Q: If the fan-forced function isn’t mentioned in a recipe should you assume it’s not fan-forced? And how do you adapt a recipe to use the fan-forced setting?
A: Most recipes will mention the fan setting if using it and you can usually safely presume it is using the conventional setting if it doesn’t. The difference between a conventional or static setting and a fan-forced setting is: a conventional setting uses the heating elements in the top and base of your oven with no fan while a fan-forced setting uses the fan at the back of your oven plus the heating element around it. The benefit of this is that the fan will help distribute the heat in your oven and will generally mean that you will get a more even heat.
The thing to understand with a fan-forced setting is it isn’t a hotter heat, due to the fan, it’s just a more intense one – kind of like how the wind-chill factor is measured – only at the other end of the temperature scale – the fan makes the heat more intense. So this means you need to make some adjustments to compensate for this and I find the best way is to reduce the temperature in the recipe by 20°C and still bake for the recommended time.
Q: When is the fan-forced setting best used?
A: Personally I use it as my default setting as I find I get more consistent results with it but it is particularly good to use for bakes that require high heat as they really benefit from the added intensity. Where it isn’t good is for those bakes that require long, slow, gentle baking like meringues or dense fruit cakes. The added heat intensity is just too much.
Watch the video of Anneka's answer to this Q&A below: