Recipe Adjustments for a Convection Oven

Tips on How to  Make Adjustments to Your Recipes using a Convection or Fan Oven.

If you have been used to cooking with a conventional oven then you may find the change to a convection or fan oven a bit of a challenge.  In the last year I have moved home and the new kitchen has an  integrated convection oven.  To be honest I have found the change to a fan oven quite difficult . To begin with I either overcooked foods, on one occasion burning pork chops which set the fire alarms off!!!! Or I over compensated  by turning the oven right down and the recipe didn’t cook at all. For example I once made a pot of braised beef and placed the pot on a low heat and several hours later the inside of the pot was still cold.

I have finally by a process of adjustments, trial and error worked out the best temperatures for my favorite recipes. I though I would share the results with you and some general rules of thumb to make adjustments to use when changing to a fan oven. To be honest I nearly gave up, I hated that oven and sworn to replace the it, but in the end I persevered and I now love it.

The first thing I noticed was the fan oven seemed to be hotter at high temperatures but (oddly) cooler at lower temperatures. The oven being hotter than expected is entirely consistent with the advice of others that a fan oven will be around 30 degrees hotter than a normal oven, due to the fan that circulates the hot air around the oven .

I can’t quite explain why my oven runs extra cool when set at a lower temperature, it may just be my particular make and model of oven, but I did find out that convection ovens are not particularly good a cooking recipes in large pots like dutch ovens. The reason for this is the pots prevents the proper circulation of heat around the oven.

There really are three suggestions for adjustments to allow for the increase in temperature.

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  • The first is setting the oven at the same temperature but cooking the food for a shorter time.
  • Reduce the temperature by about 30 degrees, and cooking the recipe for the normal amount of time.
  • Combine cooking for a shorter time and lowering the temperature of the oven.

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My “new” oven does not have the option to turn off the fan, but your oven may have this option. If you can switch the fan off then switch it off. I recommend this if you are cooking recipes in large cooking pots (like a Dutch oven) or deep roasting dishes.

The recommendation is to switch the convection fan on when cooking foods on cookie sheets or shallow pans.

My top recommendation is to refer to your oven makers manual. And don’t be frightened to experiment with your favorite recipes until you are happy with the results.

Just one more tip I would keep a few notes on the temperatures and  cooking times in the early days so you can always refer back as you find the optimum cooking times and temperatures for you….

Further Reading and Resources

http://www.convection-calculator.com/

http://homecooking.about.com/od/appliancecookery/a/What-Is-Convection-Oven-Cooking-Tips.htm

http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/tools-and-techniques/how-to-cook-prime-rib-in-convection-oven.htm

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