need help with convection baking/roasting!

dab07February 15, 2008


We installed our new convection range (GE Cafe) last week and I've had two bad experiences trying to use the oven. The first was using convection bake for 2 loaves of pumpkin bread. I posted on the appliances forum and was told that loaf pans aren't well suited for convection because of their high sides. The other problem is that I set the oven temp 25 degrees lower than the recipe called for, following the instructions of the manual. The loaves took more than 10 minutes longer to bake than normal.

Tonight I was short on time, so I tried convection on a whole chicken. This time I set the temperature high, to 375 degrees, tho I accidentally set the oven on convection bake instead of convection roast. I noticed this after about 20 minutes, when the chicken seemed hardly cooked at all. At that point I reset the oven to convection roast. After another 10 minutes or so progress still seemed slow, so I gave up on convection, set it to regular bake, and cranked it up to 390.

It's very frustrating! The roasting pan has sides about 2 1/2" high. Is this the problem? I didn't have a V-shaped rack like they recommend using. What's the difference between conv. bake and roast? I didn't realize there was such an adjustment to be made learning to use convection -- the manual didn't make a big deal about it. It's possible the convection feature doesn't work properly, but more likely I'm doing something wrong.

Is there a good, comprehensive source of information anyone can point me to? Or can anyone explain what I"m doing wrong?

Thank you for any help!!

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Yes, there's a learning curve. I had just the opposite problem that you're having. I burnt everything for the first few tries.

My Kenmore Elite has convection settings for bread, meat, & cakes. When I select the meat option the convection cycles on/off periodically during the cooking process. I do not change my heat settings when using convection. For a whole Perdue Oven Stuffer Chicken (6-7 lbs.), it is roasted perfectly in 1 hr. 50 minutes at 350 degrees. That compares to 2-1/2 hours without convection.

I don't like convection for yeast breads but love it for quick breads (especially biscuits!) and again I don't reduce temperature...just time. On this setting, my oven keeps the fan running during the entire cooking time.

I don't like convection for delicate things like cakes at all so don't use that feature.

But, every oven is different. You're going to have to study your Owner's Manual & then it'll be trial/error. May I also suggest you write down what you've tried & the results because it's very easy to forget. It took me about six months to become completely comfortable using the convection features. Now, I would not want to be without it especially for meat...the difference there is remarkable...picture perfect every time.

Don't get frustrated. You're learning a new skill. Be kind to yourself & keep experimenting. Also, you might want to put a thermometer in the oven to check your heat settings for accuracy.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 6:50PM
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I should have noted that when I roast a's stuffed.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 6:53PM
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Thanks, Tricia. My manual explains very little, and what it does say is now suspect, after my first experience. It sounds like yours has different settings than mine. Oh well, another learning curve.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 11:42PM
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I have had a KitchenAid convection oven for 7 years now. I love it.

To answer your question -- difference between conv roast/bake, I think it has to do with what part of the oven the heat is coming from (top/bottom, both).

My oven makes wonderful cookies. I turn the heat down 25 degrees and keep the bake time the same.

As for chicken, your bird should still cook even with sides on the roasting pan. The only reason you wouldn't have sides, is so not to block air-flow for even browning.

From everything I've read (including my conv cookbook) you are NOT suppposed to convection roast a chicken that is stuffed. That is because the the meat will cook faster than the stuffing can come to a safe temperature.

I use convection mainly for baking cookies and cooking things like casseroles that I want to brown on top (like mac and cheese).

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 12:08AM
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Yes, you're correct. My fault, I should have explained what I meant by 'stuffing'. I don't stuff the chicken with 'stuffing' that we eat. I stuff it with aromatics like unpeeled onion, oranges, lemons, garlic, maybe some celery/carrot, & herbs. Those are removed before slicing. The bulk in the cavity does slow cooking a tad though.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 12:13AM
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I'm glad they were able to help you. I have convection bake and roast and use neither. LOL

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 12:48AM
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It is a learning curve. One thing I have learned is that to preheat the oven, do it on the convection setting, then reset when the item goes into the oven. The fan blows the heat around which is a faster and more efficient way to preheat.

I also recommend Ann T's high heat roast chicken. Cook it between 475-500 degrees on BAKE in a roasting pan with the lowest sides possible (2 1/2 in would be fine) for 50-60 minutes. Stuff it with citrus etc like Tricia suggests and it will be perfect every time.

One more thing is I'd check that the oven is heating to the right temperature. Buy a decent oven thermometer and place it on the center rack in the center. See if the set temp matches the actual temp. I have a hunch it needs to be properly calibrated.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 2:19AM
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I am encountering the same challeges as egganddart when using convection on my GE Profile. Even at 25 degrees lower, things seem to take much longer than at regular settings. The GE Repairman was out to check the calibrations on both ovens (I thought the lower electric oven was too cool also) and only thelower oven needed adjustment.

Since I am still working full time, I just don't have the patience or time to mess with the convection feature to see just how it needs to be adjusted on temp/time. I have given up using it and just make everything the old fashioned way.

Disclaimer - except for the convection being too much of a pain to mess with, I do love the range.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 8:13AM
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Well, I've joined the ''convection camp'' and don't know now what I'd do without it. Triciae is right about not using it for delicate things like cake, and compumom's suggestion about preheating with convection saves a lot of time.

I'm having great luck with yeast breads, cookies and everything I use it for. I never turn the heat down, only shorten the time when I'm using convection. The trick is to get the fan blowing over the food. In other words, if you're using a half-sheet pan with low sides, you place it in the middle of the oven on the middle rack. When using a roasting pan with 2-1/2 inch sides, please the pan closer to the bottom so the fan can blow over the food.

I also use it a lot when taking things out of the freezer and cooking them from a frozen state till done. A baked potato on convection at 400 degrees will be done in 30-35 minutes (medium size), or 40 minutes from a cold oven. You can usually cut 25% off the time if you leave the heat where you normally would.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 5:49PM
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OK, I'm going to try setting the temp up when i use convection, since the electronics automatically subtract 25 degrees. I'll also retest with an oven thermometer, tho my cheapo thermometer indicated the oven was correct last time. thanks for the tip on having the fan blow over the food. maybe i'll try something tonight and hopefully have more success.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 10:45AM
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