cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Microwave is driving me mad

thisoldman
Grafter
Posts: 1,220
Thanks: 2
Registered: 06-04-2009

Microwave is driving me mad

Some kind but misguided friend gave me a new sanyo s105aw microwave on wednesday. Having managed to avoid  these "things", for over 69 years, it was with a feeling  of intense trepidation that i tried to use the  cursed thing yesterday.
It has 2 dials : 1 for power settings and 1 for timer.
The first power setting is 700.watts.  The second setting says 85%, the third 66% and the sixth setting 17%.
So i had to become a maths genius to translate these stupid settings into real numbers  ie  watts.
Then I discovered that very few food items  corresponded to any of these stupid settings. A cottage pie was 620 watts, so do I use 700(setting 1) or setting 2 (595 watts?) and how do i calculate the revised times?
There is no indication of how much  time to use for different foods.  eg  a normal sized baked potatoe needs Huh?
I asked a neighbour how long does it take to microwave a baked potatoe. She said try 16 minutes at power 700 then use a fork to test.If it is no good give it some more time?
So last night I prayed for 20 mins then attempted to cook this silly coop cottage pie.
After the requisite time ping (  made me think of Pn pings lol) i opened the door, my heart racing and my bp going thru the roof.
I was confronted by a soggy white  mess, which had the colour been different would have resembled the output of my dog in the morning.
So if any of you good people can assist me in avoiding an explosion,food poisoning,insanity, please fire away.
The basic problem is that none of this stupid machines power settings correspond to any of the food items I have, hence requiring a high degree of arihtmetric gymnastics, which at my old age is clearly not on.
Secondly, the timer gives no clue as how  long to  say........
make a baked potatoe, heat a can of soup, heat a drink etc etc.
This reaaly must be the most stupid product i have ever had the misfortune to use. Unless you kind souls can save me I shall have to go back to oven cooking or contact the samaritans.
18 REPLIES
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

dont heat the soup in a can, put in a bowl , my only tin of condensed Cambells Tomato says 5 mins full power stir after 2 1/2 mins
I do a cup of coffee for 2 mins, A large mug 2 1/2
Wife said on Jacket only 5 mins, try it you can always put in for more
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
Thanks: 51
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

Most modern microwaves are rated by a letter A to E that correspond to their maximum power (My Sharp is E which equals 1000W) most microwavable foods (the usual round of "junk" ready meals etc.) usually give different times for different ratings on the package. I would guess that your 700W is equivalent to rating C, as I recall it 800W is D.
You don't really need to worry about exact figures for the power if the machine has variable settings. If you set the power to say 75% and listen to the machine working you will notice that it stops humming (this is the magnetron in cycle operation) at times, which simply means the power is on for 75% of the selected time, not 75% of the power, the actual power is still the maximum when its being used, its just cut off to allow resting of the cooking food and avoid overheating of some types of ingredients. Microwaves generally work best with products with a high water content: liquids, potatoes (which are almost neat water)
You should remember a microwave doesn't heat by direct heat that gives certain foods a cooked colour, it heats by "exciting" the water molecules within the food, so many types of food can look quite bland (and unappetising)  but are well cooked. You should be more concerned about weight of jacket potatoes rather than time. But in general I find a couple of medium sized spuds will be cooked in around 8 to 10 minutes on full power.
You should find your oven's power rating somewhere printed on the control panel or door. As a last resort, in the case of microwaves the instruction manual might be quite useful.
Once you get the hang of them, they can be a useful tool in the kitchen, but not the B all of everything.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Euge
Grafter
Posts: 502
Registered: 11-10-2007

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

I'm not a big jacket potato kind of guy but normally it's a few minutes in the microwave to quicken things up then put them in the normal oven to finish them off and still end up with a half decent potato.
Soups are a dream in microwaves though, @ 850W it's 2 minutes cooking then stir then back in for 1 minute whilst putting some butter on some bread and stir again before 'serving'.  As with all food cooking you do it till it's done and these minutes and power settings seem to be guidelines and experience shows me things tend to need more time than suggested.
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 25,754
Thanks: 1,116
Fixes: 47
Registered: 14-04-2007

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

I do a good size jacket potato for 8 minutes in my 1000 watt oven.
Scrambled eggs are another quick and simple job........now I'm hungry Roll eyes
My nightly Horlicks gets 2 1/2 minutes.

As per Euge, when my daughter does jacket potatoes in the microwave she also pops them in the oven to crisp up afterwards.
Customer and Forum Moderator.
Product of the Tyrell Corporation
thisoldman
Grafter
Posts: 1,220
Thanks: 2
Registered: 06-04-2009

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

Thanks for info, but i am none the wiser. I have now had 5 different stories re times/power for a baked potatoe.
The manual has 3 pages  all totally useless. As i said the books power settings do not correspond to any of the food in my freezer and im fed up doing the maths.
Please supply    anyone:            following info:
power setting and times  for.....
mug of coffee
can of soup
baked potatoe  medium
scrambled eggs
baked beans
anything else you can think of  PLEASE PLEASE
Euge
Grafter
Posts: 502
Registered: 11-10-2007

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

All of them set to 100% given the 700W
mug of coffee : (depends how cold) 1minute - 1 1/2 minutes
can of soup : 2 minutes let stand for a bit then stir, put back into the microwave 1 1/2 minutes let stand for 1 minute, stir and serve.
baked potatoe  medium
scrambled eggs : No idea, depends on the mass. 1 minute would probably do, until piping hot
baked beans : Same as soup above.
The amount of food in the microwave almost doubles the amount of time needed if you double the contents, but not quite. i.e. 100grams takes 2 minutes then 200grams would take 3 - 3 1/2 minutes.
Reheating a plate of food 4-5 minutes overall but anything over 1 minute usually necessitates stirring halfway through to make sure it cooks evenly. Also it dries food out very rapidly so having meat soaked in gravy helps a lot.
Important: Leave food to stand for a minute after the 'ping' because it's still cooking and contact with metal can cause it to explode a little  Cheesy
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
Thanks: 51
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

Please don't forget, as has already been mentioned if you don't want a dramatic internal firework display and the shortening of the life of your oven...empty anything canned or foil wrapped into a non-metallic container first before cooking.
Having said that, there are advanced microwave cooking techniques that use foil in small sections to avoid overcooking usually thin sections of food.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
jmd
Grafter
Posts: 2,933
Thanks: 2
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

My oven is 750 so for scrambled eggs done in pyrex jug - 2 eggs = 1 and half to 1 and threequarter minutes - I keep taking them out to mix and judge how stiff I want them!  The toast is doing meanwhile in toaster, and kettle ready for mug of tea!
Potatoes - depends on size but medium one 5 mins or so - again checking with fork. If done too long goes hard.
If you have microwave ready meals then use 750 setting and increase by 30 seconds............. that should be ok but if not hot enough just do another 30 seconds.
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,819
Thanks: 1,112
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

IMPORTANT...... if you want to do something that looks like a "well fried/dried fried egg"    make sure it is piereced in the yolk twice..... and leave it alone.....
unpierced eggs WILL explode, and will make a big mess of the inside of the microwave....( and your face, if you get too close as you remove it from the microwave) ..
so a good idea is to put a plastic lid over ANY food that is cooked...... just in case... (saves a bit of cleaning up after ! !.)
I think I was told, that a microwave cooks from the inside to outside..... (as Petlew says, because the microwaves agitate the water molecules in the food)... so the "less" thickness of food on or in the container, the quicker it will cook.....
soup is particular..... it will be very hot in the middle, but cold on the outer surface, there fore , it is necessary to stir it, and replace it after 2 minutes, for a further 2 minutes....
Jacket Potatoes, (of any make) need to be pierced, as for eggs,...... the smaller ones wll take a few minutes, and the larger ones more time...... again, it is "Trial and error",,,,, better to put two smaller ones in, than one big one.....
Never considered Coffee as a worthwhile option, except to heat up a cold one that has been on the desk for a couple of hours,  but I would have thought it would taste better if made fresh, and the time an electric kettle takes to boil a cupful of water for coffee would be about the same time for a microwave.... !
Special instructions regarding "microwave" food products, should always be adhered to.....  but generally DO NOT PUT ANYTHING METAL/METALLISED into the microwave.....
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
Thanks: 51
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

jmdlp, has hit on a good point with microwaves. If in doubt about cooking times under rather than over time, you can always add more time after checking if food is hot right through or not. But don't over do the added time, better to MW for another 30 seconds than for 5 minutes and "burn" it Josie is also quite right about over done spuds, because they are largely water over-microwaving will internally boil away all the water and end up burning the left-over carbohydrates, which is why they go hard.
One other tip is standing time, a spud that appears firm will often soften up after a few minutes standing since cooking continues to some extent after the oven switches off, again this depends on the water content of whatever is being cooked.
Beware of heating anything with jam (or similar products, mince pies at this time of year) the filling can get dangerously hot, and WILL burn your mouth if not aware of it, the pastry can still be cool/tepid to the touch as it doesn't microwave well, usually warming from the heat of the filling.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,819
Thanks: 1,112
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

Quote from: Petlew
pastry ......... doesn't microwave well, ................

Pastry products, such as pasties, pork pies, sausage rolls, steak & kidney/chicken pies, are a no no, as far as microwave ovens go..... the meat will heat up, but will transfer the steam into the pastry, and render it a soggy mess,.... sausage roll will look like it is wrapped in a wet handkerchief, and be just as difficult to eat.!.... use an ordinary oven for heating them up...!...
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,699
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

I hesitate to enter this debate, since our microwave is a Matsui, bought in Currys over 20 years ago, and still works fine (except that the bulb blew ages ago, and I never bothered to replace it.)  I believe that the way they're rated changed after we bought it, so I don't really know what it's rated as now.  With that caveat -
Other than for defrosting food, we always use it on full power, and do the middle of the (usually) 3 power ratings on the packaging.  Stirring in the middle of the cooking  / heating is important, but to be honest I'm not that strict on exact timings, since it's generally used for heating rather than cooking food, so the most important thing is to ensure that the food is heated all the way through.
As to metal - we did have some sparks in the early days , when we put in a cup of tea or coffee to heat up, without realising that the cup had a gold rim around it.  Crazy
Finally, I agree that most things that are only cooked in the microwave look a bit bland, because of the way the cooker works, and pastry heated in it goes soggy, but I've grown to like soggy pastry  Cheesy
I think my overall answer is, don't panic, heat it up a bit, and if it's not hot enough, heat it up some more - you'll soon get the hang of it.
John
N/A

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

The only thing I use the microwave for is warming up soup and ready meals. Have never got to grip with the thing, although have to admit that cooking is not my strong point.
As for jacket potatoes, much better to do them in the oven on a low gas. Streets ahead in taste compared to the microwaved variety.
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
Thanks: 51
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Microwave is driving me mad

Quite right, having pontificated on spuds in a microwave I also much prefer them oven baked, although I cook them at much higher temperatures than you do poppy, preferring 250c  for 1 hour this will ensure a crispy skin (we all do eat the skin don't we? and not throw the best part away, I wash them and add a sprinkle of sea salt while still wet, wrap in foil shiny side in) then if using the grill for a melted cheese topping reducing the temp to 200c for 20 minutes, otherwise the oven is still too hot for the grill element to get to red heat.
Mrs Petlew has a preference for scooping out the potato flesh into a bowl, adding grated cheese and mashing both together with a little seasoning, returning mixture to the skins and grilling under a high heat until golden brown...uhmmm!!
Petlew retires to the kitchen with a rumbling tum...
PS. my Sharp microwave is a combi oven that will cook spuds by a combination of microwave and radiant grill which will crisp the skins and brown them a bit. It's Ok for speed delivering reasonably acceptable JP's, but I still prefer them done in the oven.
PPS. best spuds I've ever found for JP's are medium to large Cyprus, nice flavour, much better than the much vaunted Maris Piper, trouble is Cyprus have a short storage life.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.