Microwave or Oven? Convection micro or OTG …choices choices? Griller should be there? Maybe! Hot air circulation, dry heat hmmm — crust formation, uniform heat distribution required? – Yes! I need that. Electromagnetic waves ——–what is that? Let me-check oven online? Maybe the storekeeper will know that . . . . . AND the thoughts in the mind go on and on and on.
We are confused, what is right and what will be the right choice? Here is a post that will answer most of these questions in your mind. Be with me and if I am missing out something; please write back in the comments. I would love to have your points, feedback, and tips!
There are many products in the market and that certainly adds so much to the confusion. So, I have tried to categorize them.
Types of Microwave Oven & OTG
1. Solo Microwave Oven
This is the basic kind of microwave and comes with ‘microwave only’ mode. It provides uniform heating for defrosting, reheating and also for cooking small quantities of food. The point to remember here is you cannot grill or bake anything in a solo microwave. An example of this would be Morphy Richards 20MS 20-Litre Solo Microwave (Black).
2. Grill Microwave Oven
A grill microwave oven is a solo microwave equipped with heating coil on the top part. This can be used to grill, toast or roast food too. Grilling can be used in combination with a microwave. The grill comes as a mode or setting in microwaves. This requires the use of a grilling plate or a rack, which brings the food closer to the grill. An example of this is IFB 25PG3B 25-Litre Grill Microwave Oven (Black/Floral Design).
3. Convection Microwave Oven
A convection microwave uses a combination of the two technologies: 1. regular microwave and 2. convection oven. It can be used to bake anything cookies or cakes. There is a fan and a heating element to circulate hot air uniformly in the microwave. As a result, the food takes time to cook and comes out more ‘browner’ than you would get in a solo microwave. An example of this is Morphy Richards 23MCG 23-Litre Convection Microwave Oven (Black).
An Oven Toaster Griller (OTG) can reheat, keep warm, grill, barbecue and most importantly, bake food items. It has heating coils on the bottom and on the roof of the oven. This heating element converts electric energy into heat to create high temperatures at which the food bakes. All the OTG’s have the option to switch on either one or both coils. For grilling, you need to heat the top coil and for baking, you need both coils to be heated. An example of this is Morphy Richards 24 R-SS OTG 24 L Stainless Steel, Black.
An OTG is a baker’s delight- you can bake crisp cookies, spongy brown muffins, and even bread to perfection using an OTG.
What is the difference between a Microwave and an OTG?
1. An OTG oven or an oven-toaster-griller is an electric oven that comes with heating rods. OTG converts electric energy into heat to create a high temperature at which the food bakes. It adds direct heat to food to cook it. I believe an OTG bakes better than a convection microwave but, at the same time, it cannot be used to heat/defrost food.
2. The thermostat in the oven (if there is one) measures the temperature and adjusts the current through the element to maintain the temperature. Some ovens (convection) also have fans that uniformly distribute the heat. These ovens with fans are much more efficient as they uniformly distribute the heat.
3. Another point that comes to my mind is that — An OTG is slower than a convection microwave oven. I mean time-wise. Example – the OTG will require 15 minutes of preheating, whereas the microwave oven will require only 5 minutes of preheating.
4. An OTG has a front door, removable wire rack. Baking pans or sheets are used for food.
5. OTG is ideal for professional bakers or people who are looking for a dedicated appliance only to bake, grill and toast.
If we talk about Microwave oven; it has its own pros and cons
1. A microwave oven is a type of oven that uses microwaves to heat up food. Microwaves are a type of electromagnetic wave that stays somewhere in between radio wave and infrared radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum. Understood. Very clear?
2. Now let me simplify how the microwave oven actually works. When we place the food inside the microwave oven, the oven throws microwaves at the food. The waves are then absorbed by the fat, water, and other substances inside the food which start heating up the molecules of the food – the heat then travels outwards, heating up the rest of the food. That is the reason we say — microwaves heat the food from the inside out.
3. A convection microwave also has a heating element and a fan that distributes heat evenly. This provides a baking or browning effect.
4. You can cook a whole meal in a convection microwave. Plus, a microwave also has the advantage of speed. That makes it super convenient for us busy women.
5. Best Microwave Ovens have different modes to set before you start using. Make sure that you have set the Oven/Bake mode before starting to bake. Normally, the default mode is Microwave i.e. heating.
6. It is safe to use porcelain plates and bowls in the microwave. The thing you will need to avoid is gold or silver-colored paint, because of the metal content present in such paints.
7. Pyrex is another microwave friendly material that is safe to use. La Opala and Corelle crockery is made from Pyrex.
8. You can also use Silicone bakeware for making cake, muffin, pudding, etc.
9. A glass top can be used, but not those which have some golden or silver lining as they may spark, However, avoid metal utensils in the microwave mode only unless you are using it in the grill and convection mode.
10. Aluminum bakeware for (cake etc) can be used in microwave only if you are using convection mode and provided your microwave has the option. Normally, it is written on the utensil itself about its safe usage
11. If you are still confused about bakeware that works in your microwave.
12. The easiest way to understand this —when using only microwave mode– If any vessel remains cold and the food gets hot, that vessel is ideal to use. If it gets little warm (the vessel) then to you can use it though if it becomes hot, then you should avoid it for microwave cooking but remember — (the same “doesn’t” apply on baking).
Common Myths regarding Microwave Ovens
Some people believe that using microwave ovens contaminates food with a radioactive element. But FDA (Food and Drug Association) of America states that microwave ovens do not contaminate food. Microwaves just cause water molecules in the food to vibrate producing heat that cooks food and thus food having high water content like vegetables cook faster. The energy waves generated by a microwave oven are converted to heat and thus they do not contaminate food.
I suggest If you would be baking regularly and you have space in your kitchen to accommodate two ovens, you could consider going for a separate OTG price for your baking needs.
If, however, you need to heat and cook food in your oven in addition to baking; you should get a convection microwave oven online.
A convection microwave cannot offer the same effect of baking like that of an OTG but it is the quickest and closest alternative to one. Similarly, an OTG cannot replicate the variety of cooking or the speed of cooking of a convection microwave.
So, in a nutshell, my suggestion is – If you are going to be an occasional baker and space is a constraint then convection microwave oven will do for you. Buy one device and use it wisely. However, if you are thinking of taking up baking as a hobby then invests in a good OTG – they are not very expensive anyways.