According to General Electric (GE), in 1907, they released their first line of heating and cooking equipment. Ovens that most people are familiar with work by radiant heat and are called conventional ovens. Radiant heat projects electromagnetic radiation in a straight line. In 1945 the first convection oven, which cooks by air movement was created although it was originally called the Maxson Oven. This was two years before the first microwave oven was created. Today, one of the newer technologies is speed bake ovens which uses microwave technology mixed with other cooking methods for rapid cooking.
According to Fine Cooking, convection ovens use particles such as liquid or air to cook food. The particles move around in all directions in the oven and are not just linear like conventional oven. The particles are more massive than radiant heat so more energy is released. Because the particles interact with each other, heat is distributed evenly. Temperatures can be reduced by about 25 degrees from conventional ovens. There are many manufacturers of convection ovens. GE makes a counter top model referred to as PEB1590SMSS. It is 1.5-cubic-foot and in 2010 costs between $350.00 to $650.00. Examples of other companies producing convection ovens include Sharp, Panasonic, Whirlpool, Bosch and KitchenAid. Companies, including GE have several models with different wattage choices, sizes and prices.
Speed bake, also called speed-cook ovens come in several different configurations. Early models included GE Advantium released in 1999, which combines microwave technology with heat from a halogen light. Other models combine microwave capabilities with conventional cooking or another version is a hybrid between microwaves and convection cooking. The major advantages to speed bake ovens is that they cook very quickly like a microwave, yet have the browning ability of other ovens. According to This Old House, it takes, "As little as 25 minutes for a roast chicken, 15 minutes for lasagna, 10 minutes for baked potatoes, 3 or 4 minutes for cookies."
This Old House says that some of the major "players" in convection ovens include, "GE Advantium, Jenn-Air Accellis 5XP, Maytag Accellis 2X, Thermador CM and KitchenAid Ultima Cook."
Speed bake ovens typically are smaller than convection or conventional ovens. Many are the size of a microwave. The smaller types have a capacity of a ten to twelve pound bird such as a chicken or turkey. A speed bake oven does not allow multi-racks like a convection oven. Examples of cubic foot capacity include GE Advantium at 1.2, Jenn-Air Accellis 5XP at 1.0, Maytag Accellis 2X at 4.1 and KitchenAid Ultima Cook at 1.4.
The price range for a speed bake oven is a definite disadvantage at $1,300 to over $5,000 in 2010. For example, the KitchenAid Ultima Cook costs from $1,469 to $1,519 for a single oven and $3,399 to $3,789 for a double oven with a 1.4 cubic foot capacity. The price places this out of reach for many consumers. Convection ovens are very low priced for the smaller ovens. Prices start at around one hundred dollars, although they can also go up to thousands of dollars depending on size and features.
The intensity of heat can cause "splattering" and the need for frequent cleaning of speed bake ovens. Some models do come with self cleaning and should be a consideration when purchasing. Noise may also be a factor for models that have convection type fans. However, convection ovens have the same issue. The noise factor may be a purchase consideration.
Speed bake ovens cannot cook food that requires low temperatures such as keeping foods warm or slowly braising food. According to This Old House, "Bakers often prefer other ovens for cakes."
- Photo Credit green kitchen image by Leonid Nyshko from Fotolia.com
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