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Making Sense of Convection Oven Modes When Baking

Q. Why is it that cookies and cakes should be baked in Pure Convection mode, but not pastries and pies? What kinds of baked goods do best in convection mode? I’ve been using my Dacor convection oven in Pure Convection mode to bake cookies, and they have come out a little uneven. The cookies have also taken more time to bake than they would in regular bake mode. That doesn’t seem right to me. I’ve had my ovens serviced recently and the thermostat was replaced. The temperature is now within .5% accuracy.

I’m wondering what you might think about this…

—sercook, via FineCooking.com’s CooksTalk forum

A. This sounds like another case of confusion caused by names. I wish manufacturers would all agree on what to call their convection modes and settings. For example, I have a KitchenAid convection oven that has settings for Convection Roast, Convection Bake, Convection Broil, and the standard conventional cooking. Although I cook mostly on Convection Roast and Convection Bake, I do not have a Pure Convection setting. Dacor ovens do. In researching all the makes, I have found that each year manufacturers keep changing the settings and features.

I double checked with a sales representative in a major Toronto appliance store, and he told me the Dacor has three convection modes (Pure Convection, Convection Roast, and Convection Bake). According to him, Dacor has a very helpful hotline in California, which you might want to check with (1-800-793-0093).

When I make cookies, muffins, tea breads, soufflés, etc., I use the Convection Bake setting. But when I bake pies, I use the Convection Roast, as the pastry cooks much better, both on top and bottom.

With your oven, you need to experiment and see what works best for you.

For more details on cooking with convection, read Susie Middleton’s Better Cooking Through Convection, visit our special section In the Kitchen, and watch a video detailing how convection ovens work.
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