Undoubtedly baking is fun, but it is so, even more, when you understand your kitchen appliances that performs this function. While the markets are flooded with the latest modes of OTG, microwave, and convection ovens, understanding which one to bring home and use for specific cooking needs indeed requires some prudence and in-depth study.
Here we help you decode answers to some of the most common yet seldom answered questions surrounding the three most common versions of baking appliances-OTG, Microwave, and Convection Ovens. We talk about their similarities, differences, and which one to use for specific cooking needs. We also help you decide which of these appliances should make a place in your kitchen based on your needs.
OTG-The Baker’s Delight
An OTG or Oven Toaster and Grill is a compact model of a traditional oven that is ideal for baking, toasting, and grilling functions. It is designed in a way to enhance its heating technology and deliver the best results while baking.
An OTG consists of two heating coils with an option to switch on either one or both while cooking. Once the coils are heated they dissipate heat that evenly cooks the food placed in the OTG chamber. Since the heating coils take some time to heat up, therefore the cooking time increases in an OTG.
An OTG is considered one of the best appliances for baking cakes as it gives an even brown crust while retaining its moisture. Usually, both the heating coils are switched on while baking food items in an OTG while only the upper coil is used while grilling and toasting food pieces. Depending upon your family size you can choose an OTG in sizes 10 to 50 litres.
When we polled a Facebook group of bakers, they unanimously voted for OTG for baking cakes and cookies. Hence, we can rightly call them a baker’s delight!
Related Reading: How To Use An Oven
Microwave Oven: The Modern Kitchen Addition
Microwave ovens are incredible cooking appliances that cook and heat food using electromagnetic waves. The microwaves inside a microwave oven are created using a device called a magnetron. These microwaves are reflected by the metal in the interior of the oven and then absorbed by the food. The absorbed energy makes the water molecules in the food vibrate, thus producing the heat needed to cook the food.
The food inside a microwave is placed on a turntable that constantly rotates ensuring that the food is cooked and heated evenly from all sides. Microwaves used in households come in capacities ranging from 15-35 litres or more and should be picked depending on the family size.
Solo Microwave ovens are best suited for reheating, defrosting, and cooking while their advanced versions called Convection Microwaves can perform some more functions than their basic counterpart.
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Convection Microwave Oven: The Versatile Kitchen Star
Simply defined, a convection microwave has the goodness of both a conventional oven and a modern microwave. It comes with microwave technology along with an extra heating element and fan to help you bake, roast, grill, and reheat food all through a single kitchen appliance. The extra heating element and fan upgrade your normal microwave into an advanced oven that can perform versatile cooking functions.
Food in a convection microwave oven is cooked faster and better compared to other ovens. It helps to achieve even cooking, in better browning of pizza crusts, pies, tarts, and cookies. Achieving desired crispiness is possible through a convection microwave oven. It works well for other basic functions like reheating, boiling, defrosting, and cooking as well.
For a family of 2 to 4 members, a convection microwave oven or 15-20 litres works well, while for a family of 4-6 members, 21 to 30 litres is fine and for big families, a 30+ litre capacity microwave oven is the best.
A good convection oven can be put to multiple uses. It helps you bake cakes, bread, and pizzas, cook noodles, rice, pasta, popcorn, or grill kebabs, chicken, fish, and other tandoori items besides reheating milk, tea, coffee, and food. It also works well to defrost frozen meat, vegetables, and fruits as well.
Related reading: Can I Use Stainless Steel In Ovens?
Baking/Grilling in an OTG Vs Convection Microwave Oven
A question that clouds every baker’s mind… yes, though both OTG and convection ovens can be used for baking which one should you opt for?
Well, if you prefer serious baking and not the instant stuff then an OTG should be your preferred choice. It has a reputation for perfect baking, toasting, broiling, and grilling. An OTG oven gives you the perfect cakes, muffins, bread, pizza, tarts, pies, rotisserie chicken, baked vegetables, roasted chicken, and kebabs. It is the ideal alternative to deep-fried dishes like baked samosas, baked cutlets, and roasted peanuts.
Having said that, if you prefer instant baking or want to try some fast and quick recipes, then an oven with convection mode is what you need. They are more versatile and hence better for a general household cooking. However, since an OTG is designed for baking and grilling it is believed that it gives a better crust to your cakes, muffins, and tandoor dishes as compared to a convection oven.
Note that the cooking duration is more in an OTG compared to a convection oven because, in convection, the hot air is circulated to quickly cook the food. An analogy to help you understand would be to think about when will you feel colder- a cold day when the air is still or a cold day when it is windy.
Who Should Buy an OTG?
If you are a serious home baker who wants to bake with perfection or get that perfect crust on the chicken and paneer tikkas then an OTG is designed for you. However, you need to be patient with the cooking time and speed of the appliance to cherish all the tastes that it offers.
Who Should Buy a Solo Microwave Oven?
If you love your food hot, sizzling and fresh, go for a solo microwave that helps you reheat milk, tea, coffee, and food within seconds. It cooks within minutes and is the perfect choice for instant food lovers. But, it isn’t suitable for baking, roasting or toasting food.
Who Should Buy a Convection Microwave Oven?
If you want the best of both an OTG and microwave then shell out a little more from your pocket and opt for the convection microwave oven. You can try a wide range of dishes from baking, roasting, grilling, toasting to broiling to get the best delicacies on your plate. It gives you the liberty to try different cooking methods and enjoy a sumptuous meal. Besides cooking and baking, it gives you the dual benefit of reheating your food and enjoying all the advantages of a solo microwave too. Cooking further becomes seamless with the ‘auto cook’ feature that makes this appliance, even more, user-friendly.
OTG Vs Microwave Oven: Which one should you buy?
|Oven Toaster Grill||Convection Microwave Oven|
|Best kitchen appliance for traditional baking, toasting and grilling.||Can cook a large variety of dishes|
|Has customized broiling and grill settings||Ideal for reheating food, grilling and baking.|
|Adds crispiness to kebabs, cutlets, and pizzas||Can perform baking, broiling, grilling, and toasting functions as well|
|Can bake and grill larger quantities of food as compared to Microwave Oven||Performs the functions of both a traditional oven and a solo microwave|
|Consumes less power than a microwave oven||Consumes more power than an OTG|
|Can thaw food items at low temperature but does not have an exclusive defrost feature||Cooking is faster and easier.|
|Cannot reheat or cook food||Can reheat, cook and even helps in fermenting certain types of food items|
|Can thaw food items at low temperature but does not have exclusive defrost feature||Is equipped with an exclusive defrost mode to thaw and defrost frozen food items.|
|It is light and easy to move around||Comparatively heavy, bulky, and difficult to shift|
|Moderately priced||Comparatively priced higher.|
With knowledge about all the above factors and knowing the differences between an OTG, a microwave and a convection oven, you can make the right choice for your kitchen and enjoy a wide range of lip-smacking delicacies through some smart cooking.