Food characteristics& microwave cooking – LG MD-2653GTS User Manual

Page 27

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Keeping an eye on things

The recipes in the book have been formulated with great care, but your success in
preparing them depends on how much attention you pay to the food as it cooks.
Always watch your food while it cooks. Your microwave oven is equipped with a
light that turns on automatically when the oven is in operation so that you can see
inside and check the progress of your food. Directions given in recipes to elevate,
stir, and the like should be thought of as the minimum steps recommended. If the
food seems to be cooking unevenly, simply make the necessary adjustments you think
appropriate to correct the problem.

Factors affecting microwave cooking times

Many factors affect cooking times. The temperature of ingredients used in a recipe
makes a big difference in cooking times. For example, a cake made with ice-cold
butter, milk, and eggs will take considerably longer to bake than one made with
ingredients that are at room temperature. All of the recipes in this book give a range
of cooking times. In general, you will find that the food remains under-cooked at the
lower end of the time range, and you may sometimes want to cook your food beyond
the maximum time given, according to personal preference. The governing
philosophy of this book is that it is best for a recipe to be conservative in giving
cooking times. While overcooked food is ruined for good. Some of the recipes,
particularly those for bread, cake, and custards, recommend that food be removed
from the oven when they are slightly undercooked. This is not a mistake. When
allowed to stand, usually covered, these foods will continue to cook outside of the
oven as the heat trapped within the outer portions of the food gradually travels
inward. If the food is left in the oven until it is cooked all the way through, the outer
portions will become overcooked or even burnt. You will become increasingly skilful
in estimating both cooking and standing times for various foods.

Density of food

Light, porous food such as cakes and breads cook more quickly than heavy, dense
foods such as roasts and casseroles. You must take care when microwaving porous
food that the outer edges do not become dry and brittle.

Height of food

The upper portion of tall food, particularly roasts, will cook more quickly than the
lower portion. Therefore, it is wise to turn tall food during cooking, sometimes several

Food characteristics&

Microwave cooking

Moisture content of food

Since the heat generated from microwaves tends to evaporate moisture, relatively dry food
such as roasts and some vegetables should either be sprinkled with water prior to cooking
or covered to retain moisture.

Bone and fat content of food

Bones conduct heat and fat cooks more quickly than meat. Care must be taken when
cooking bony or fatty cuts of meat that they do not cook unevenly and do not become

Quantity of food

The number of microwaves in your oven remains constant regardless of how much food is
being cooked. Therefore, the more food you place in the oven, the longer the cooking time.
Remember to decrease cooking times by at least one third when halving a recipe.

Shape of food

Microwaves penetrate only about into food, the interior portion of thick foods are
cooked as the heat generated on the outside travels inward. Only the outer edge of food in
cooked by microwave energy; the rest is cooked by conduction. The worst possible shape
for a food that is to be microwaved is a thick square. The corners will burn long before the
centre is even warm . Round thin foods and ring shaped foods cook successfully in the


A cover traps heat and steam which causes food to cook more quickly. Use a lid or
microwave cling film with a corner folded back to prevent splitting.


Meats and poultry that are cooked fifteen minutes or longer will brown lightly in their own
fat. Food that are cooked for a shorter period of time may be brushed with a browning
sauce such as worcestershire sauce, soy sauce or barbecue sauce to achieve an appetizing
colour. Since relatively small amounts of browning sauces are added to food the original
flavour of the recipe is not altered.

Covering with greaseproof paper

Greaseproofing effectively prevents spattering and helps food retain some heat. But
because it makes a looser cover than a lid or clingfilm, it allows the food to dry out slightly.

Arranging and spacing

Individual foods such as baked potatoes, small cakes and hors d’oeuvres will heat more
evenly if placed in the oven an equal distance apart, preferably in a circular pattern. Never
stack foods on top of one another.

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