Does anyone NOT like their convection oven?

elmullen5March 16, 2012

I have heard so many positive things about convection ovens and how many people just love them. But I would like to know how many of you have convection ovens and find that you are not using them and/or regretting the extra money spent. I am confused on which way to go with our new oven purchase. Although I cook a fair amount, I have to say that I have never found myself thinking "wow, this meal is cooked very uneven" with our current non-convection oven. While I am sure I can get by without convection, I feel compelled to at least consider it because of all the rave. The unit we are looking at is an LG model #LDG3015ST. It is a gas range with double ovens. The convection model runs about $400 more. We are on a tight budget with our remodel and so the extra money could be well spent elsewhere. So, I just would like to know if there is anyone who does NOT like their convection oven, or feels they could have definitly gotten by without one? Thanks in advance!

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It's nice to have, but you can absolutely get by without it. At worst (if your oven happens to cook unevenly, which may or may not be due to lack of a fan) you may need to swap pans of cookies around midway through baking or just bake them a bit longer than you would with a forced-air convection oven and I don't consider that a big deal.

And I say this as someone who now has 3 ovens: a gas convection, an electric convection, and a steam oven and think they all are great.

About the only place I noticed forced-air convection making a really big difference was with our toaster oven. It was only after a year or so using it that I noticed the convection button. In that small oven it made a big difference when doing small batches of thin cookies. They got done noticeably faster.

Some choice quotes from Modernist Cuisine on the science of baking and 'convection' or 'forced-air' ovens versus 'non-convection' or 'still' ovens (Book 2, page 110, after 10 dense pages of detailed discussion):

"...forced convection does not actually make baking more even, as many people seem to think."

"So forcing convection does not directly speed cooking; it's more accurate to say it speeds drying."

"The conventional wisdom that a forced convection oven 'cooks 25% faster' or '10 degrees hotter' than a conventional oven is thus so over-simplified as to be a fallacy. The actual difference in cooking times depends on what part of the cooking process is the limiting factor that determines the baking time. In large foods, the time it takes to conduct heat into the core controls the cooking speed; a convection oven doesn't appreciably accelerate that. In thinner foods, conduction is a smaller part of the overall process, and the convection oven can make a bigger difference. There is no simple rule that applies in all cases."

"Forced convection cannot completely solve the problem of uneven baking because the air is not the only source of scorched spots -- radiant heat is." [and then they go on to discuss why keeping the interior of your oven clean will result in more even cooking!]

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 3:23AM
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I think there is quite a bit of difference in convection ovens. Some have the elements covered. Some have two fans/elements. I think there must be a difference in the velocity of the fans and there are differences in the modes and the way they have the heat comes on and off.

The two statements seem to say two different things.

"...forced convection does not actually make baking more even, as many people seem to think."

"Forced convection cannot completely solve the problem of uneven baking because the air is not the only source of scorched spots -- radiant heat is."

The fan definitely contributes to directing heat. In most cases this will contribute to evenness in baking, so I would agree more with the second sentence. I actually had a Dacor oven that in using the "convection only" made a hot spot towards the back of the oven.

The primary reason I like mine is for that drying effect. This makes things crisper. That same effect can be bad for cakes and muffins because it can inhibit the raising of the cake by "setting" the outside.

I do agree that there is no set rule about how to convert recipes. It is sort of trial and error.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 8:51AM
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Thank you so much for both of your replies- this is the exact information I needed. I think in my case, the convection will not be worth the extra expense. Maybe if we get a toaster oven in the future, we will go with convection for that. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 10:07AM
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I have GE electric double oven. The top one is convection. I've learned to use it but only for certain things.

For one thing, if I set it on convection the actual temperature is automatically -- and non-adjustably -- reduced by 25 degrees. If I want actual 325 with the convection on, I have to set it at 350. When making some dishes, I do turn it on the last 15 or 20 minutes sometimes to crisp up the surface -- being sure to reset the temperature 25 degrees higher so that it remains the same inside. In other words, I've learned to work with it and have learned it does have some value. However, shortened cooking times is not among its virtues.

I also resent the space the fan takes. The convection oven is smaller than the second oven which does not have the feature.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 3:49PM
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Wekick wrote "The two statements seem to say two different things."

They don't, but I didn't give much context (in their books this is after an entire chapter in book 1 on heat and definitions of terms and then a further 10 pages in book 2 discussing how ovens heat). MC uses the scientific terms for heating and so is differentiating among heating by conduction, convection, and radiation (infrared).

By the term "radiant heat" they are refering to the infrared radiation from the heated walls of the oven, not heating from the air.

They argue that the main source of unevenness in oven is actually the walls of the oven itself. And in this there are many variables, e.g. how well preheated the oven (and after discussing the importance of preheating, they confine further analysis to fully preheated ovens), whether the walls are dark or light or shiny, and yes, how dirty the oven is -- a blackened spot on an otherwise shiny oven will radiate more heat and create a hotter spot in the oven for items close to it. Whether the fan is on or off does not change the color or configuration of the walls and the radiant heat they contribute.

It gets confusing, since terms like 'convection' and 'infrared' have scientific meanings that are different than the marketing terms used to sell these appliances and categorize them.

All (non-microwave) ovens heat with both infrared and convection, whether there is a fan or not. So some scientific studies refer to what we call 'convection ovens' as 'forced-convection ovens' since even ovens without fans will have convection heating. And all broilers heat via infrared whether or not they are marketed as 'infrared' broilers or not.

It's similar to the differing uses of 'granite' in the scientific and countertop marketing worlds.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 7:14PM
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This information helped me. I decided to go with an LG range LRG3093ST with standard oven instead of this convection version LRG3095ST which is a bit more expensive. I'm more of a stove top cooker.

There are also fewer buttons on the control panel to worry about.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 11:35PM
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I got it when it first came out some years ago and NEVER EVER use it. I just can't think of a good reason for the everyday cook to have one. A waste of money, at least for me. They were very expensive when they first came out. Wish I had just saved the money. I tried it at first and it actually seemed to take longer to cook things not less and nothing was getting done evenly. After a couple of service calls and them telling me that it was working the way it should I can say with certainty that I would not purchase one again. My regular oven works just as well.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 8:06PM
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I would never be without it again if I could help it and I've baked and roasted with a regular oven for 47 years before this. It does not benefit some kinds of baking like cakes, muffins and quick breads because it can cause them to cook quicker on the outside or blow the top over so I don't use it for that. Mine cooks very evenly and makes things so crispy.
Maybe the technology has improved.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 8:50PM
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I use mine all the time, from force of habit (always press the conv bake button as opposed to the plain ol' bake button. I do not notice any faster cooking consistently. I do notice the drying... sometimes in a bad way (ie: roast or chicken in an uncovered pan with water in bottom... water's gone in no time! The other thing I notice is that it gets dirty... I think the fan aerosolizes all the grease, etc., so the oven walls are much dirtier than in my previous regular oven.

I agree with you OP, I wouldn't spend the money for it. However, it's hard these days to get a range with a nice cooktop without convection oven (and my induction is well worth the trade-off).

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 8:51PM
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Oh, Zartemis, I am so jealous that you got Modernist Cuisine! I hope you enjoy it!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 12:51AM
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Loved my old convection; miss it and will get another in my remodel. Tastiest chicken I ever made.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 1:14AM
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I have the same experience as wekick with the fan drying out cakes and muffins. I've found that it works to turn on the fan for coming to temperature but then turn it off when the cakes go in the oven. I wonder if a pan of water might help if you wanted the fan to stay on? Without the fan on preheating takes *way* longer and is way more uneven. I have a 36" oven which is a lot of space to fill evenly with warm, convecting air (hope I'm using that term properly).

Also I agree that the oven itself matters. There's quite a difference between my "true" electric convection and the gas stove with a fan in it. I imagine the difference between manufacturers of the same kind of oven would matter a lot too.

As others have noted, by the same token the fan makes for really beautifully crisp skin and terrific granola, etc.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 3:13AM
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I liked my first convection oven so much that I required both my double ovens to have that option. I think I use it about half the time.

I never consider it as a way to cook food faster, but more even. However some things cook best with more bottom heat, or more top heat. My oven has two options, convection roast and prefect turkey, and they both produce excellent results, and do use the fan during the cooking cycle.

I cooked fine for years without convection, but I have much more fun baking with that option when I want it.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 9:43PM
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This thread is helping me discern when convection works best. This past week I have used my convection oven for the 1st time, playing around with items I think might benefit from the air circulation. Made baked potatoes (for the first time via oven in over 20 years - had to look up a recipe! :), kale chips, and roasted vegetables. ALL of them were wonderful! The last 2 items I did regularly in an standard oven; both much better in the convection.

Who knew how wonderful a simple potato smells as its baking - and the skins were so crisp, I'm sold!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 6:52PM
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I just got a convection oven & cooked a small turkey breast in it. How do you keep the skin from getting so crispy & tough. It was tied up with quite a few strings around it, which I left on, & they were extremely hard to remove. The turkey was delicious however.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 3:15PM
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I have convection and like it. It seems to definitely brown the top of food better than when just set on the regular oven-mode. Just for kicks, last night my daughter made two batches of chocolate chip cookies, one without the convection fan, one with.

The batch without convection took longer and didn't brown as nicely. The convection cookies definitely cooked faster.

Sometimes to avoid over-browning, I'll start the baking cycle with the fan off, then later turn it on. It's definitely trial and error, but overall I'm glad we went with it. It really makes great roasted veggies!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 6:57PM
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I have a Frigidaire gas convection oven with two fans. I hate it. Contrary to shortening cooking time, it seems to lengthen cooking time. And I didn't notice any improvement in quality or evenness of cooked food, but never noticed a problem with that before. I admit I don't cook much, and I rarely bake, which I think is what convection is mainly for?

Like an above poster, the temperature is automatically, and unadjustably, reduced by 25 degrees, when I use the convection feature. I even have a separate convection feature for roasting vs. regular.

I never use the convection and will never get it again. I'm convinced those fans being in the oven lets heat escape, whether using the convection feature or not, although I don't know that for a fact.

It might work better in a toaster oven.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 7:41PM
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