Difference Between Fan and Conventional Ovens
What is a Fan Oven?
A fan oven is also known as a convection oven. It has an interior fan that circulates hot air and an exhaust that helps to blow the hot air. This helps to blow the hot air over and around the food. As a result, the food will cook quicker and more evenly.
Advantages of Fan Oven
The fan inside a convection oven plays an important role in achieving great cooking results. The fan allows the hot air to circulate, surround the food and ensure that all areas of the oven are heated to the same temperature. This is what creates an even cooking result.
Shorter Cooking Times
The fan creates a stable and consistent temperature throughout the oven and is more efficient. As a result, the food being cooked will need shorter cooking times and can be cooked at a lower temperature. Fan ovens are also good at providing an even browning of baking goods
Cook Multiple Dishes
If you follow a recipe, sometimes it will say to place the baking tray on the ‘centre rack’ of the oven. This is because in a traditional oven, there are different shelving slots depending on the cooking result you want. However in fan ovens, due to the stable and consistent temperature that they create, it means that you can place food anywhere in the oven without the risk of burning or undercooking. This is great if you are wanting to cook more than one dish at once. In conventional ovens, if you put more than one dish in the oven at the same time, it will cook one faster than the other. Whereas a convection (fan) oven will continue to cook them all at the correct temperature.
The nature of convection ovens allows thicker cuts of meat to retain a lot of their internal moisture. The hot air that constantly flows over the food draws off any excess moisture on its surface creating an external crust. This is often what people want to achieve when roasting foods. Other foods such as breads and pies also benefit from this way of cooking as it browns the outer layers of the food but the internal layers retains its moisture or lightness.
Disadvantages of Fan Ovens
Most recipes are based on the assumption that a traditional oven is being used. It is important to assume the temperature and time requirements in the recipe are for traditional ovens unless it specifically says it is for a convection oven. If you don’t make these adjustments, it can be easy for you to end up with overcooked or burnt food. This is especially the case when baking.
Baking Can Be Difficult
If you enjoy baking cakes or bread, then convection ovens can be very difficult to use. These ovens don’t provide you with the same rising effect that you would get with a traditional oven. If you enjoy baking, it is always a good idea to use an appliance that allows you to turn off the fan that circulates the air.
More Likely To Break Down
Convection ovens have a lot more working parts compared to a conventional oven. They have a fan and a heating element that both operate when the appliance is on. This means that there are more parts of your oven that may need replacing at some point. We are not saying that your oven won’t last several years without experiencing an issue, but there are obviously more elements that could go wrong.
Baking Trays and Pans
If you decide to change from a traditional oven to a convection oven, you will probably need to review your baking trays and pans. The majority of convection oven manufacturers recommend using rimless baking trays and low sided pans. This is to allow the air that is circulating to have the highest amount of influence on your food. There needs to be two inches of space between each item and the side of the oven at all times to allow the correct level of air movement. If you don’t have pans and dishes that allow for this, then you will need to buy them. Of course, the prices of these pans and dishes isn’t outrageous, but it is a bit of an inconvenience.
What is a Conventional Oven?Conventional ovens have been a staple in most modern kitchens since the 1950s. They have a stable fixed source of heat which is either a burner element or a gas flame inside the oven. This allows them to operate a bottom-up heat transfer as the heat rises and cooks the food from underneath. In this type of oven, the dish that is closest to the heating element may cook faster. Conventional ovens are what you are most likely to be familiar with and most recipes are written for them.
Advantages of Conventional Ovens
Easy to Use
Using a conventional oven couldn’t get any easier, even the recipes are designed for conventional ovens. There isn’t much room for error as long as you follow the recipe! If the recipe says to cook your food at 280°F for 30 minutes, you should have a well cooked dish in that time. The suggested cooking times are usually pretty reliable. Just like that old saying, if you can read, you can cook!
This is the most common type of oven in modern homes and has been around for over 50 years. Most people are very familiar with this type of ovens cooking times, functionality and temperature settings. Therefore, it has a greater ease of use.
While both ovens can be used for cooking anything, conventional ovens do lead the way when it comes to baking. This is because the heat that is generated in a fan/convection oven can cause the baked goods to rise and cook too quickly. It is also much simpler to bake in conventional ovens as you can just follow the recipe timings and temperature!
Other advantages also include the amount of space, which is also very useful when you want to store meals and keep them warm. Conventional ovens also tend to cost less than convection models.
Disadvantages of Conventional Ovens
You can get hot and cold spots in these types of ovens as the air isn’t being circulated. This type of oven has one main heat source at the bottom of the oven and the oven is heated through radiant heating. This can result in some foods being cooked unevenly which can sometimes make the process of cooking difficult.
One at a time!
On most occasions, you can only really bake or roast one item at a time. This obviously can be annoying and an inconvenience if you are wanting to cook multiple dishes. If you put some dishes too close to the heating elements, they may burn. Cooking multiple dishes in a conventional oven can also increase the cooking time as more items means the temperature will decrease.
More hands on time
Due to the oven cooking items unevenly, this can mean that your meal will require more hands-on time. You may need to turn your items or rotate cooking sheets to ensure that they are baked perfectly. However, this can again lengthen the cooking time as opening and closing your oven will allow heat to escape. It won’t be a ‘chuck it in the oven and forget about it’ process.