Hi! I recently got into baking and have been trying out recipes in my microwave, which doubles as an oven. Now I want to buy an actual oven just for baking (not the microwave kind) and I have gone through a lot of web sites but I am unable to decide whether to go for a traditional oven or a convection oven. Which is better for baking? Please help!
What is the difference between a fan oven and a fan assisted oven?
A convection oven is any oven that has a fan in it. The fan helps to move the hot air around the oven very efficiently and means that the oven temperature is even throughout - compared with a standard oven which will tend to have hotter and cooler areas.
A fan oven has a fan with a heating element behind it and these are always electric. A fan assisted oven is an oven with heating elements in the oven (top and/or bottom) and a fan at the back. These can be either electric or gas ovens. Usually a fan assisted oven will have the option of cooking with the fan switched on or off.
There is also a combination microwave/convection oven which has a fan and uses microwave energy to speed up cooking times. However we have not used one of these ovens in any recipe testing and we understand that additional adjustments may need to be made for these ovens.
All types of convection oven will cook more quickly and may require adjustments to a recipe's time and/or temperature. Some high end fan ovens have different programmes for baking/roasting etc. and may automatically adjust so it is always best to consult the oven's handbook for specific guidance.
Generally cakes cook well in a convection oven. However some people think that cookies and bread cook better in a more conventional oven as they do not benefit from the dryer air in a convection oven. So it depends on what type of baking you think you may be doing most of. However a fan assisted oven which offers both convection and conventional functions may be the most flexible option if you want to try out a broas range of recipes.
All of Nigella's recipes give oven temperatures for conventional ovens.