Tag Archives: convection cooking

RV Kitchen – Questions & Answers

Question from a reader:

We purchased a new rig and have never owned a convection/microwave oven before. So on our first trip, my husband and I decided to cook 3 different recipes and the results were all consistent – BAD! I don’t think it is getting hot enough. What am I doing wrong?    Signed – Carol P.

Carol – The day our manufacturers decided to include convection/microwave ovens in today’s RVs – was truly a wonderful day! Having cooked with convection ovens for many years and loving the results from that appliance, this is an area that I enjoy helping people with because it really will make your RV cooking experience even better.

Here are a few pointers …based upon the information you provided.

  • #1 – Read the manuals that came with your unit – manufacturers have different products which can operate differently (even though they are basically the same). I also suggest getting online (if you have access to the internet) to search for videos by folks that have a convection/microwave like the model you have or similar. You can learn a lot of great information this way just listening to other’s experiences.
  • #2 – You stated that you think your unit is not getting hot enough. – Buy an oven thermometer to test the temperature.  Sometimes, we will find that the temps are off as much as 25 degrees.  Of course, we would like it to be perfectly set, but if you know that your unit is off, you can compensate by setting the temperature higher so you can achieve the desired results.   Should you find that your temperatures are 50, 75 to 100 degrees cooler….then I would say that your unit should be checked out by a service technician – it could be a faulty thermostat which would require that part to be replaced.
  • #3 – Traditionally – convection ovens in our bricks & sticks homes operate having access to strong/clean electricity.  RVs are not the case.  We are limited in how much electricity is fed to our rigs and sometimes that electricity is not strong nor clean. The wattage that this oven requires is not very high so the heating and cooking process is slower.  Sometimes, a recipe that requires 25 minutes at 325 degrees will actually need 30 minutes at a higher degree – like 350.  This will be something that you will need to tweak with your own unit to find the ‘sweet spot’ in regards to length of cooking time and right temperature.

UPDATE:  From Carol – I took you’re suggestion about purchasing an oven thermometer and found our convection oven was 100 degrees off.  So, I called the RV dealer and they arranged for a service technician to check it out. He found that the thermostat needed to be replaced. All problems resolved and we love using this appliance. Thank you for your helpful suggestions.

I LOVE a happy ending!   Happy RVing – Lady E Cooper

RV Kitchen – Questions & Answers

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Convection Microwave Oven for RV

Baking with convection ovens all 15 years that I had my restaurant  in my hometown of Rockdale, TX  ….I found I enjoyed this type of baking because of its appearance that this was a professional type of baking. With a fan mounted on the side or back of these huge ovens…air circulated around the food and the results were wonderful. Tops and bottoms of the cookies, bread pudding, cakes, pies and sorted breads…all were evenly brown and cooked to perfection.  Now that we find them these types of ovens in our RVs today…..I am over joyed!!!

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What is  the definition of a  convection oven?  (from Widipedia) A convection oven (or fan-assist oven, fan oven) is an oven that has fans to circulate air around food.[1] Conventional ovens, which do not have fans, rely primarily on radiation from the oven walls, and to a lesser extent, on natural convection caused by temperature differences within the oven, to transfer heat to food. In contrast, the fans in convection ovens allow more heat to be transferred via convective heat transfer. Fans help distribute heat evenly around the food, removing the blanket of cool air that surrounds food in an oven, allowing food to cook more evenly in less time and at a lower temperature than in a conventional oven.

I believe  for the most part, people have trouble with convection cooking because of how they are now connected to our microwaves. We basically have used the microwave for heating purposes  or at least very little cooking, never being able to use any types of metal cookware inside and if  you did…horrible things would happen!!!  Today we can throw that type of thinking out the window, for the convection microwave oven will allow you to use most any type of cookware that can withstand high heat.

Important: Just like before… when using a low wattage microwave…slower heating or cooking would occur, the same holds true with this new RV convection microwave oven design we have today.  Take a look at the data plate located on the inside around the door opening.  I find that convection microwaves start at 900 watts and run up to about 1500 watts.  Higher wattage means faster and more energy efficient cooking.

Convection microwaves will brown and cook the outside of your foods penetrating to the center vs. regular microwaves emit waves that bounce around until they come in contact with the food causing water molecules to excite and generate heat which then cooks the food.

Now for the inside convection micropreparation of using a convection microwave; I know from what I have learned that the lower sided dishes, pans, etc. …..are ‘best’ to use.  For example, casserole rounds or squares.  However, I have used my bundt pan for cakes…and they turn out fine. You will have to experiment with your own unit to see how it works best for you.

Remember, you should always use the circular metal lift tray (that will come with the unit) placing your dish on top of it so complete circulation of air will occur.  If your unit is used and you did not get a lift tray then you will need to purchase one online or at a specialty store. I have found them online for around $20- $25.  Some of you may have a metal tray that reaches from side to side that hangs on plastic hooks. This is for double dish baking and/or using those 9×13 dishes or some other size that prevents you from using the circular lift tray. When you using the lift that fits from side to side, know that you will need to stop your unit half way through the cooking process and rotate because it is imperative to allow the air to transfer over the item evenly. (Note: if you don’t turn the dish…. there is a good possibility that your food will burn.)IMAG0310

All convection/microwaves are real good about just allowing you to plug in the baking information it requires. First, preheating is a must. With good clean electricity, preheat time should be around 10 to 13 minutes.  Place the lift tray inside during the preheat stage.  Once it beeps letting you know the preheat is complete, place the dish inside and set the cooking time. Higher wattage will require less time (about 25% less) or the drop in temperature used (about 25%).  Lower wattage units will remain the same and in some cases require more time than what is stated on the recipe. Again, you will have to experiment with your unit to see what works best.

You can use aluminum foil inside your unit on convection settings.   I suggest not to use in very high temps (over 400 degrees) and pass this information on to others as a ‘safe’ procedure.

This unit will do combination cooking also, where you can use convection cooking for a time and then cook with the microwave, as well.  70% of the power comes from the convection baking…..and 30% comes from the microwave.  Use this setting when your recipes calls for an hour or more of cooking time. Using this feature will reduce your cooking time by about 25%.  If the cooking time is 45 minutes or less….just use the convection baking only.

There is so much to learn about convection baking that I will have to continue to write about in the future.  I do hope that you will use your RV

Convection Microwave Oven RV – learn to use it to the fullest capabilities because it does do a beautiful job and is a wonderful alternative to the propane oven.

Happy RVing!

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