Convection Bake vs Bake: What Are the Differences?

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Most ovens have convection bake vs bake settings, but it can be tough to tell between the two as an inexperienced cook. A lot of people suggest that convection bake allows you to achieve a more thorough cook than thermal baking, but both have their advantages. Knowing the differences between the two can make a lot of difference when working in the kitchen.

Convection Bake vs Bake

Let's take a deeper look at convection baking and thermal or traditional baking.

How Does Convection Baking Work?

When you enable the convection bake setting, you’ll immediately hear the fan in your oven starting up. You hear the fan because, with this setting, the heat is circulated at a fast rate inside the appliance. Once the oven reaches its desired temperature, the burners shut off while the fan will continue to circulate the hot air.

If the temperature dips below the setting you’ve chosen, the oven will heat itself again and continue to circulate the air as your food cooks. As convection continually pushes air around the oven, you might find that your meals cook more consistently. Instead of having to worry about uneven burners, the entirety of your meal will achieve the perfect texture.

How Does Regular Baking Work?

By not choosing the convection bake setting, you’ll be relying on regular baking, also known as thermal baking. With this feature, you’ll be enabling the heating elements in the stove to turn on until the inside temperature of the oven reaches the specified temperature. Once this occurs, the appliance will continually turn the elements on and off to maintain the correct temperature.

In most instances, regular baking does not rely on the fan placed at the back of your oven. Instead, it merely bakes your food using the radiating heat inside of the walls of the oven.

This way of heating can, at times, lead to uneven cooking. However, it likely depends on the cookware you’re using and where your meal sits in the oven.

What Are the Advantages of Convection Baking?

First, let’s discuss the benefits of using a convection bake setting, as this seems to be one of the most popular functions on a stove. Although it is a relatively new technology, it has helped home cooks achieve better quality meals in less time.

1. Thorough Cooking

Convection baking continually pushes hot air around your food for the allotted cook time, making sure the inside is as cooked as the outside. With thermal cooking, you might find the outside of your dish finishes while the inside is still raw.

This is why plenty of people prefer to use convection baking for meats, especially thicker cuts. Since the heat penetrates the surface layer of the food, it cooks all the layers at the same time.

convection bake vs bake

2. Maximizes Space

Another advantage of using convection is that you can add more items into your oven compared to if you were using thermal baking. You can cook more at the same time because the hot air produced by the appliance is pushed around with its fan. This cooking method ensures that it reaches everything you have in the oven.

With thermal baking, you’ll have individual dishes absorbing most of the heat from the elements. When you’re hosting a family event or meal prepping for the week, you’ll want to make sure you use convection. Convection gives an equal amount of heat to everything you’ve prepared.

3. Faster Cooking

A very noticeable feature of convection bake is that your meals will finish substantially quicker than if you relied on conventional baking methods. As the heat continually circulates in the oven, it adds more heat to your ingredients. The more heat they have, the faster they’re going to cook.

On average, a meal that might take up to an hour to cook on thermal bake settings can take 30 minutes or less on convection settings.

What Are the Advantages of Regular Baking?

If you don’t have an oven with convection baking, there’s no need to worry. Thermal ovens are still efficient enough to tackle a large meal. Although they aren’t as efficient and convenient as convection settings, they still have user-friendly features.

1. Less Expensive

When you look into the cost of a thermal oven vs. a convection oven, you’re going to find thermal ones that are substantially less expensive. A lower price is great for homeowners who want to replace their appliances at a lesser cost. Also, as they don’t have many features, such as fans in the rear, there is less maintenance.

2. Ease of Use

The vast majority of recipes you’ll find are written for thermal ovens. It’s important to remember that as convection ovens cook faster, you have to adjust temperatures and timing. If you’re searching for the easiest way to follow a recipe, it’s recommended you rely on the regular baking setting on your oven.

3. Better for Baking

There’s nothing quite like a cake cooked slowly and evenly so that it doesn’t dry out and maintains its fluffy texture. When it comes to preparing baked goods, you’re almost always going to want to rely on regular baking settings.

Convection bake, as convenient as it is, will almost always overcook your cakes and baked treats. Regular baking takes more time but allows you to maintain most of the moisture in your cookies and cakes, so they taste perfect every time.

Final Thoughts

When comparing convection bake vs bake, you’ll find convection takes less time and can be more convenient for meats and fish. Baking, on the other hand, is precisely what you need for sweet treats. Both settings are highly useful and recommended for different recipes.

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