The Difference Between Convection Cook and Bake
Question: "What is the difference between 'convection cook' and 'convection bake'? I have both options on my Viking stove and I don't know when to use which option."
Answer: Understanding a little bit about how convection heat differs from conventional heat will help you make the right call on which mode to use.
Convection ovens, unlike conventional ovens, use a fan to circulate heated air throughout the oven cavity. By distributing the heat, the oven cooks food more evenly and quickly. Both gas and electric ovens can use convection heat.
"True convection" or "European convection" ovens are electric ovens that have an extra heating element located in the back near the fan. This third element is in addition to the normal top and bottom heating elements, and it allows the fan to blow heated air into the oven.
Sue Bailey, Viking's manager of product development for major appliances, has the following recommendations for you: "The convection cook or TruConvec setting on a Viking oven is for foods that require gentle cooking, such as pastries, soufflés, yeast breads, quick breads and cakes. Because the rear element only is operating on this setting, there is no direct heat from the bottom or top elements.
"Breads, cookies and other baked goods come out evenly textured with golden crusts. This is a very versatile function and can be used for single-rack baking, multiple-rack baking, roasting and for preparation of complete meals. This setting is also recommended when baking large quantities of baked goods at one time, as all six rack positions can be utilized at one time.
"The convection bake setting on a Viking oven is for food that is dense, such as casseroles or meats. The even circulation of air equalizes the temperature throughout the oven cavity and eliminates the hot and cold spots found in conventional ovens. When roasting, cool air is quickly replaced, searing meats on the outside and retaining more juices on the inside with less shrinkage. The hot air system is especially economical when cooking frozen foods."
Sue's willingness to help out brings me to another point: Many manufacturers of pro-style appliances offer significant learning resources to prospective and current owners of their products. Some have video demonstrations on their websites; others provide hands-on classes at special showrooms. Some appliance dealers offer their own product education courses, too. When you've made or are planning to make a major investment in your appliances, these courses are time well spent.