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Convection ovens claim to cook food faster than conventional ovens. What makes a convection oven different is a small fan installed in the back of the oven that blows when the oven is in use to circulate hot air more evenly throughout the oven. These ovens attempt to compensate for the scientific fact of heat rising, which causes the top rack of an oven to be warmer than the bottom rack. Chefs however, are divided on whether or not convection ovens actually cook food faster or just cook the outside layer of foods faster. Save yourself some money by using an extremely simple technique to make your conventional oven cook like a convection one.
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Open your oven and arrange the racks so that at least two racks are in the oven, with one on the top most shelf and one on the bottom-most shelf position. Make sure there is enough space between the top of the oven and the top rack, as well as the bottom rack and the one above it, to accommodate your baking dish and any rising that may occur.
Preheat your oven to the temperature setting as required by your recipe. While waiting for the oven to heat, look at the total required cook time for your pastry, casserole, bread or meat. Divide the total cook time in half and write these figures down.
Place your dish in the oven on the top rack. Set a timer for half of your total recommended cooking time. Close the oven door. Wait for the timer to go off and when it does, move the dish to the bottom shelf in your oven. By moving the dish position in your oven during cooking you achieve the same effect that a convection oven attempts to, but with greater success, according to Chef Leslie Bilderback. Set the timer for the remaining cooking time and, when done, remove the dish from the oven to check that it is cooked all the way through and to your liking.