Convection/microwave combo-grainlady?

miscindyMarch 7, 2010

I'm close to moving into my new house and will have a convection microwave combo. It seems like it'll use a lot less electricity than the regular range oven for smaller items, thus saving money. I don't actually know anyone who has one though. If you do, please tell me how well it works for different things and what you use it for. Thanks!

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I've been using my Sharp Convection/Microwave for 7-8 years now. We bought it for a new townhouse we moved into, and 4 years later we bought a new home. We removed the new microwave in the new home and put it in the townhouse and took our Sharp with us. That's how much I loved my Sharp.

As with all new appliance, there is a learning curve, but I quickly found I used the Sharp for a large percentage of my baking.

This is what I shared recently on the Cooking Forum:

I have an over the range Sharp Convection/Microwave Oven.

I can bake a loaf of bread in it in 20-minutes, 2 loaves in 25-minutes, and NO preheating, so there is a considerable amount of energy savings there if all you consider is the time used. Since it's a much smaller appliance, you are heating less air space, so there is a considerable savings there.

In the Sharp, most baked goods will bake in at least 25% less time, and some even less time than that, so another savings. I start checking for doneness when half the traditional baking time has passed.

It's a major improvement over a toaster oven OR a microwave because you can microwave, bake, and broil in it in a much larger scale. It will hold a 12-cup muffin pan, 13x9 cake pan, or a tube pan.

On Low Mix Bake, it combines convection heat with microwave power, so the baking quality is much better than when we baked in microwaves. This setting is used for baked goods that require more than 20-minutes baking time. Angel food and bundt cakes, quick breads and yeast breads. This selection will bake in 25-50% less time than a traditional oven.

High Mix Bake, also combines convection heat with microwave power and provides crisp brown exteriors and juiciness for meats. Use this selection for roasts, whole turkey and chicken. They cook in about half the time.

Convection ONLY cooking includes the convection benefit of a high-speed fan which circulates past the heat source and around the food. The super-heated air browns and crisps the food. This feature is used for foods that bake in 20-minutes or less. I can bake 2 12-inch sheets of cookies at a time (I use two Air-bake pizza pans lined with parchment paper) and cookies generally bake in 1/2 the time as in the oven. This setting is used for cookies, biscuits, cupcakes and small muffins.

Hope that helps you out.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 5:24AM
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"Since it's a much smaller appliance, you are heating less air space, so there is a considerable savings there. "

Air costs almost nothing to heat. The energy savings will come from the walls having a smaller surface area. The rate of heat loss is directly proportional to the surface area of the exterior walls (and the gaps around the door). The higher the rate of heat loss, the higher the energy required to maintain a constant temp inside the oven.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:48AM
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billl - Thank you for pointing out my mistake...and giving the proper explaination.

But wait, there's more...

The Sharp Convection/Microwave used .49 KW, to the tune of .03-cents, to bake TWO loaves of bread. Beats the Zojirushi Bread machine which baked ONE loaf for .02-cents AND no holes left from the paddles in the loaves. What a deal. The only thing that is cheaper is to use my Solar Oven, but it's raining today, so the Sharp was the go-to appliance.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 4:12PM
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I have a convection unit in my regular oven and it works really well for some things but for a few things such as muffins develop odd shaped tops unless I turn them. Another thing is my ovens will not heat below 225 so the herb and other drying I purchased this oven for is not posible to do.

Convection ovens are one of those things that you must learn what it will do best.

A convection/microwave with a browning element caught my eye at wally world as it was the first one I have seen with that combination. I am starting to look for a microwave since the one I have had since 1986 is starting to wear thru the plastic controls. So any information is of interest to me.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 12:45AM
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maifleur -

You can dry herbs in your oven by leaving the oven light on. No other heat necessary.

We bought our first microwave in 1979, and it was used and a year old when we purchased it. Our son is still using it. He's a year older than his microwave. It's also large enough to rent to a family of four (LOL). You have to turn a nob to set the time, which stymies young people who are only accustomed to digital.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 6:39AM
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I will have to try drying herbs with the oven light again. The couple of times I tried they molded because of the high humidity we have here. Perhaps now that I use air conditioning it will work. For the few herbs that I use dry I was leaving in my car with the windows cracked. Now I park at home under a tree so my original method is out.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 10:46PM
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Grainlady, we just bought a used motorhome with a Sharp microwave/convection oven. The former owners kept the oven racks or maybe didn't use them. Can I bake/cook without them? I am anxious but a little scared to learn to bake in it. Any other tricks I need to know. Thanks. Judy

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 7:44PM
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I have an older Sharp combo. Here is my experience.
Fruit pies great results but takes practice
Pork  poor results, dries it out even on low
Chicken  good results but timing/power level is crucial
My biggest complaint - determining what rack height, microwave power level and heating element level to use takes practice trial and error. Often get poor results even following the manual to the letter. But to be fair, IÂm a lousy cook

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 12:04AM
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I use the racks, especially for breads and baked goods. Air circulates around your food when it's on a rack to help it bake more evenly and quicker. You may be able to order them from Sharp. If not, you could use a wire cooling rack to raise the item at least a little.

I roast meats in an oven bag in order to keep them moist and save on clean-up. Just follow instructions for using them (make sure you cut the vent holes in them). Place it in an oven-safe dish/pan that will fit on the turntable.

If you are going to roast meat, place a glass pie dish on the turntable and place a wire cooling rack over it. The pie dish will catch the drippings.

Here are some recipes from the Sharp Cookbook that may help you get an idea of what it will do.

4-5 pound round or chuck pot roast
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. dried thyme leaves
1/8 t. pepper
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 onions, quartered
2 carrots, sliced
3/4 c. water
2 T. brown bouquet sauce

Place meat in 4-quart casserole. Pat seasonings into meat. Add vegetables. Combine water and browning sauce; pour into casserole dish. Cover.

Roast 22 to 24 minutes per pound on HIGH MIX or until meat is fork-tender. Allow to stand 5 minutes.

I always bake my pizzas in the Sharp. Preheat oven to 400°F. I bake it on LOW MIX BAKE.

You can bake cookies in a pizza pan on the turntable. If you have a rack you can bake 2 levels at once.

1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. margarine or butter
1/4 c. vegetable shortening
1 egg
1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder

Combine peanut butter, sugars, margarine, shortening and egg; beat until smooth. Blend in flour, baking soda and baking powder. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased round baking pans (12-inch pizza pans work for me - you can also line the pans with parchment paper, if you'd like). With fork, flatten in crisscross pattern.

Bake 12 minutes at 350°F or until set but not hard. Cool on wire racks.
2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. margarine or butter
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1 package (12-oz.) chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts

Combine flour, soda and salt; set aside. Cream together sugars, margarine, oil and vanilla. Beat until creamy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add flour mixture; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Spread mixture into 13x9x2-inch ungreased pan. Set oven for turntable-OFF. Bake 18-22 minutes on LOW MIX or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans. Cut into 32 squares.

Free\-form yeast breads \- Remove turntable from the oven. Shape bread; place directly on turntable. No preheating is needed. Bake for three\-fourths of the time in your conventional recipe on LOW MIX. I take the temperature of breads to check for doneness. Breads are done when the temperature is 195\-210°F. when checked with an instant read thermometer. I bake a panned loaf of yeast bread at 325°F on LOW MIX BAKE \- 20\-30\-minutes, depending on the size of the loaf (on the low rack). Once again, I bake it to the internal temperature between 195\-210°F. 

If you can get a copy of the cookbook, there is great user\-friendly recipes and information that will help you out. My earlier post also has good information to know. 

Good luck! 

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 8:17AM
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Thanks so much Grainlady,

I have googled racks and you can buy them but they want about $15.00 per rack and $12.00 shipping. I'm hoping to bump into some at a flea market. I do have a small cooling rack that sits up about an inch and a even smaller one that would fit in a pie pan. They are in the motorhome waiting for our first trip. I will probably bake some cookies soon after we set sail.

Anyone else, I need all the help I can get. Thanks.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 10:39AM
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Judy, check out bar-b-que racks, you might find one that will fit your oven, prop on metal measuring cups, etc. for height. More ways than one to skin a cat!!!!LOL!!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 10:18AM
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Hey krissie, that a great idea. I will look into that. Thanks. Judy

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 4:45PM
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Hey Grainlady and Krissie, how lucky I am. Today we went back to the place we purchased the motorhome to have a tow bar put on. They have a small retail shop for RVs so we went to look for a oven rack. Our salesman came in to see us and we told him our motor home didn't have any racks with it. He went into the shop and brought back the lowest rack and said they have a microwave/convection oven for the help but no one used the rack, so we got a free rack. Of course they got a bundle out of us for the tow bar, brake lights, etc. I'm happy about the rack anyway.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 11:00PM
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