Microwave Types and Styles
Find out what the latest microwave ovens have to offer
By Sabah Karimi
When you want to heat, defrost, or cook food quickly, without using your regular oven, a microwave oven is your best bet. Newer models offer compact designs and automated cooking features. Microwave ovens are designed to emit high-energy heat waves onto a turntable that rotates the food for even cooking and heating. These kitchen appliances can be used in both residential kitchens and restaurant or cafe kitchens to perform a wide range of functions.
Microwave ovens are designed to heat food quickly and efficiently and generally use less energy than a stove or traditional oven. These heating appliances can cook or steam certain types of food, defrost frozen foods and reheat leftovers. Microwaves are built with a heating element and a fan that circulates hot air inside the oven to cook the food at an even temperature.
Several types of microwave ovens can be used in a residential commercial kitchen. These include over-the-range ovens, countertop microwave ovens, convection ovens, heavy-duty commercial-grade ovens and built-in microwaves that are either raised off the counter or built over a stove.
Over-the-range microwave ovens are installed directly above the hood of a stove and are ultimately a space-saving solution for a smaller kitchen. These microwaves perform all the basic functions of a countertop oven. Countertop microwave ovens are available in a variety of sizes and can fit almost any type of kitchen. These ovens sit directly on the kitchen counter and are plugged into an electric wall outlet. Convection ovens are designed for both residential and commercial kitchens and work by emitting heated air to crisp or brown the food while cooking. Convection microwave ovens are often used to make roast chicken, hamburger and other meats. Commercial-grade microwave ovens are more powerful than a traditional microwave and may have a high-powered fan and heating system installed. These microwaves typically have a capacity greater than 2 cubic feet to accommodate the needs of a cafe, restaurant or bistro. Built-in microwaves are also designed to save space in a kitchen and may be fit into a wall or countertop space as part of a remodeling or construction project.
Capacity ranges for a microwave oven range from compact, mid-sized and large ovens. Compact models are typically 0.5 to 0.8 cubic feet, mid-sized microwave ovens are between 0.8 and 1.4 cubic feet, and large microwaves are 1.4 to 2-plus cubic feet. Be aware that the usable cooking space can be less than half of the stated capacity; the manufacturer's listed capacity includes wasted space in the corners of the oven, that aren't actually beneficial.
Some microwave ovens are made with a stainless-steel exterior and can complement other stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen. Stainless steel is easy to clean and is a very durable material for kitchen appliances. Microwave ovens may also be made out of galvanized steel and acrylic enamel. The cooking surface is typically made of glass or ceramic.
Key features of a microwave oven include automatic defrost setting, sensor cooking that automatically adjusts the power level based on the food type, child-locking mechanism, timed cooking, power level programming for different dishes, shortcut keys, a dishwasher-safe tray, turntable for even heating, and a digital display.
About the Author
Sabah Karimi is a regular contributor to DexKnows.
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