HOW TO COOK WITH A COUNTERTOP CONVECTION OVEN
Countertop convection ovens known for their faster cooking times, evenly cooked food, and improved energy efficiency can undoubtedly offer beautifully golden-brown pastries, perfectly crisp cookies, evenly roasted chickens, delightfully caramelized vegetables, and more for your daily meals. That is why they continue to gain popularity with home cooks. If you have a countertop convection oven, take full advantage of the convection setting functions. However, if you are a new one to cook with countertop convection ovens or cooking from a traditional recipe, some time and/or temperature adjustment may be needed. Here is everything you should know about cooking with a countertop convection oven.
Understanding how a countertop convection oven works
A countertop convection oven cooks food by constantly circulating hot air throughout the oven cavity to help maintain optimal temperatures on the surfaces of the food, resulting in fast and even cooking. Countertop convection ovens can save energy since they make the most use of the heat provided and cook food quickly. If your current kitchen full-sized built-in wall or range oven doesn’t have convection capabilities, a countertop convection oven can bring this cooking technology to your kitchen without needing to replace your existing appliances.
Most countertop convection ovens like VENTRAY Mini Oven Master have a convection setting that activates convection heating functions. The convection setting can be turned on or off. When the convection setting is on, you can utilize the benefits of your convection oven to cook your meals. When the convection setting is off, you can only use your countertop convection oven like a conventional oven.
Cooking with a convection oven can seem a little complex at first but is easy to master with some simple tips below.
1. Adjust the recipe
When using a countertop convection oven, you do not have to use a high cooking temperature, thanks to its efficient heating technology. Experiment with your favorite recipes by lowering the temperature by at least 25 degrees or shortening the time (10 to 15 percent for cookies and up to 30 percent less for large roasts), or both from the recipe’s recommended setting.
2. Frequently check the food
It is best to check on the dish a few minutes before the end of its cooking time. Don’t rely too much on your set cooking time, especially if you are new to using a countertop convection oven. There is a learning curve with convection oven cooking, so do not be discouraged if your first attempt is not perfect. Since most recipes are written with a conventional oven in mind, you will have to test and check dishes frequently until you find the sweet spot.
3. Allow for air circulation
Countertop convection ovens circulate hot air for even cooking. Stick to low-sided pans or sheets, use rimless baking sheets, and do not cover the racks with foil. These will ensure maximum air distribution around the food. Besides, do not overcrowd the oven when baking or cooking by using multiple racks.
The fastest and easiest way to cook with your countertop convection oven is to follow the presets. VENTRAY Mini Oven Master, as one of the newer countertop convection models, offers 12 cooking presets – bread, cake, dehydrates, fries, wings, chicken, fish, steak, shrimp, donuts, cookies, and pizza to meet your daily cooking needs.
What can you cook in a countertop convection oven?
The hot air consistently circulating in the countertop convection oven will give you fast and even cooking results. You can cook pretty much any conventional recipe with a countertop convection oven after a little experimentation. Here are some foods that will do well in the countertop convection oven:
- Roasting meat like chicken – You will get better browning and delicious crispy outside while staying juicy on the inside because the meat will not be in the oven as long.
- Baking cookies and brownies – You can put at least two cookie sheets in a countertop convection oven at once and have an evener baking thanks to the convection setting.
- Baking pastries, pies, and tarts – Using a countertop convection oven, you will get a faster, lower temp, more even baking, and crispier pie crust.
- Baking bread – The convection setting will yield lovely and crusty bread. Try to use a convection setting for bread and decide how it works in your oven.
- Roasting vegetables, toasting nuts and seeds, and dehydrating fruit and jerky – The fan and exhaust system in countertop convection ovens can move the hot air around and out, taking moisture away much more quickly, producing caramelized veggies.
Can you bake a cake in a countertop convection oven?
Foods like cakes, quick breads, custards, and souffles (or anything made from loose batter) do not quite do well in countertop convection ovens, since the blowing air from a countertop convection oven can create lopsided, rippled, and dry results. You can use a conventional oven or turn off the convection setting on the countertop convection oven to make them.
Countertop convection oven VS Conventional oven
A conventional oven has two heating elements that heat the air inside the oven to cook food. One founded on the bottom is used for most cooking and baking. The other on the top is mostly used for broiling.
Cooking with conventional ovens, you might have “hot spots” to lead to uneven cooking because it has no convection setting to circulate the air in the oven like a countertop convection oven.
Why use a countertop convection oven?
A countertop convection oven is a versatile appliance that can cook almost anything in less time than with a conventional oven. Let’s have a closer look at some of the top reasons to invest in one.
- Cooks faster – If you are tired of waiting for dinner to get done, a countertop convection oven cooking your food by circulating hot air around your food can help you get your meals on the table faster.
- Cooks more evenly – With a countertop convection oven, you will get more even cooking rather than uneven “hot spots” cooked by conventional ovens, thanks to its continuous hot air circulation.
- Idea for browning – The exhaust system of a countertop convection oven can reduce the amount of moisture in the oven for browning and crispy cooking results when you roast things like vegetables or meat.