Living without a microwave oven has been more difficult that I thought. Mine went on the blink a while ago.
I've never cooked meals in the microwave. The one I had was basic: a dial for low, medium high; another for the timer. I only ever used it for reheating food (often) and melting butter or chocolate (sometimes). But because I normally cook in bulk, making several meals at a time, the microwave has been a great help when it came to reheating and having a warm meal.
A lot of people I know have never had a microwave oven and have got along just fine. They reheat food by steaming or giving it a quick fry in a wok. Well, I'm not one of them.
So last weekend, I went out and got a new oven.
Wait, no, no, I am fully aware this is not a microwave oven. I haven't gone daft, I know it's a toaster oven.
See, after giving it some thought, and considering my limited use of the microwave oven, I decided a toaster oven would be better. It can reheat and melt, but also toast. Best of all, it can also bake. Small items and small amounts, of course, but that also meant I could bake just one or two items, enough for one or two people, and, best of all, I didn't have to turn on the big oven, which generates too much heat in my apartment. I live in Malaysia, for goodness' sake; I need warmer days like I need a hole in the head.
The first thing I did was test the temperature of the toaster oven. I cranked the oven up to "Toast", put an oven thermometer on the little shelf inside, and turned on the oven. In just five minutes, the thermometer read 230°C! Even the big oven (the same wayward one of this blog's title) takes 40 minutes to get there.
Fortunately, I already had some sweet yeast dough that I had made earlier and could carry on with my experiment. I pinched off two golf ball-size pieces of dough, shaped and placed them on the oven tray which measures 22cm by 18cm (about 9" by 7.5"). When the dough was proofed, they went into the oven at 180°C and after 20 minutes, out came two perfect buns!
You can't have everything, of course, because notice that the bread took 20 minutes to bake – about 12 minutes too long for buns these size.
But baking them didn't increase the temperature in my flat.
Later in the week, I did another trial. I filled the last bit of sweet dough with some date paste like this: