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Convection ovens are put to the test

July 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Convection ovens work by using a fan to circulate the heated air. Food generally warms faster and more evenly. Convection ovens are also more expensive than traditional ovens.ABC7 Eyewitness News teamed up with Consumer Reports to put convection ovens to the test.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window to watch Ric Romero's report.

In "Woman of the Year," Katharine Hepburn tries to win over Spencer Tracy by cooking him breakfast-with disastrous results. In search of a better cooking experience, Consumer Reports tested 64 oven ranges.

"We tested electric, gas, and dual-fuel ranges," said Bob Markovich from Consumer Reports. "One feature we looked at in particular is convection ovens, since they're touted so heavily by manufacturers."

Convection ovens are supposed to speed up roasting and make multi-rack baking more even. But they can also be pricey, so are they worth it?

"First came convection ovens with one fan, then two fans, and now three fans," said Markovich.

Consumer Reports decided to have a cookie bake-off to determine whether more convection fans really mean better-baked cookies.

Samsung claims its "three-fan true convection system cooks food more evenly." Consumer Reports pitted it against a LG range with two convection fans, and a Jenn-Air which has one. The challenge was baking three racks of cookies at the same time.

"The Samsung did a fine job of baking all three racks of cookies evenly, but so did the other ranges with fewer fans," said Markovich.

More convection fans don't necessarily deliver better baking results. Consumer Reports' tests show you don't necessarily need a convection oven at all to get perfect cooking. So you can save money there, too.

Consumer Reports' top-rated electric smooth-top range doesn't even have the convection feature, but it scored very good in baking and is a best buy. It's the Kenmore 9641 range, which retails for about $750.

 

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