Hot air circulating through your oven cooks food more evenly, at lower temperatures, and often with better and faster results, and uses less energy, plus you have enhanced cooking outcomes in terms of more food to eat.
What is a Convection Oven?
The fundamental difference between the working of a convection oven and the other (thermal) ovens is that the former makes use of circulated heated airflow to cook food. The layer of air that acts as insulation around the food in commonly used ovens is stripped away in the convection ovens. It creates a 'wind chill' effect and warms the food quickly. The human body loses heat to the surroundings by means of the process called convection. The heat is lost quickly if the wind speed is greater. The convection oven uses the same principle in cooking food. If a warm flow of air is circulated throughout the oven, it helps in cooking the food quickly. This is because the layer of insulation that develops around the food in traditional ovens is removed in this oven. The structure of a convection oven could be roughly described as that of having a heating source, 2 - 3 racks, and the provision for air to flow.
You can cook just about anything in a convection oven, and while learning to use one certainly isn't a big deal, the results you get—evenly cooked cookies, crisp pastry, and juicy, well-browned meats are. Meats cooked in a “true European” (i.e. one with an electric coil around the fan) convection oven retain more moisture, and have far less shrinkage.
To get comfortable with a convection oven, you just have to start using it. The easiest way to do this is to experiment with your favorite recipes by cooking them at a slightly lower temperature (usually 25 degrees less) and for a slightly shorter time than you normally would. My advice is to purchase a model that has an electronic converter guide feature, whereby regular oven times/temperatures are converted over to convection oven times and temperatures.
Baking cookies on racks (usually three racks) in any standard thermal oven; often leaves one rack of cookies more cooked, than the other racks (uneven baking). Bottom racks of cookies are usually overdone, versus the upper two racks. With a convection oven, all three racks of cookies would come out evenly baked. Convection ovens provide more consistent cooking outcomes.
The upcharge for a convection oven, versus a regular thermal oven, is usually about 15% to as much as 25% more. However, when you consider the average lifetime of the range, and the energy saved, convection is in my opinion the only way to go!
In addition to a normal baking element on the bottom and a broiling element on the top, a convection oven has a fan surrounded by a baffle in the rear. A “true European” convection oven is the most desirable type to purchase, as this style sterilizes the air, and adds more heat to the oven, allowing for the fastest cooking of all. More even browning occurs in a convection oven. You can even cook dissimilar foods in a “true European” convection oven, without transfer of taste or aroma between foods.
Robert W. Nathan