I recently moved into a home with a convection oven and wonder if I should be modifying the cooking time or temperature when baking in convection mode. What do you recommend? —V.H., Elkridge, Maryland
Convection ovens are equipped with a fan that provides continuous circulation of hot air around the food. This method cooks food up to 25% faster. It also cooks food evenly no matter how many pans are on a rack or how close the racks are placed to one other. But for the fullest benefit of convection cooking, it's best to use baking pans with low sides. Convection cooking is ideal for roasted and broiled meats, poultry and fish as well as baked goods.
As a general rule, to adapt a recipe to use in a convection oven, heat the oven 25° lower than the recipe suggests and expect foods to cook in about 25% less time, depending on the size of the food being cooked. For example, roasting a turkey may take an hour less while cookies may take only a few minutes less. You'll need to experiment with recipes to determine the best oven temperature and timing to use. Also, you may want to contact the manufacturer of your convection oven and request an owner's manual so you have recommendations specifically for your oven.