FACTORS WHICH AFFECT COOKING
Several factors which influence timing and results in conventional cooking are exaggerated by microwave speed..
From conventional cooking you are familiar with the idea that more food takes more time.
Two cups of water take longer to boil than one.
Size of food is important, too.
Cut up potatoes cook faster than whole ones.
These differences are more apparent in microwaving, since energy penetrates and turns to heat directly in the food.
Knowing what affects the speed and evenness of cooking will help you enjoy all the advantages of microwaving.
Piece Size: In both conventional and microwave cook-ing, small pieces cook faster than large ones. Pieces which are similar in size and shape cook more evenly.
Starting Temperature: Foods taken from the refrigerator take longer to cook than foods at room temperature. Timings in our recipes are based on the temperatures at which you normally store the foods.
Density of Food: In both conventional and microwave cooking, dense foods, such as a potato, take longer to cook or heat than light, porous foods, such as a piece of cake, bread or a roll.
Quantity of Food: In both types of cooking, small amounts usually take less time than large ones. This is most apparent in microwave cooking, where time is di-rectly related to the number of servings. Shape of Food: In both types of cooking, thin areas cook faster than thick ones. This can be controlled in micro-waving by placing thick pieces to the outside edge with thin pieces to the center.
Height in Oven: In both types of cooking, areas which are closest to the source of heat or energy cook faster. For even microwaving, turn over or shield vulnerable foods which are higher than 5 inches.
Boiling: Microwaves exaggerate boiling in milk-based foods. A temperature probe turns off the oven before foods boil over. Use a lower power setting and watch carefully when not using a probe. Prick Foods to Release Pressure: Steam builds up pressure in foods which are tightly covered by a skin or membrane. Prick potatoes (as you do conventionally), egg yolks and chicken livers to prevent bursting.
Round Shapes: Since microwaves penetrate foods to about 1 -in. from top, bottom and sides, round shapes and rings cook more evenly. Corners receive more energy and may overcook. This may also happen conventionally
Bury Vulnerable Foods: Foods which attract microwave energy, such as cheese or meat, should, when possible, be buried in sauce or other ingredients. In conventional stewing or pot roasting, meat not covered with liquid dries out.