If you’re like the rest of us, chances are at some point you’ve turned to YouTube in a moment of wanting to learn a new recipe or cooking technique. But sadly, like so many other things in life, what you see from YouTube cooking channels isn’t always what it appears to be. “The magic of TV” where dishes come out picture-perfect every time, nothing ever burns, and everyday home cooks transform into Michelin star chefs right before your very eyes? We’re sorry to say, but it’s mostly bogus. In addition to the endless editing, countless takes, and fancy camera tricks that go into most of these popular shows, YouTube cooks usually have one very important tool most of us don’t yet have in our kitchens — a convection oven.
Convection ovens differ from regular ovens in the way they circulate air, and therefore, heat. A built-in fan distributes the air inside a convection oven evenly to all parts of whatever is cooking inside, which means even browning, and even cooking throughout your dish. They’re also more energy efficient as their fans help them both to preheat and cook food more quickly than regular ovens. Air fryers use a very similar technology, which is undoubtedly why they’ve become so popular in recent years. The quick burst of hot air around the food creates a crisp, even browning without added fats, making this not only a more efficient way of cooking, but a healthier one as well.
There are some instances in which a convection oven isn’t the best choice. When making something delicate like a custard or soufflé, for example, you’ll want a slower, gentler heat applied. The chaotic blowing of a fan inside the oven, while great for many dishes, can wreak havoc on certain foods, particularly desserts. But for the most part, if it’s a golden and crisp, evenly and perfectly cooked result you’ve achieved, a convection oven is likely the cause.
So the next time you feel shamed because your dish didn’t quite come out the way that YouTuber’s did, pause the video and take a peek inside their oven. If there’s a fan inside, take comfort in knowing you’re not the one at fault. Blame your regular oven.
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