Oven vs. Microwave: What is Best for Baking?
Most modern kitchens have both a conventional gas oven and a microwave, and they are generally used for different purposes. Conventional gas ovens are typically used for roasting, broiling, and braising, while microwave ovens are used for defrosting and reheating leftovers.
These days, however, both conventional gas ovens and microwave ovens are being used for baking. While it can be done, is there really a difference between using a gas oven and a microwave oven to make baked goods? Will there be a significant change in the texture, taste, or appearance of the final product? Is one better than the other for certain recipes?
Let’s find out!
How It Works
To better understand if there will be a difference between the two cooking methods, you need to know how each type of oven works.
Conventional gas ovens use a heating element to heat up the air inside the oven to cook the food. The food is cooked from the outside moving in.
In microwave ovens, it uses magnetic energy to agitate the molecules inside the food and produce heat. The food is cooked from the inside moving outward.
The reason why microwave ovens are now being used for baking items is that many modern brands have a “convection” feature, which makes the microwave function similarly to a conventional gas oven. The microwave function is turned off, and the oven starts heating up the air inside the oven using a heating element. What’s more, the microwave now has the convection function, which allows the air to circulate inside the oven to shorten cooking time and allow for even cooking.
Conventional gas ovens do not have the convection feature.
Does it make a difference?
When you turn on the convection function in a microwave, it will now bake things in the same way as a convection oven: using heated air. Thus, you have a better comparison between a conventional gas oven and a convection microwave.
In a nutshell: yes, there are two key differences between using a conventional gas oven and a convection microwave.
First, using a convection microwave for baking created an evenly heated environment inside the oven, so you are baking the food evenly from all sides. This eliminates uneven hot or cold spots that you might find in a conventional gas oven.
Second, most recipes are designed for conventional gas ovens. If you are going to use a convection microwave, you might need to convert the total baking time to make up for the shortened cooking period.
Where can I use each oven?
Conventional gas ovens are best for recipes where the food items are rising, such as bread or cakes, as the moving air inside a convection microwave may cause the exterior of the food to cook before the interior is done. What’s more, the movement of the air can shift the part of the food that is rising, producing lopsided results!
Convection microwaves are more suitable for recipes where you want an even cooking throughout the whole dish, such as cookies or pies. The exhaust feature also pulls out moisture from the food, so you will end up with crispier skin on roasted chickens if you cook them in a convection microwave.
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The bottom line is that, when it comes to the question of “which is better” between a conventional gas oven and a convection microwave, it will depend on the type of food that you are cooking. In some cases, you will have better results if you use a conventional gas oven. In others, it’s better to use a convection microwave.
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