Although convection ovens have been around for decades, often in commercial settings, how they work is far from common knowledge. So how does a Wolf convection oven work? And what is the difference between, say, convection bake and bake mode?
In addition to the usual heating elements found in ovens, all Wolf ovens have two convection elements operating in the back of the oven (except the 18” oven, which only has one). Each convection element is made of a columnar fan with its own heating element, which, in conjunction, create and move heated air throughout the entire oven cavity.
What Are the Benefits to Convection Cooking?
Circulating the hot air over the dish that’s being cooked makes a world of difference. Convection modes:
- Cook food faster. PRO TIP:Reduce standard recipe temperatures by 25° in convection modes or reduce the cooking time by 20-25%.
- Cook food more evenly by filling the entire cavity with hot air. That said, the oven is still hottest next to the various heating elements.
- Remove humidity from the oven cavity by circulating out steam generated from food for dry air. This allows for faster browning and caramelization, without drying out the interiors.
- Enable multi-rack cooking. For more on placement of dishes on racks, see below.
For these reasons, Convection Mode makes for a good, all-around cooking mode, when adjusted for of course. For best results, it is recommended that you use baking sheets or pans made for convection cooking. When it comes to specialized cooking though, your convection roast v. standard roast for instance, there are use cases for both modes.
Difference Between Convection Bake v. Bake
The convection bake mode uses convection elements and heat from the bottom-heating Bake element. The convection fans alternate on and off, spinning in opposite directions to circulate heat and maintain temperature throughout the entire oven. The standard bake mode uses the bottom-heating element and a small amount of heat from the top element to brown tops.
When to Use:
You should use the standard bake mode most all of the time, especially for more delicate baked goods:
- Angel food cake
- Bundt or pound cake
- Cake mixes or from scratch
- Cinnamon rolls (single sheet)
- Cookies or bars
- One dish meals
- Puff pastry
- Quick breads
- Slow roast
- Sweet Potatoes
- Whole brined turkey
- Whole Ham
- Winter squash
- Yeast Bread in a loaf pan
There are two instances to use the Convention Bake mode for:
- Pies and pastries like croissants, as it creates more lift in their doughs while contributing to the much-desired crispness of their exteriors.
- When baking on multiple racks (i.e. multiple sheets of cookies), as the air circulation helps all items cook evenly.
Difference Between Convection Roast v. Roast
With the convection roast mode, both convection heating elements are run simultaneously, along with gentle heat from the Broil heating element on top. With standard roast mode, both Broil (top) and Bake (bottom) elements are used.
When to Use:
Here are the questions to ask to decide which Roast mode to use:
- How large is the cut of meat? Large cuts (incl. whole chickens) should use Convection Roast to ensure even cooking. Smaller cuts can use Roast.
- How tender is the cut of meat? Preserve tenderness while crisping the exterior with Convection Roast. For less-tender cuts like pot roast and lamb shank, use Roast.
Cooking tip: when using Convection Roast, recipes that call for a higher temperature in the beginning and lower temperatures for the remainder of the cooking time can be cooked at the lower temperature for the entire cook time.
Difference Between Convection Broil v. Broil
Whereas Broil uses only the top Broil element, Convection Broil adds the two convection fans (but not heat) to circulate heat.
When to Use:
The simplest one, as all you need to remember is that Convection modes cook food faster:
- Is the cut less than 1” thick? Use Broil.
- Is the cut more than 1” thick? Use Convection Broil.
See? Simple. For M-Series ovens that do not have Convection Broil, use Convection Roast for cuts thicker than 1” thick.
Tips for Cooking on Multiple Racks
- Allow at least 1″ between the edge of pan or baking dish and oven walls for best performance.
- When using directions for which rack to place dishes on, remember that racks are numbered from the bottom-up. Rack 1 is the lowest rack in the oven and rack 6 the highest.
- Place single sheets or pans on rack 3.
- Place two sheets or pans on racks 2 and 5.
- Place three sheets or pans on racks 2, 4, and 6.
- Pans do not need to be staggered when cooking on more than one rack.
Want More Help?
For more, consult our Complete Guide to the Wolf Cooking Modes. Or find a cooking class at your local Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove Showroom to truly master your Wolf cooking appliances.
And if you feel your Wolf appliance isn’t performing correctly and that there may be something wrong with it, don’t hesitate to call us to schedule service. Trust in your appliances is one of the keys to great cooking.