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What's the Difference Between Convection, Gas, and Electric Ovens

Updated on August 21, 2013

To know your oven is know your limitations in the kitchen! This "oven" Baking Guide is a top choice when it comes to successfully understanding how your oven cooks your baked goods. Knowing the differences between Convection oven's, Gas oven's, Electric oven's, and the newer Speed oven's will help you become a better home baker immediately. No matter how temperamental, quirky, or unusual your oven may be, by using an after market oven thermometer, and gaining a little oven advice, you will get the most out of your kitchen oven starting right now.

To keep any oven working in top shape, you have to keep it clean. Crud and debris that clings to the surfaces hinders the proper and even heating throughout your oven, no matter what type it is.


A design depicting "Baking as Art"
A design depicting "Baking as Art" | Source

5 Things About Oven's

1. Which oven is best for baking? What are the differences between electric and gas ovens?

  • Most people say that gas is better for cooking on the the stovetop; allowing instant temperature control, while the electric stovetop takes time to reduce or increase temperature accordingly. The same people would say the electric oven produces much better baked goods, because electricity will heat the inside of an oven more evenly than gas. In truth, the reality is that the best oven for either job depends much on the quality of the oven regardless of whether it's gas or electric driven. You can reduce your risk for baked oven disasters in any oven by using an oven thermometer and your good sense. You will be able to determine where hot spots are, how evenly your oven cooks, and how to respond to these conditions. By reading the oven thermometer you can tell if your oven's actual temperature is less or more than its gauge reads.

Convection Oven Rule of 25

To adapt baking recipes for cooking in a convection oven;

  • Reduce the cooking time by 25 percent
  • Reduce the oven temperature by 25°F (4°C)

2. Is a Convection oven better for baking? How is it different from a regular oven?

  • Besides making more efficient use of the oven's interior and the energy output of the heating elements, the forced air of a convection oven produces wonderfully flavorful browned foods. The internal fans blow hot air across the surface of breads, brownies, cookies, cakes, and pies, helping to draw off excess moisture, speeding up the crustiness and caramelization features that every baker values when preparing baked goods. The convection oven cooks foods more evenly than conventional ovens. You are able to bake more than one pan of goods at a time because of the freedom from hot spots—the fans circulate the hot air baking everything at the same rate. As you can see, a convection oven not only saves time by allowing multiple batches to cook all at once— it also saves a ton of energy cost by getting things cooked in less time and with less heat than a regular conventional oven. (Conventional ovens work by heating the oven with an element from the bottom of the oven with baking racks located above it. There are a few exceptions, but usually baked goods have to sit on the middle rack during baking to prevent the heating element from making direct contact. Not nearly as efficient as the convection oven design.)

NuWave Infrared Convection Oven

3. What's the difference between convection ovens and the new speed ovens?

  • The super-fast speed ovens, which can bake more than 15 times faster than conventional ovens, were actually developed for the fast paced commercial high-volume food service environment, like sporting evens and fast-food restaurants. This is accomplished by using a combination of high-speed convection for browning along with controlled bursts of microwave energy for even cooking of the interior. You can find models for the home cook these days. The time difference is remarkable, cooking a souffle in as little as 2 minutes, a loaf of artisan crusty homemade bread in 10 minutes, and even a roasted chickenin 15 minutes; each resulting in impressively yummy foods. (NuWave and Sharp have the best speed oven products for the money. You can find TurboChef models costing several Thousands of dollars that are professional grade.You will have to weigh the price against your needs for yourself.)

Some convection ovens are advertised as "infrared" which is simply in reference to the heating element. This is still a convection style oven.

 

INTERNAL TEMPERATURE GUIDE FOR BAKED GOODS

BAKED ITEM 
TEMPERATURE 
Soft white breads 
190°F (88°C)
Crusty artisan breads 
210°F (99°C) 
Layer cakes 
190°F (88°C)
Cheesecake
150°F (66°C) 
Crème brûlée
175°F (79°C) 
7-minute frosting
160°F (71°C) 
Lemon curd
170°F (77°C) 
Crème anglaise
180°F (82°C) 
Swiss meringue
130°F (54°C) 

4. Do different items require different oven rack positions when baking?

  • If you are not cooking in a convection oven, things will bake very differently depending on where you place them in your oven. For the best chance for even baking, place your goods in the middle of your oven. If a recipe doesn't tell you to place items in the middle, assume this is where they belong. Those things that need a very crispy bottom (pie's with extra juicy fillings) should be baked on the bottom third of the oven. Baking time will not differ, but the bottom will get particularly brown. Placing things in the upper third of your oven will promote browning on the top of the item (your lemon meringue pie would be placed here so that the topping gets nicely brown while the lemon curd is protected).

 

5. How long does it really take to preheat an oven?

  • Many of the foods we must bake rely on contact with an initial blast of heat  to get the process kicked-off. While starting with a cold oven for baked beans might make sense because reaching a designated temperature is the indicator for being done, with baking it is an entirely different story. For example, bread dough won't have any "oven spring" if it gets placed in a cold oven; the baking powder in biscuits loses its punch if the biscuits don't begin baking right away. If saving energy is of concern, I recommend you get to know your oven and how long it takes to reach adequate temperature. Then figure out at what point in the recipe process you will need to kick-on the oven so it is hot enough at the moment you need to begin baking.

 

Comments for Baking Guide - Whats the difference between the many types of ovens...

Submit a Comment

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 

    3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

    Great hub. I've been mostly alternating between the microwave and my electric oven (I prefer it over gas!). Now I'm going to try use my toaster oven I got last summer from my dad.

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