Convection oven or Conventional?

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I am currently living in Houston Texas, an I bake from home and have only used a conventional oven till now. As I am remodeling and expanding my kitchen, I am considering a double wall convection oven.
For baking mainly cakes, all sizes, all flavors, would you recommend this from a professional's point of view?
 
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I am currently living in Houston Texas, an I bake from home and have only used a conventional oven till now. As I am remodeling and expanding my kitchen, I am considering a double wall convection oven.
For baking mainly cakes, all sizes, all flavors, would you recommend this from a professional's point of view?

If you buy a convection oven, I would recommend you purchase one that allows you to turn the convection feature off. I had a Viking conventional/convection oven for about 6 years. Convection is not what it’s cracked up to be. It’s fine if you’re roasting root vegetables or meat. But I find convection too intense for most bake goods.

With a home convection oven you have to reduce the baking temperature by about 25° for most bake goods, especially cake. If you’re bakeware is dark, anodized, or otherwise costed, as a lot of bake is these days, you may need to reduce your temperature even lower.

So you waste a lot of ingredients trying to find the appropriate temperature to bake at on convection. Once you make the adjustments to the convection you really don’t save any time in the baking. In the end I don’t think the extra two thousand dollars I spent on the Viking was worth it.

My brother has a Dacor conventional/convection oven. I was just at his house last week where I baked both bread and cookies. The issues I experienced with my Viking were the same with his Dacor. The convection was just too intense. I ended up using the conventional setting.


I think convection works best in a commercial setting.

A conventional oven usually heats from an element on the oven floor. So heat radiates from a single point upward. With a convection oven the fan circulate heat all around. In commercial baking you will have 5 or more pans baking together. So the circulation of heat ensures product in all the pans bake evenly and at the same rate. But if you only have two cake pans in the oven or one sheet of cookies convection creates too much heat.

I’ve used a commercial single deck convection for delicate goods like macarons with no issue. But there was at least 5 full sheets baking together.

I know several professional pastry chefs. Most of them do not like the convection feature for cake. It’s just too hot.
 
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If you buy a convection oven, I would recommend you purchase one that allows you to turn the convection feature off. I had a Viking conventional/convection oven for about 6 years. Convection is not what it’s cracked up to be. It’s fine if you’re roasting root vegetables or meat. But I find convection too intense for most bake goods.

With a home convection oven you have to reduce the baking temperature by about 25° for most bake goods, especially cake. If you’re bakeware is dark, anodized, or otherwise costed, as a lot of bake is these days, you may need to reduce your temperature even lower.

So you waste a lot of ingredients trying to find the appropriate temperature to bake at on convection. Once you make the adjustments to the convection you really don’t save any time in the baking. In the end I don’t think the extra two thousand dollars I spent on the Viking was worth it.

My brother has a Dacor conventional/convection oven. I was just at his house last week where I baked both bread and cookies. The issues I experienced with my Viking were the same with his Dacor. The convection was just too intense. I ended up using the conventional setting.


I think convection works best in a commercial setting.

A conventional oven usually heats from an element on the oven floor. So heat radiates from a single point upward. With a convection oven the fan circulate heat all around. In commercial baking you will have 5 or more pans baking together. So the circulation of heat ensures product in all the pans bake evenly and at the same rate. But if you only have two cake pans in the oven or one sheet of cookies convection creates too much heat.

I’ve used a commercial single deck convection for delicate goods like macarons with no issue. But there was at least 5 full sheets baking together.

I know several professional pastry chefs. Most of them do not like the convection feature for cake. It’s just too hot.
Thank g
If you buy a convection oven, I would recommend you purchase one that allows you to turn the convection feature off. I had a Viking conventional/convection oven for about 6 years. Convection is not what it’s cracked up to be. It’s fine if you’re roasting root vegetables or meat. But I find convection too intense for most bake goods.

With a home convection oven you have to reduce the baking temperature by about 25° for most bake goods, especially cake. If you’re bakeware is dark, anodized, or otherwise costed, as a lot of bake is these days, you may need to reduce your temperature even lower.

So you waste a lot of ingredients trying to find the appropriate temperature to bake at on convection. Once you make the adjustments to the convection you really don’t save any time in the baking. In the end I don’t think the extra two thousand dollars I spent on the Viking was worth it.

My brother has a Dacor conventional/convection oven. I was just at his house last week where I baked both bread and cookies. The issues I experienced with my Viking were the same with his Dacor. The convection was just too intense. I ended up using the conventional setting.


I think convection works best in a commercial setting.

A conventional oven usually heats from an element on the oven floor. So heat radiates from a single point upward. With a convection oven the fan circulate heat all around. In commercial baking you will have 5 or more pans baking together. So the circulation of heat ensures product in all the pans bake evenly and at the same rate. But if you only have two cake pans in the oven or one sheet of cookies convection creates too much heat.

I’ve used a commercial single deck convection for delicate goods like macarons with no issue. But there was at least 5 full sheets baking together.

I know several professional pastry chefs. Most of them do not like the convection feature for cake. It’s just too hot.



Thank you so much for your detailed reply. This is extremely helpful.
I sometimes have about 4 8" pans going, and my conventional oven can often take too long, with some uneven baking. Is this still something that a convection oven will not help?
 
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Thank g




Thank you so much for your detailed reply. This is extremely helpful.
I sometimes have about 4 8" pans going, and my conventional oven can often take too long, with some uneven baking. Is this still something that a convection oven will not help?

In all honesty, with a home convection oven you’ll most likely end up with 4 - 8” very dry cakes. Convection is not good for pastry, and especially not good for cake. And if you get one cake recipe to work in a home convention oven it may not work for other recipes. Convection is at its worst when it comes to recipes containing chocolate.

Keep in mind too that home convection ovens are not designed to the same standards as a commercial oven. So the performance of a home convection oven isn’t even the same as a commercial oven.

In the late 80s and early 90s stores like William Sonoma and Sur La Table created a market for commercial grade equipment for the home kitchen. But a lot of the products they pushed actually aren’t even used in a commercial kitchen. And example is the all-clad brand cookware. Despite all their advertisement about all-clad being the choice of top chefs, I have never seen all-clad brand pans or even a pan comparable to all-clad in any commercial kitchen or culinary school. I’ve been in quite a few commercial kitchens over the years. I’ve taken cooking and baking classes at some of the top culinary schools in the country. I’ve even taken classes at William Sonoma and Sur La Table. And aside from cheap pans, they also use the cheapest of the cheap knives for the classes.

Some products, like the convection oven, are misappropriated. The needs of a commercial baker are not the same as a home baker. The power and heat of a convection oven is designed for multiple pans baking at the same time. The technology is for mass production.

It’s very easy to get caught up in that whole commercial grade equipment makes me a better baker/cook. The reason I bought a Viking was the marketing from William Sonoma for the freestanding Wolf range. The first time I saw a wolf range in William Sonoma’s display window I think I stood in front of that window for a good 20 minutes checking that thing out. Several years later when I was building a new home, I purchased top-of-the-line Viking stove top and oven for my home. But I can tell you the Viking did not make me a better baker. The Viking was so bad for cake and cookies that in the six years that I lived in that house I probably use the convection feature for baked goods no more than 6 or 7 times.

Baking in a conventional oven produced some pretty darn good stuff. Whenever I took my baked goods to the office or events people would always comment on the quality and ask which bakery I purchased them from.

The right tool for the job is important. But the right tool is not necessarily commercial grade or the most expensive.
 
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I forgot to mention that you can work around the multiple cake pan problem by using a sheet pan.

I rarely if ever use cake pans for my cakes. I use either a 1/2 sheet pan or 2/3 sheet pan (aka 3/4 sheet); then use a cake ring to cut my cake layers from the sheet cake. Since a sheet pan is 1” deep, the cakes do not need to be leveled or torted.

Depending on your oven size, you might be able to use a full sheet. But my oven is just a tad too narrow for a full sheet pan.

After cutting out my layers, I use up the scrapes by cutting out 2”or 3” cake circles. I wrap them well, label, and freeze them. Then when I need individual desserts for a few people I have the cake circles readily available.

All those expensive cake pans aren’t even used in a lot of commercial bakeries. They use the sheet pan technique because It’s much more efficient and cost effective. They don’t have to stock, fill, wash, and store dozens of pans in multiple sizes. And they save time, labor, and ingredients by using the leftover small cake circles for cake tastings.

The onLy limitation is with naked cakes. If you are making a naked cake, you need to bake in a regular cake pan though. A naked cake needs the side crust to slow it drying out and for strength since there’s no icing to stabilize the stacked layers.
 
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Hmmm

I LOVE convection ovens! I've never had any issues with them. Conventional ovens I've had plenty of issues with, but never a convection oven.

Even in all the bakeries I worked in had convection ovens. And my base work in all the bakeries I worked in were cakes of all kinds.

We also had a pizza oven we used for other kinds of pastries, cookies, and such, but the main oven we used was the convection ovens.


From my experience, I agree with Norcalbaker, you want an oven that can do both conventional and convection, as I also agree some pastries don't do well with convection.

I have to disagree on the cakes though. I've baked all kinds of cakes and cookies, biscuits, scones, tarts, and such in convection ovens all of my baking career and I've never had anything turn out burned, dry, discolored, or inedible.

From my experience, convection is a must for cakes.

You need that dry, hard heat of a conventional oven for things like cookies that are supposed to be crunchy or hard, brownies, and anything that is supposed to be flaky, like croissants, they just turn out better with the dry, hard heat.

As for anything else, like meats, I've tried to bake a turkey via convection, and it just took forever. It's best to cook conventionally for meats. But if you want to heat up an already cooked meat without drying it out, then heat it up with convection.

I have a standard oven in my apartment, and I wish it was a hybrid of both. I do have a small countertop convection oven though, and I do use that for baking my cakes.


I also agree with Norcalbaker that you shouldn't believe all the hype and sales gimmicks.
Do your research on what you need any appliance for, and see what people say about it online or how they rate it. See if it is something you really need or will actually work for you.

You don't want to waste money on something like a large oven and it end up not being something that works for what you do.

If you can't find a hybrid oven, see if getting a less expensive conventional standard size oven will work for you, then you can see about getting a countertop convection oven as well, and just use that as needed or warranted. There are some nice, good counter top convection ovens out there.


This is an old model, but it's a JC Penny brand countertop convection oven. It also has conventional oven features, as well as toasting and broiling. I love it. Actually, I rarely use my standard oven anymore.

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I bake great cookies all the time in a conventional oven. Last week when I was baking cookies at my brother’s house the first tray I baked using the convection feature. The cookies were dry and hard because the heat was too intense. No one wanted to eat them.

The convection also ruined my first loaf of Hokkaido Milk Bread. The heat was so intense the bread barely rose. The setting was 350°. The loaf browned so fast I had to yank it out of the oven early. When it cooled, it was hard as rock. Second loaf, same recipe, same oven temperature, but I used the conventional feature only. And the loaf turned out beautiful. Golden brown. Fluffy and soft.
 
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I bake great cookies all the time in a conventional oven. Last week when I was baking cookies at my brother’s house the first tray I baked using the convection feature. The cookies were dry and hard because the heat was too intense. No one wanted to eat them.

The convection also ruined my first loaf of Hokkaido Milk Bread. The heat was so intense the bread barely rose. The setting was 350°. The loaf browned so fast I had to yank it out of the oven early. When it cooled, it was hard as rock. Second loaf, same recipe, same oven temperature, but I used the conventional feature only. And the loaf turned out beautiful. Golden brown. Fluffy and soft.

Sounds like there was a problem with that oven, or the convection settings were off or messed up.

Or could be the fan stopped working. If the fan stops working or stops blowing, the heat will be a lot hotter than it's supposed to be with the fan going.

If the fan is working correctly, then to me, it sounds like something is wrong with the settings.


Convection is good for soft cookies and those "cake" cookies. It's also good for muffins.
But for hard cookies or crunchy cookies, you want standard heat.

If you try the convection again, you might put a pan of water on the bottom rack. The moisture might help keep it from browning on top before it gets done.......or over bakes.

But like I stated before, we always used convection ovens for our cakes in the bakeries I worked at.....well, except one. They had that huge, old fashioned gas oven with rotating shelves in it. A wicked piece of machinery if you've never seen one.
 
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Sounds like there was a problem with that oven, or the convection settings were off or messed up.

Or could be the fan stopped working. If the fan stops working or stops blowing, the heat will be a lot hotter than it's supposed to be with the fan going.

If the fan is working correctly, then to me, it sounds like something is wrong with the settings.


Convection is good for soft cookies and those "cake" cookies. It's also good for muffins.
But for hard cookies or crunchy cookies, you want standard heat.

If you try the convection again, you might put a pan of water on the bottom rack. The moisture might help keep it from browning on top before it gets done.......or over bakes.

But like I stated before, we always used convection ovens for our cakes in the bakeries I worked at.....well, except one. They had that huge, old fashioned gas oven with rotating shelves in it. A wicked piece of machinery if you've never seen one.

Blower was on and working fine. I checked to make sure it was on.

What I think is home convection ovens produces too much heat for the amount product a home baker puts in an oven. I bake on the professional level. Yet I couldn’t get my Viking or my bother’s Dacor to produce a decent bake. And those two brands are highly regarded for performance.

The last two houses I owned, I didn’t bother with convection. I just left what the builders installed. I had Jennaire in my Houston house, and GE Profile in my SoCal house. The GE wouldn’t hold calibration. They were always running close to 25° off. But the Jennaires were pretty decent ovens.

I think a home oven that is accurately calibrated with a good seal works better than a home convection. The best home oven I ever used was in my sister’s last house. It was an older home and it had an old oven that dated back to the 40s or 50s. I’m telling you that oven was accurate and insulated. I loved that old oven of hers.
 
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Blower was on and working fine. I checked to make sure it was on.

What I think is home convection ovens produces too much heat for the amount product a home baker puts in an oven. I bake on the professional level. Yet I couldn’t get my Viking or my bother’s Dacor to produce a decent bake. And those two brands are highly regarded for performance.

The last two houses I owned, I didn’t bother with convection. I just left what the builders installed. I had Jennaire in my Houston house, and GE Profile in my SoCal house. The GE wouldn’t hold calibration. They were always running close to 25° off. But the Jennaires were pretty decent ovens.

I think a home oven that is accurately calibrated with a good seal works better than a home convection. The best home oven I ever used was in my sister’s last house. It was an older home and it had an old oven that dated back to the 40s or 50s. I’m telling you that oven was accurate and insulated. I loved that old oven of hers.

Yeah, my granny had an old gas stove/oven from the 60's. I liked that thing. It baked HOT, so you had to bake low temperatures on everything because it was gas. I don't know what happened to it, but I went to visit her one time and one of my Uncles had bought her a new gas stove/oven. It was ok, but I still liked the old one. Probably because I grew up with it.

Unfortunately all appliance companies think they have to be "different', so nothing is standardized anymore. It's hard to find something that works the way you need it to work. And once you DO find the right appliance, they go and change it up and you have to start looking all over again.

But as I stated previously, unless you are going to use your home as a full service bakery production, then I think having a standard oven is best, and then you can buy a "counter top" convection oven for baking purposes. That way you have both. So, instead of having to buy a fancy large appliance, you can just use the one that comes with the house or one you already have, and just save money by purchasing a small convection oven.

I baked brownies in my standard oven today instead of the convection, and they stuck to the pan. Don't know why they stick to the pan when I use the standard oven, but not when I use the convection oven. Oh well.
 

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