With convection settings becoming more popular on conventional ovens and microwave ovens, new and different cooking settings have come to focus. A big part of this is the use of convection and its different settings on modern convection ovens.
For many of us, these settings can be difficult to decipher. So, let’s take a closer look at popular options and compare convection bake vs convection roast to get a better understanding.
Let’s get started.
Convection Bake vs Convection Roast – Differences And Details
Differences Between Convection Bake vs Convection Roast
Now that we have the basics locked down, we can better understand the difference between convection bake and convection roast. Convection bake uses only the baking heating element to produce the heat necessary for cooking.
This allows the heat to be better managed for baking and avoids faster browning of the baked food. Premature browning can prevent the baked food from rising adequately, which is usually the result if you try using convection roast mode for baking.
Roasting generally happens at a higher temperature than baking. In this case, the broiling as well as the baking heating elements are employed and the fan quickly circulates the air. Since two elements are employed, the microwave oven does a lot of work to manage the temperature and to avoid temperature fluctuations.
It’s great for browning and roasting food products. However, it won’t perform as well for baking. In the same vein, convection bake is great for baking, though it lacks performance for roasting.
The Basics Of A Convection Oven
A convection oven is pretty similar to a regular oven, with a key change that makes it into an entirely different product. That key element is the presence of fans and an exhaust system. These fans continuously move hot air inside the oven and use it to cook the food evenly.
This prevents the formation of hot pockets, which can be a pain with the regular oven. Targeted hot air towards the food cooks it faster, at lower temperatures, and more efficiently. Simply put, convection ovens can cook faster and at a lower temperature when compared to regular ovens.
For many recipes, convection can be 25% faster and much more energy efficient as compared to regular ovens.
There are some drawbacks to a convection oven. These appliances tend to be noisier, more complex, and may need more maintenance as compared to regular ovens. By and large, this is due to the presence of additional components like fans and exhaust.
Here’s a small related tidbit. Air fryers are technically small convection ovens. Their small size works well with focused movements of hot air, which is why they can closely mimic frying. However, the larger convection oven can’t really manage the same jets of hot air in a targeted sense, so it’s unfit to work as a fryer.
Convection cooking also requires adjustments to conventional recipes, which are generally made for regular ovens. There might also be changes to the texture or crispiness of a dish, or to how well a baked recipe can rise. Suitable adjustments are necessary to account for these changes and they’re usually handled with the convection bake and convection roast settings.
Convection Heating Elements And How They Work In America vs Europe
Before we move on to convection baking vs convection roasts, there’s another aspect of convection ovens to consider. This is the placement of heating elements and working of the fans.
Almost all convection ovens in America have two heating elements. Of these, one is located at the top and the other is at the bottom. The baking heating element is at the bottom, while the one for broiling is at the top.
A fan then moves the hot air created by these heating elements to enable cooking. Usually, this fan is placed at the back, but it can be in other locations depending on the design.
European convection ovens follow a slightly different tone and include a third heating element at the back of the oven. If the fan is also placed at the back, the heating element is often behind it. The presence of an additional heating element provides a more stable temperature for the oven.
Now that we know the working of the convection oven, we can draw clear distinctions of the cooking modes.
What Is Convection Roast?
Convection roast as a setting or feature isn’t available on all convection ovens. The prominent option is convection bake and it can usually handle the roast requirements as well. However, some ovens make an adjustment for a separate convection roast setting, so there are a few changes to the general process.
When in convection roast mode, the oven often alternates heating between the top and bottom heating elements. The top element gets a longer time, thus helping the food to brown nicely. Meanwhile, the fans dutifully circulate the air, providing an even roast for the food.
A convection roast is often recommended for tender cuts of meat. For example, you could roast a turkey or other poultry, beef, lamb, and pork.
Due to the combined effect of heating from the elements and the fast movement of air, the fat renders quickly. This results in a crispy outer layer that seals in the juices quite well. The crispy and evenly browned meat is an excellent treat. It’s a lot faster than conventional roasting and delivers excellent results.
It’s also possible to roast vegetables the same way. The heat caramelizes the veggies rather well and helps create a crispy exterior with a soft and moist interior.
What Is Convection Bake?
Convection bake is the more commonly used option for most convection ovens. For most convection ovens, the convection setting simply refers to convection baking. In this setup, the air gets uniform heat from the heating elements and gets moved around by the fan.
Generally, convection heating will rely on the baking heating element to produce heat, while the broiling heating element remains off. With the heat thus managed, the baking process follows smoothly and the baked goods can expect a good rise. That’s why this method is useful for baking.
With the broiler heating element in action, the primary effect is browning, which will stifle the rise of several baked goods. Since it doesn’t see action during convection bake, the food can rise and be baked quite naturally.
Baking usually happens at a lower temperature than roasting. The use of the broiler heating element can brown the food too quickly, which is why its use is best avoided for baking.
How Long To Convection Roast A Turkey?
If you’re preparing a whole bird for roasting, the time it takes to cook will depend on the size and weight of the turkey. When you start, remember to preheat the convection oven and keep the temperature at 350°F and, where possible, choose the convection roast setting.
Next, you can set the time depending on the weight of the turkey. If it weighs between 12 to 15 pounds, you’ll have to cook it for 1.5 to 2 hours. If the turkey weighs from 15 to 20 pounds, the convection roast can take anywhere between two to two and a half hours. Finally, for a turkey that’s up to 25 pounds, you can expect a cooking time of three hours.
When To Use Convection Bake?
Use the convection bake setting of the oven when you’re cooking baked goods that need a rise. It’s pretty useful for making cakes, bread, pies, and similar food items. Don’t use it for foods that need caramelizing or roasting.
When To Use Convection Roast?
Convection roast is the setting to choose when you want to caramelize food or roast some food items. It often has a higher temperature than convection bake and utilizes two heating elements. This option is great for browning food and giving it a crispy and crunchy exterior. It doesn’t quite work well with baked goods or foods that need to rise. The reason is that it browns or heats the surface of the food pretty quickly, thus hindering the rise.
It’s only a small difference that separates convection bake vs convection roast. In many cases, this might simply be the recommended temperature for roasting vs baking. In most convection ovens, the convection roast utilizes two heating elements, while the convection bake works off a single heating element. Either way, convection baking is a fast and convenient way to cook food evenly.