Does your food taste odd every time you cook it with your microwave oven? Well, I know exactly what’s wrong, and I can help you out. The food tastes like that because your oven is not cooking evenly- a common microwave oven problem that many users face. In this post, I’ll tell you how to check if your microwave oven is cooking evenly.
Additionally, I’ll also discuss why some microwave ovens don’t cook evenly and what you can do to make your food taste better.
How To Check If Your Microwave Oven Is Cooking Evenly
The checking part is easy- you just need to perform a couple of simple experiments. These experiments will help check if your oven’s cooking evenly by showing its hot and cold spots.
1. The Bread Experiment
Simply put a bunch of bread slices over your oven rack- be sure to set them in the middle. Then, turn the oven on and bake for a bit. After that, take a look at the bread slices and see if they’re all evenly toasted with proper browning. If not, then your oven has a hot spot.
2. Bake A Cake
This is a pretty popular way to test ovens for even cooking since cakes are some of the most temperature-sensitive food items. Just follow a recipe, put a cake in the oven and let it cook. Once done, pull it out and check for uncooked areas. If your oven has issues cooking, the cake might brown somewhat, but it won’t cook fully. It could also rise unevenly.
3. Check Exact Temperature
Often, people leave their oven at a certain temperature and think that their food is getting the right amount of heating, but that can be false. The calibration unit can often fail and make the oven run at different temperatures than what’s shown in the display, leading to uneven cooking.
To check if everything’s working right, get an oven-safe thermometer and then place it in the centre of your oven. Set a temperature, turn the oven on, and then look at the reading. If it’s not accurate, then you’ll know that the cooking mechanism isn’t working right.
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Why Ovens Sometimes Cook Unevenly
If you tried the above and found out that your oven does have an issue with its heating, then the next step is to find out why that’s the case. There are plenty of reasons- some you can fix on your own with a few adjustments. If it’s anything bad, you might need to go a step further and go to a technician. Keep reading to find out what you need to do.
1. Issues With Heating Element
A common reason is something happening to the element. Ovens come with two elements, a broil one and a bake one. Both of these help heat the top and bottom portions of the appliance. If one of these elements malfunctions, it can cause the oven to cook unevenly. Additionally, if there is an obstruction in the way- such as a dish that’s too close to one of the elements- it will also prevent even cooking.
2. Temperature Sensor Malfunction
Another common issue is the temperature sensor not working properly. The sensor has an important role in regulating exactly when and how long the burner heats. If it malfunctions and doesn’t heat up and cool down at the correct times, this can also cause uneven cooking.
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3. Feet Not Level
The feet on the bottom of an oven can sometimes get a little off level. This won’t affect baking, but it will definitely lead to the top heating differently from the bottom. You could use a carpenter’s level to fix that. Take the level and check to see if the oven is resting on all four feet equally. If it’s not, use a coin or something similar to adjust the feet so that it is.
4. Misaligned Rack
Sometimes the rack is not fitted in the oven squarely. If you notice this, pull it out and look at its sides to see if it’s set evenly between the interior walls. It should be completely even, or else this can cause your food to cook improperly. This problem often happens near the hinges of the rack, so make sure you check there first.
5. Stored Pans
When people use larger ovens, they often consider such appliances as extra storage to put recently used or cleaned pans in. That may seem convenient, but it’s the complete opposite if such items stay in even when something is being cooked in the oven. Remember- pans absorb heat on their own. So, whatever you’re cooking might not get all heat it needs, resulting in uneven cooking.
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6. Cooking Several Dishes At Once
We’re all guilty of doing this at some point. I get it- sometimes you might get impatient when you want to make tasty snacks. But believe me, cooking several dishes at once isn’t a good idea. If you really want to enjoy what you make, you’re going to have to take your sweet time and do one dish at a time to get the flavour you expect.
Of course, it’s possible to cook multiple dishes as long as you’re smart with the placement. You just need to make sure each dish gets the proper heat distribution. For instance, when you’re baking, you can keep your dishes side by side, so they get equal heating from below and above. You could even use the same pan to work on multiple items at once.
There is a catch, though- you need to be acutely aware of how much heating the things you put in need, and you need to know the right timing as well. If you’re not good with either, it’s best to stick with one at a time.
7. Broken Control Circuit
This reason is less obvious, but it can have the worst consequences. Ovens come with circuits that help with regulating the time and temperature. The more advanced the oven is, the more problems its circuit is prone to. If the circuit isn’t working right, none of your food will cook properly. At this point, it’s best to take the oven to a technician who can open it up and check that everything is in working order.
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And that’s how to check if your microwave oven is cooking evenly. You might have to make some effort to fix any issues you find, but that means one less major problem for you to deal with. So I encourage you to check your oven thoroughly. If you try the cake method, you’ll get a quick snack out of it too.
Once you’ve done all of that, you should have a perfectly functioning oven to make mouth-watering meals with. The only reason you might bump into more problems is if your oven is super old, but if that’s the case, then it might be time for you to upgrade.
Oh, and one more thing- if you want to check for other issues, you can check out this post too. That’s all for now. Enjoy your food, and see you next post!
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