The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

On The Table

May 23, 2012

Cheryle Finley: Convection is perfection when it comes to baking

JOPLIN, Mo. — As I settle into my almost-complete kitchen, I’m finding more and more to love about it.

The best item so far is my new Frigidaire stove. When it came time to buy a new oven, I wanted a free-standing stove, as opposed to the wall oven and cook top. I’ve said before how much Ryan Knell at Lowe’s helped me with many kitchen decisions, including steering me toward this particular stove.

When we first moved into our home, it had a built-in oven about the size of an Easy Bake. Honestly, it would not even accommodate a 9-by-13-inch pan.

We replaced it with a convection oven, not on purpose, but because I found it at a good price. That oven eventually lost its lighted display, but I never missed it once I got used to it being gone.

The first thing I baked in my new oven was a big batch of cupcakes for my grandson Atlas’ birthday.

Thanks to convection, I cooked 24 cupcakes in eight minutes.

The big difference is the fan. With fans circulating the heat around inside the oven, heat evenly surrounds the food so there’s no hot spots. The steady heat supply cooks food faster and helps it brown more evenly.

I can take advantage of the extra racks in my oven and won’t have to rotate the baking pans to ensure even cooking. I could easily have made 48 cupcakes at one time just by using two oven racks instead of one. It’s perfect for parties or big family dinners.

Another benefit of the convection oven is the improved energy efficiency. I can lower the cooking temperature by 25 degrees or shorten the cooking time. All ovens are different, and trial and error will be your best option to learn what works best for your oven and cooking needs.

Something else I like about my new oven is the quick-boil cook top. I put on a half-full pot of

water for some pasta, then stepped away for a few minutes. When I came back, there was about an inch of water boiling in the bottom of the pot.

There’s a lot to be said for reading the owner’s manual completely and thoroughly. It seems as though the new stove boils water in three to four minutes. It’s much faster than what I was used to with my old cook top.

I have always said I like to cook, but I love to eat. After only one cupcake batch and one pot of pasta, I see loving to cook in my future. When it comes time for you to purchase a new oven, look at a convection, especially if you like to bake, or if you’re interested in spending less time in the kitchen.

My brother-in-law, Bruce Finley, sent me an email with some ideas that I would like to share:

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