Space is often tight in restaurants, and budgets are often cut to the bone. When it's time to get a new oven, deciding whether to get a regular oven or a convection oven can be crucial to the running of your kitchen. There are key differences between convection ovens and regular ovens, knowing the pros and cons can help you make the best decision for your kitchen.
Convection Oven vs. Regular Oven
A convection oven works differently than a conventional or regular oven. Both types of ovens can be heated with either electricity or gas, but the distribution of the heat is different. A convection oven uses of a fan to move heated air around inside the oven. This makes cooking in a conventional oven faster and at lower temperatures.A regular oven has two heating elements the create heat inside used to cook food. The heating element on the bottom of the oven is primarily used for cooking and baking, while the top one is for broiling. The dish nearest to the active heating element cooks fastest. It's all pretty simple and straightforward.
They each have their pros and cons, so let's take a closer look at the differences between the two.
Pros and Cons for Regular Ovens
Regular ovens meet the basic cooking needs of most restaurant kitchens. However, there are some pros and cons to understand about these kitchen mainstays.
Pros of Regular Ovens
- Most recipes are written for regular ovens, so can be used with no changes.
- The technology is familiar, so they are easier for most people to use.
- Can accommodate a wide range of backing from pies and cookies to pastries and cakes.
- Regular ovens usually cost less than convection ovens.
Cons of Regular Ovens
- Because the air isn't circulated, there are often pockets that are colder or hotter, and food may cook unevenly.
- Cooking more than one dish lowers its temperature and increases cooking time.
- Food can take longer to cook, potentially slowing down the kitchen.
- Uses more electricity or gas to preheat and maintain at temperature, which may increase energy use and cost.
Convection ovens have become very popular in restaurant kitchens. They cook more evenly and offer lower temperatures with shorter cooking times. And although they may cost more initially, they make up for it with long-term savings.
Pros of Convection Ovens
- Cooks more evenly, browns and crisps, but stays tender and moist inside.
- Shorter cooking times mean less energy is used, and food gets out faster.
- Can cook multiple dishes at the same time, making the kitchen more efficient.
Cons of a Convection Oven
- Shorter cooking times mean that recipes need to be adjusted or rewritten.
- Breads, pastries, and cakes don't rise as well as a convection oven.
- Too many dishes can lead to longer cooking times.
- Convection ovens may cost more than a regular oven.
Finding the Right Oven
The oven you choose for your restaurant is critical to the function of your entire kitchen. Considering these pros and cons, the choice between a convection oven vs. standard oven should not be taken lightly.
The majority of restaurants will have a convection oven. And although they are good for roasting, they do not work well with many baking techniques. So, it is not uncommon to see both types of ovens in a restaurant kitchen, if the space allows.
When buying your next oven, consider all the types of menu items you intend to serve and whether a convection or conventional oven is best suited to the job.
Use a regular oven for these foods:
- Covered dishes
- Anything covered with aluminum foil
Use a convection for these foods:
- Roasted meats
- Shallow, uncovered casseroles
Which One Cooks Better?
Are convection ovens better at cooking everything? While it may seem that the shorter cooking times will endear these ovens to chefs, the air movement of a convection oven can ruin delicate baked goods or those that rise. The air's movement often ripples the surface, which makes the end result lumpy.
One of the critical differences between a standard oven and a convection oven is that cooking time is different. Most recipes have to be revised to allow for the faster cooking time. And, if your restaurant bakes bread, the bread's crust often develops faster than the inside of the bread. Once you've decided what kind of oven you'd like to include in your commercial kitchen, the next step is finding the best restaurant equipment company to supply it.