My oven has convection-roast and convection-bake settings. I understand convection is a heat-circulating fan, but the roast vs. baking part confuses me. What difference does it make to the oven if I leave the lid off a meat pan?
In food language, roast and bake really aren't different. Both are done in an open pan, usually in an oven. We refer to cooking meats and vegetables in an open pan as roasting, while cakes, cookies and pies are baked.
But convection, which uses fans to circulate air, is a different beast. Deb O'Connor of Jenn-Air, which makes an oven that has the convection-bake and convection-roast functions, says the difference is in how the heat is applied while the fan is working.
"Convect bake uses the convection element for heat and the fan to provide air circulation. Convect roast uses the fan, but in addition to the convection element, it will cycle on the bake and broil elements as needed to control the heat. That's why you might see the browning on top of the roast during roasting. It's able to go back and forth and use both."