Desserts shops and easy microwavable premixes can only do so much to sate your appetite before your fingers start itching to make your own baked goods.
Days, maybe months pass by as you consider whether or not to actually get an oven. But rest assured, your money won’t go to waste! After all, you can make more than just desserts in your oven, you can make whole meals there too!
So now that you’ve got your brand new convection oven all set up, but there’s so many functions and dials!
Here’s an easy guide to learn all you need to know about it.


Difference between Convection and Conventional Ovens

Convection ovens, conventional ovens, deck ovens, even rotisserie ovens. There are several different kinds of ovens in the market for you to buy. This is not even delving into all the different kinds of brands and models there are out there.
But for the average home baker, there is only one question when considering oven types.
“What’s the difference between convection and conventional ovens?”

Conventional Oven Convection Oven
It has 1 source of heat at the bottom. So hot air rises from the bottom up. It has a fan system to make sure the heat is circulated throughout the oven.
There are hot and cold air pockets that can make cooking food be slower. Heat is more consistent and temperature is more even.
There is no way for moisture to escape the oven quickly. So it can take longer to cook foods that are meant to be dry. The exhaust fan helps to pull out moisture. Which is good to keep baked goods at the right moisture and crispiness.
Good for recipes that need to rise a lot as the other oven might finish cooking the outside of your batter before the inside is done rising. It can accidentally dry out certain baked goods like bread or flan. In this case, try adding a water bath below or beside your baked goods to keep moisture level high.


Why Not Just Use A Microwave Oven?

There are many recipes that can be made in a microwave oven, and many even without an oven at all.
However, if you really want to bake different kinds of desserts, you will need a proper oven. Many, more complex desserts need things that an oven can’t provide. Even if you wanted to do some troubleshooting on a cake you’ve messed up, a microwave is lacking in certain areas to find out what went wrong in your recipe.
Some reasons why a convection oven is better are:

  • Some ingredients need to be cooked slowly
  • You can use a double boiler method because ovens have racks
  • Your baked goods can be larger as microwaves tend to be small
  • Most online recipes assumes you are using a convection oven


Common Dials on Convection Ovens

Different models of convection ovens will have different numbers of dials depending on their manufacturer. However, not to worry! They’re very easy to learn.
There are possibly 4 different types of dials on your convection oven:
1. Temperature
2. Timer
3. Fan
4. Heating Mode
Some ovens that are smaller will have 3 dials instead and may combine their Fan and Heating Mode settings together, usually as different mode settings.

Temperature and Timer dials are self explanatory. The Temperature dial adjusts how hot you want your oven to be. The typical household convection oven has a maximum temperature setting range of 250°C to 300°C. Whereas the Timer dial allows you to set how long you want to bake your food.
The Fan and Heating Mode dials are the interesting ones however.

The Fan dial’s function is only to turn the exhaust fan on or off. Some of the more higher end models of ovens that have 4 dials may also add on any additional features to tie it to the Fan dial. For example the Cornell CEO-TS35L.


The Heating Mode dial switches between several different types of heating which helps you to which direction you want the heat to come from. Some dessert recipes like a burnt cheesecake require you to focus heating the top of your cheesecake to get the burnt effect without over-baking the rest of the cake.

Common Functions on Each Dial

This guide will teach you how to quickly identify and understand how to read them, no matter what they look like. We will use the previously mentioned Cornell CEO-TS35L convection oven’s symbols as an example because they are simple and easy to understand.
Fan Dial (Called the rotisserie function for this oven model)

A simple fan symbol means that your exhaust fan will be on. Increasing overall temperature consistency but reducing effectiveness of targeted heating modes.
As part of the rotisserie feature added on for this particular oven model, the rotisserie function will be turned on, but the exhaust fan will not be on so moisture levels will be higher as your food bakes.
Both the rotisserie function and the exhaust fan will be turned on for a more even and crispy surface of whatever you have stuck on your rotisserie bar.

Heating Mode Dial (Called the Mode Control for this model)

The heating element above is turned on.
The heating element below is turned on.
Both heating elements are turned on.


Thus, you can now set forth towards a new chapter in your baking journey with a new and better understanding of your convection oven.
WIth so many recipes to try out, where do you start?
If you’d like some guidance in a fun and easy atmosphere rather than going solo on your first attempt at proper baking, try taking one of our baking classes. We have certified dessert chefs to teach you how to make delicious desserts while sprinkling in helpful tips along the way!