The goal of a convection oven is to circulate evenly heated air throughout the interior oven cavity. Unlike conventional ovens, which use an upper and lower heating element to cook foods, convection ovens utilize a third heating element and a fan to move heated air around the dishes, which promotes even temperatures in the oven, resulting in foods being cooked faster and with even results. Nancy’s Kitchen states convection ovens reduce overall cooking time by 20 percent even though the foods are prepared at a temperature 20 percent lower.
Conventional Gas Cooking
Conventional gas ovens work by introducing gas to the pilot light, which raises the temperature to prepare foods. Traditionally, a gas oven features a thermostat on the main gas line, and when the oven knob is activated, gas is released to the pilot light and small flames are ignited. The thermostat monitors the temperature within the oven, and when the set temperature is met, the safety valve cuts off gas flow to the pilot light. In a typical gas oven, there is a lower main heating element joined by a broiling element at the top of the oven interior.
Perhaps the main drawback of a conventional gas oven is the lack of air circulation. Because there is no fan circulating the air, heat can become blocked due to large pots and pans, which creates hot pockets of air that can cook foods in that area faster than in different spots of the oven. When this happens, the user must manipulate the pots and pans on the racks throughout the cooking process, which may result in unevenly cooked foods. A major drawback for a convection oven is the difference in cooking times and temperatures when compared to a traditional oven. Due to the swift cooking properties of a convection oven, recipes must be reworked for this type of oven.
As of February 2011, convection ovens typically cost more than a conventional gas oven. The mid-grade Whirlpool WFG374LVS gas oven features an MSRP of $800 while the comparable Frigidaire FGGF3054KF Convection Range is priced at $1,150.