Fan oven

Having just moved into a new rental, I find myself, somehow for the first time in my life, with an electric cooker. Furthermore it has something else I have never experienced, a fan oven. I think I can figure out using electricity instead of gas (although if anyone has any pertinent advice, it will be appreciated) but I do not understand the notion of a fan oven. How do these differ from a conventional oven (gas or electric)? What is the point of the fan? Most importantly, how does it affect how you should cook things?

it is also called a convection oven. the fan keeps the temperature even throughout the oven compartment. it can cook quicker and more evenly.

There are several types of electric cooktops. One thing you’ll probably notice is that compared to gas, it takes longer for the temperature to drop when you turn it down. That’s particularly true with the type with the coiled elements. Other types such as infrared may not have this issue. I prefer gas myself.

My electric fan oven runs a lot hotter than my electric non-fan oven. By this I mean that for any given recipe I use the oven temperature as recommended in the non-fan oven, but reduce it by about 20 degrees (celcius in my case) when using the fan oven. This is fairly standard advice in many recipes, which often give separate temperatures for fan/non-fan. The recipes I use are not US ones though as I live in Europe so I don’t know if this approach is common in the US.

My fan oven heats up much more quickly too, which is a good thing.

The main difference is that most recipes (and instructions for ready meals) call for food to be cooked for less time and/or at lower temperatures compared to conventional ovens. I think it’s supposed to be something to do with the way it transfers heat to the food.

I have a convection oven, and I can use it as convection or non-convection. I use convection for things like roasting a chicken because it seems to get a crispier skin, yum. Anything I want a moister heat for, though, like a cake or a quiche, I don’t use convection.

A convection oven uses… convection to transfer heat to the food you are cooking. In a conventional oven, there is less air movement for convection, and the heat transfer is mainly due to conduction through the hot air and radiation from the heated sides of the oven. A convection oven uses convection in addition to conduction and radiation to achieve a more efficient heat transfer. The result is a perceived higher cooking temperature in a convection oven over a conventional one, even though the actual temperature of the ovens is the same. In effect, a 300˚F convection oven cooks comparatively to a 350˚F conventional oven.

The biggest thing to remember when adjusting to an electric cooktop over gas is to move the pot off the burner if you’re having a boilover or other event that requires removal of heat from the pot immediately. With gas, you just turn the flame down or off. Electric doesn’t turn immediately off so you have to move the pot. It’s kind of a pain in the ass, but you get used to it… and probably won’t forget after, say, the second or third time it happens!

I turned it off, why is it still boiling? Argh!

An object like a chicken cooking in a conventional oven will absorb the heat immediately around it and leave an envelope of cooler air. A convection oven prevents this envelope from forming and so the food is exposed to hotter air.

I disagree with this distinction; convection means heat transfer through air (or other fluid). A conventional oven indeed heats by convection, which is why “convection oven” is a bit of a misnomer. In a conventional oven, the evenness of heating relies on air currents as the air is heat at the bottom by the heating element and floats to the top. A convection oven simply takes matters into its own hands and blows it around.

Me too. (Although I was very impressed with an induction unit I used in a cooking class once.)

I’d like to try an induction unit sometime. Not sure how it would work with my round bottom wok though.