Convection Bake vs Convection Roast: What to Know
Alright. So you got your brand new convection oven, saw its numerous settings and...
You got a bit lost.
No worries - I'm here to help you out by explaining the core differences between convection bake and convection roast. It might be an easier alternative to the whole reading-the-manual thing!
Before we get to the meat of my post, here's the gist of it:
- Baking is faster and allows for more even cooked surfaces, but it can be pretty loud.
- Roasting is a bit slower, but you get that crunchy top on the meat you want to prepare. Perfect for turkey, chicken...meat as a whole, actually.
Baking is also better for traditional recipes, where you want to play it "safer" with the texture and consistency of your food. Personally, I've used this amazing cookbook to play around while learning the ropes of my little oven sidekick.
Anyways, let's continue. I'll start with some noob-friendly introduction to convection ovens. Feel free to skip to the convection bake vs roast discussion if you're not a complete beginner! 🙂
What Is a Convection Oven?
Before going into the specifics, you need to understand precisely what a convection oven is.
After all, if you don't know how a convection oven differs from a conventional oven, the distinction between bake and roast will not make much sense.
Convection ovens like my favorite Cuisinart cooking sidekick, are almost identical to a conventional oven, with the exception of one key distinction.
They include fans and an exhaust system that allows the air to circulate throughout the oven. This hot air then cooks the food evenly.
Conventional ovens lack this fan system.
What Do These Fans Do?
The fans within convection ovens help circulate the air within. This provides a more even cooking experience.
The fans also blow the hot air directly on the food, which allows the food to cook faster.
As a result, convection ovens cook food faster at a lower temperature.
This makes convection ovens helpful for a variety of cooking needs, such as cooking meat or baking on a time crunch.
Benefits of Using Convection Ovens
Since the fans circulate the hot air and blow the air directly on the food, they create a more even cooking experience than conventional ovens. They also cook the food faster.
By cooking the food more quickly and doing so at lower temperatures, these ovens are also energy saving.
Most people find the fast-acting power of a convection oven highly useful, too, especially those who have hectic days but still prefer cooking at home.
On average, a convection oven will cook food 25% to 30% faster than a traditional oven. There are some cons which I have written about in another post, if you're interested.
Drawbacks of Using Convection Ovens
Although convection ovens are wildly beneficial, they come with some drawbacks, as well.
For starters, they are more expensive than traditional ovens due to their additional parts.
Convection ovens can also be louder than traditional ovens due to the fan.
The fan can even potentially interfere with food by blowing around the foil and preventing a good rise in baked goods.
The biggest drawback of a convection oven is that it will be more challenging to use recipes online.
Almost all recipes are made for a conventional oven, which performs at higher temperatures and longer times than a convection oven.
You will have to figure out how to adjust all of your recipes if they do not have a convection option.
When Should You NOT Use a Convection Oven?
Convection ovens are an excellent choice for a variety of cooking purposes, especially if you are a professional who knows how to make accurate changes in the recipes.
With that being said, there are times when you should choose not to use a convection oven.
Baked goods are a perfect example of when you might want to opt for a conventional oven, as opposed to a convection oven.
Convection ovens can impede the rising process of baked goods.
Baked goods often include butter, too. As the food bakes, the butter comes to the surface, allowing it to get crispy on the outside.
If the outside crisps up too quickly, the baked goods will not rise properly. This means that it won't be fluffy or satisfying to the taste.
Since convection ovens blow hot air on the outside of the food, baked goods have a high chance of crisping up too fast.
As a result, many baked goods will not taste as yummy if they're cooked in a convection oven.
A Word of Caution
With that being said, you can certainly cook baked goods inside a convection oven. You just need to know tips and tricks for adjusting your cooking for a convection oven.
Those with professional baking experience might find a convection oven helpful for baked goods since they work faster than conventional ovens.
Convection Bake vs Convection Roast: What’s the Difference?
Now that you understand how a convection oven differs from a conventional oven, we can discuss the differences between convection bake and roast.
Typically, roast and bake are done in an open pan, making them the same process for conventional ovens.
When using a convection oven, however, these two terms are not used interchangeably.
Instead, convection bake and convection roast are treated as two separate things.
Convection bake uses the convection element for heat and the fan to provide air circulation.
In other words, the heating element heats the air, and the fan blows the air around.
This allows for the convection bake setting to function as a convection oven.
- Allows baked goods to rise
- Faster than the roast setting
- Even cooking
- Does not caramelize food well
What Do You Use Convection Bake For?
Convection baking is best for bread, cakes, and cookies.
If you use the convection roast setting for these sorts of food, they often do not rise properly and simply don’t taste as good.
The butter within these recipes causes the final products to be flaky and fluffy.
However, the convection roasting setting will cause the outside to crisp before it has a chance to rise.
If you want to stick to traditional recipes without deviating much, you'll find a lot more usage for convection baking as a setting.
Convection roast will use the fan, as well, but it will also use the bake and broil elements of your oven to properly control the heat.
This is different from the convection bake in that it alternates between the two heating elements to roast your food.
This allows the oven to brown the top of the food during the convection roast setting.
You will want to use convection roast when you want a good browning on the top of the food you are cooking.
- Caramelizes efficiently
- Fast enough, but not as quick as the bake function
- Even cooking
- Was born to deliver deliciously crisp meat
- Baked goods do not rise properly
What Do You Use Convection Roast For?
Since the convection roasting setting alternates between the two heating elements, this is better for cooking large cuts of meat or poultry.
The reason for this is that the hot air allows the fat to render quickly, which creates a crispy outer skin. This then seals in the juice, keeping your meat tender.
The convection roast setting is also great for vegetables.
The hot air caramelizes sugars on the outside, allowing the center of the vegetables to stay soft. At the same time, the outer layer becomes crispy and crunchy.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is it better to convection bake or convection roast a turkey?
Turkey is prone to getting dry if not prepared properly.
This fact makes turkey an especially great meat choice to cook on the convection roast setting.
Convection roasting will allow the skin of the turkey to crisp quickly.
The fat renders, and juices are trapped within the turkey meat. This results in a juicier, more flavorful final product that is sure to please the whole crowd.
2. Is convection bake or roast better?
Neither setting is necessarily better than the other, but you will find one setting more beneficial than the other depending on what you're cooking.
If you are cooking meat or poultry, a convection roast will be your best option.
In contrast, you may opt for the convection bake setting for baked goods.
3. Do I have to use my regular oven for baked goods?
Many bakers view baked goods as a science. They require exact temperatures, quantities, and ingredients.
This fact can make it difficult to bake desserts in a convection oven if you are not experienced.
However, if you take the time to research convection oven recipes or alter a conventional oven recipe, then you can most certainly cook baked goods in a convection oven.
A convection oven might be a little bit more difficult and time-consuming, but it will create delicious foods, nonetheless.
To recap, a convection oven uses a heating element and fan to blow hot air on food.
You will have your choice between two convection settings: convection bake vs convection roast.
Convection bake uses one heating element and the fan system. In contrast, convection roast uses the fan system and alternates between the bake and broil settings on the oven.
You want to use the convection bake for baked good purposes and the convection roast for meat cooking purposes.
Now that you know the difference between these two settings, feel free to start experimenting with them to kick your cooking up a notch.
Just remember that if you look online for recipes, most recipes are made with the conventional oven in mind, not the convection oven.
You will need to adjust your recipes to suit this faster, more efficient oven.