duty sheet pan will work fine. Thinner sheet pans may buckle under intense heat, which may cause uneven broiling.
- Do I need special pots and pans for a convection oven?
No, you do not need special cookware. Some cookware, however, will work better than others in a convection oven. Light-colored or bright aluminum would be the best bakeware. Anodized finishes on bakeware can cause foods to brown too quickly. Nonstick finishes over aluminum bakeware will work fine.
Earthenware, ceramic dishes, and some glass dishes are not efficient at conducting heat, so they require the use of the bottom element. Convection Bake™ would be a great mode for this type of cookware. Cast iron pans can also be used with this mode since they also need bottom heat. As far as roasting, there is one special item you will need - a V-shaped roasting rack that fits inside a roasting pan. There are large ones for turkeys and roasts, and smaller, adjustable ones for chickens and smaller cuts of meat. It is very important to lift the roast off of the bottom of the pan so that the convection air circulates all the way around it. This will not only give you a better sear, it will enable the top to cook at the same rate as the bottom. If you do not have a roasting rack, make a rack out of large-diced carrots, celery, and onions. You will need enough to cover 2" on the bottom of a 3" pan. Not only will this raise the roast up, it will add flavor.
- Do I need to baste my roasts when using convection?
No, roasts and turkeys do not need to be basted. During roasting, the convection fan will quickly sear the meat, locking in all the valuable juices. However, if you are using a marinade that is high in sugar, don’t baste with the marinade until the last hour of the cooking process. This will allow the roast to get a beautiful sear without the sugary marinade burning onto it. Convection air will sear faster, even when it is a sugary marinade.
- Do I need to lower the temperature during convection cooking?
In most cases, the temperature can be lowered by 25°F. Since there is added heat movement inside the oven cell, the foods will sear faster. By lowering the temperature, foods are able to cook at the same rate.
- Do I need to pan sear smaller cuts of meat before transferring them?
Many recipes from cooking school required us to pan sear, then transfer to an oven to finish it to doneness. Finish your meat in this same manner because it will cook for a relatively short period of time, and without the pan sear, the meatmay not get the beautiful caramelization you are looking for.
- Do I need to preheat my convection oven?
Yes, all Dacor® Ovens need to be preheated, regardless of whether you are using a convection mode or not. In some modes, more than one element is used during preheat, which can cause the food to burn. The oven will tone when it has finished a preheat cycle, and the small "On" icon on the control panel will disappear. Always start with a hot oven or a hot pan. This gives you better control of your heat.
- How do breads turn out in a convection oven?
Breads turn out wonderful in a convection oven, browning and rising nice and even. Pure Convection™ and Convection Bake™ are best suited for multi-rack cooking with rack positions 2 and 4 giving you best results.
- How do the Dacor® timers work?
- Timers can go up to 11 hours, 50 minutes.
- To set a timer, press "Timer 1" or "Timer 2"and the up arrow to reach the desired time. Holding your finger on the up arrow will make it scroll faster.
- "Timer 1" has a series of short beeps that will sound for 2 minutes before automatically shutting off. "Timer 2" has a long, then short beep sequence that will also sound for 2 minutes.
- Press "Timer 1" or Timer 2" button once to turn the timer off after it has sounded. Pressing "Cancel/Secure" will cancel the timer along with the oven cooking function.
- To cancel the timer while it is in progress, press the "Timer 1" or "Timer 2" button twice.
- These timers are basically egg timers and can be used for any application in your kitchen. The oven does not need to be on in order to use the timers.
- How do you clean the filter?
The filter is dishwasher safe. Or use hot soapy water. A degreaser can be used on heavily soiled filters.
- How do you defrost in a convection oven?
To defrost foods in a convection oven, set the oven on Pure Convection™ at 135°F. Place the food on a rack inside a roasting pan to pick up any juices. Place the food in the oven on rack position 3, counting up from the bottom. Periodically check the food for its progress.
Keep in mind that a turkey, or anything that takes an exceptional amount of time to defrost would not defrost well in a convection oven. Anything that would normally take over 2 hours to defrost will not work because it is left in the temperature danger zone (between 40-140°F) too long.
- How does the probe work?
- The probe is made of high-temperature plastic and a stainless steel stem.
- The stem measures 4 3/4".
- The oven goes through preheat without the probe inserted, then once the preheat has toned, hit "Probe," then the up arrow to set the desired probe temperature.
- The temperature range that the probe will read is from 100 to 200°F.
- When setting the probe temperature, it will automatically default to 160°F. Use the up or down arrows to set the desired temperature.
- The probe plugs in the left side of the oven cavity.
- After the probe has been inserted into the food, the temperature will default to 100°F (even if the food has not reached that temperature yet), and the temperature will climb up in 1°F increments until it reaches the set temperature.
- A tone will sound when the set temperature is reached.
- The oven will shut off after the food has reached the desired temperature and will hold it at 150°F. The residual heat of the oven, however, will cause the temperature in the food to continue to climb. If you are not present to remove the food, it can easily overcook.
- The probe does not withstand self-cleaning temperatures and should not be left in the oven.
- Display will flash and beep "PRB" if probe is not inserted properly after setting the probe temperature.
- Correct places to place the probe stem:
- Do not place the probe near the bone or in the fat of the meat. It should be placed in the meatiest part.
- It is best to put it in dark meat as piercing white can cause the meat to dry out.
- Do not remove the probe and reinsert it. This will also cause the meat to dry out.
- How does Time Delay Bake™ work?
Please refer to your product Use & Care Manual.
- How long does it take for the oven to preheat?
Pre-heat times will vary depending on the Dacor oven or range model. Dacor recommends 15 minutes beyond tone for best results.
- How powerful is the fan during convection? Will I get foods blowing around in the oven cell?
Remember that the fan is pulling air in from the cell, not blowing it into the cell. The fan may pick up some grease particles, but the filter that is in front of the fan will trap them.
- If I am at a high altitude, what do I need to know about convection?
If you are at an altitude of over 3,000 feet, baking temperatures are normally increased by 25°F. In convection cooking, recipes are normally decreased 25°F. If you are at a high altitude with a convection oven, no adjustments need to be made to your recipes.
- Is there a difference between gas convection ovens and electric?
Yes. Gas convection ovens do not have a rear element, due to the nature of combustion. These gas ovens use a bottom flame that is located underneath the floor of the oven cell. The convection fan in the back circulates the heat coming up from the bottom. Therefore, air space of at least 1" on all sides must be left around the baking sheets or roasting pans.
Electric convection ovens use a rear element located on the back wall of the oven, which reaches each rack more evenly. Little to no air space is required around the baking sheet.
- My baked goods don’t seem as even as when I first got this oven. What is wrong with it?
If you do a lot of roasting in addition to heavy baking and broiling, it may be that the convection filter in the back of the oven needs to be cleaned. Since the fan draws air through the filter, grease particles will stick to it, and this can obstruct the airflow. Follow the instructions above to clean it.
- What are the best pots and pans for my Dacor® Oven?
Any flat-bottom pot or pan will work on a Dacor® Oven or Range. As far as roasting, raising the roast up on an oven roasting rack inside of a roasting pan will allow the convection air to circulate all the way around, giving it a better sear. A deeper pan will prohibit the convection air to fully circulate around it and prolong the roast's cooking time (stated in the Use & Care or Cooking Guide). On the glass ETT and CER cooktops, glass cookware, such as Visions, and cast iron cookware are not the best conductors. Some recommended brand names include All-Clad, Calphalon, Kitchenaid, Chantal, Circulon, Ananlon, and Cuisinart.
- What are the minimum safe internal temperatures for various foods?
Pork, ham, sausage, and bacon in a microwave 180°F
All foods previously served and cooled, then reheated 165°F within two hours
All poultry and game birds 165°F
Stuffed meats 165°F
Ground beef and ground pork 165°F
Pork, ham, and bacon in another heating element 155°F
Fish and most other potentially hazardous foods not listed here 145°F Beef roasts (rare) 145°F Beef steaks (rare) 145°F
- What foods cook best on Convection Broil™?
Convection Broil™ mode is available on RSD30 ranges, RSE30 ranges, and the lower oven of a double convection wall oven (ECD30, PCD30, MCD230, ECD227, PCD227, MCD227). Seafood cooks wonderfully on Convection Broil™. It gets a nice sear and cooks through. Since it usually requires shorter cooking time than thicker foods, such as steak, Convection Broil™ will cook fish without having to flip it, which means it will not flake apart. Vegetables cut small will also cook well on Convection Broil™. Garlic bread is great on Convection Broil™; it allows the butter to soak in the bread without burning too quickly.
- What foods cook best on Standard Broil™?
Really thick foods, like steak, bone-in chicken or salmon fillet cook best on Standard Broil™. Without the aid of the convection fan, these thicker foods cook more thoroughly, without searing rare.
- What is the advantage to roasting meats in convection?
If properly raised on a roasting rack, convection quickly sears the roast, locking in valuable juices, then continues to cook the roast. In some traditional recipes, it calls for searing the roast on a cooktop then transferring it to the oven. In Pure Convection™, you don’t need to do that because the convection air will sear the roast during this process.
- What’s the difference between Pure Convection™ and Convection Bake™?
Pure Convection™ uses the element that is behind the convection fan, whereas Convection Bake™ uses the element that is on the bottom of the oven and the fan.
Pure Convection is going to give you better heat distribution since it radiates from the rear of the oven cavity to the front. Heat is distributed to each rack position evenly. Pure Convection is best suited for roasting, meats, baked goods and multi-rack cooking.
Convection Bake will cook foods closest to the element first. This mode is best suited for foods that need to be browned or crisped on the bottom, like a pizza or a loaf bread.
In either case, make sure to lower the temperature by 25°F.
- How do I change from Celsius to Fahrenheit or from Fahrenheit to Celsius on my Classic Wall Oven or Range, or my Preference Range?
Choose the Convection Bake Mode on your controller and select a temperature higher than either 500oF or 260oC. Press and hold Convection Bake for 3-4 seconds and "F" or "C" will appear in red in the display. Using your up/down keys, toggle from "F" to "C", or "C" to "F" depending on your choice. If you are not using your product, turn it off by pressing Cancel/Secure.