by Jack Bradshaw – Motorcader Summer/Fall 2008
Hello, motorcaders, I hope all of you are having a good time traveling this summer in spite of the high fuel prices, but that’s the way it is and we all have to just deal with it.
Bobbie has been asked a lot of questions about the micro-convection oven and how to get the best use of some of the features it has, so we thought we would say a little about how the oven operates. Now, guys, I know you want to know information on how to maintain and fix things on your coach but sometimes the gals have questions too, so let’s give them a chance and maybe you will get a tasty treat from the information. I’ll turn this over to Bobbie now for the rest of the article.
I know it’s not unusual to be intimidated by the convection oven. I was a bit daunted until I got used to it myself. I now love it so much that I bought one for our house. I won’t go into the technical aspects of the microwave-convection oven. Frankly, I don’t know or care about the technical aspects. I just know it works! I will generalize a little on just what happens when you use one, and, for the purposes of this article, I’ll use the instructions that came with the Sharp microwave-convection oven in our motorhome.
A microwave-convection oven is like having two ovens in one. The microwave settings are used to defrost, cook or reheat, just as you would with any microwave oven. The convection settings allow you to heat, bake and roast, similar to the way you use an electric oven. The convection oven, however, cooks faster and more evenly than a standard oven because it has a fan that circulates the heat around the food. The even heat of a convection oven eliminates the burned bottoms on baked goods that tend to occur in the propane ovens. In accordance with the Sharp manual, the convection setting is best used for foods requiring a short (less than 20 minutes) baking time. Because the fan creates a hotter oven, you may find it necessary to reduce your usual cooking time by about one minute for every 10 minutes of baking time. The broil setting is used in the same way that you use a conventional oven to broil.
The best feature on a microwave-convection oven is called Automatic Mix Cooking or Combination Cooking. This feature has two settings. On our Sharp unit, they’re called Low Mix/Bake and High Mix/Roast. For either setting program, the oven for three-quarters of the time called for in a traditional recipe. The Low Mix/Bake setting provides a combination of 10 percent microwave energy and 350-degree oven temperature. Use the Low Mix/Bake setting for baked goods that require more than 20 minutes of baking time like brownies, muffins, and layer cakes. The High Mix/Roast setting provides a combination of 30 percent microwave energy and 300-degree oven temperature. Use this setting for meat, poultry, casseroles and fruit pies. Using this setting, you can cook a 4-pound turkey breast in bout 65 minutes instead of the 90 minutes or so required by an as conventional oven. The meat always turns out moist on the inside and brown and crispy on the outside.
Just like anything else, the microwave-convection oven will take some time for you to get used to. I recommend that you start out by using a couple of the recipes from each section of the manual. Once you become familiar with how it all works, you’ll find it easy to adapt your own recipes to various settings. Don’t be intimidated by your oven. With a little time and some patience, you’ll be cooking comfortably.
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