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Faster cooking in an oven?

  1. Dec 27, 2006 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    How can food in an oven be made to cook more quickly? Explain why you think that your answer states the most effective method.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    All I can think is by increasing the temperture at which the oven is set. i.e. Let more heat be converted from electrical means into the oven. Sometimes this method results in charcoaled surfaces of the food which is undesirable. I am not sure if this is the most effective method. It probably is the most direct method.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 27, 2006 #2

    D H

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    What kinds of cooking devices do you have in your home?
  4. Dec 27, 2006 #3


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    It's a heat transfer problem. You need to sink heat into the food to the point where its center is hot enough to be considered "done." You are correct that turning up the temperature of the oven will increase the rate of heat transfer from the oven into the food, but there's a problem. The problem is that the outside of your food will burn if it experiences too high a temperature. A large rate of heat transfer means a higher temperature on the surface of the food, thus burning it.

    There are some solutions that can increase heat transfer to the center of the food, without subjecting the outside of the food to excessively high temperatures.

    You can try to increase the surface area to volume ratio of the food -- giving it a larger surface area increases the rate of heat transfer. This is equivalent to putting "fins" on an engine or microprocessor heat sink, to increase surface area and speed up heat transfer.

    Another, more active idea might be to push metal rods through the food. The metal rods conduct heat very well. Another might be to use some kind of elaborate water-pumping mechanism to carry hot water into the interior of the food, where it exchanges its heat away, and is then pumped out. These are the same heat-transfer mechanisms that are used in automobiles, but in reverse. In an automobile, you need to get the heat out of the center of the engine, but the same concepts apply.

    - Warren
  5. Dec 28, 2006 #4
    I am assuming you are sticking a container filled with water at the same or higher temperture than the oven temperture. So the container will be giving heat energy away to the interior of the food. This might damage the food too much? The thinner the tube the better.

    So you think the best method is increasing the temperture in the oven and using a device to cook the inside faster or better heat conduction to the inside of the food.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2006
  6. Dec 28, 2006 #5
    many but this question is only about cooking with the oven.
  7. Dec 28, 2006 #6


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    Indeed, the way to cook food faster is to dump more heat into it more quickly, but without elevating the temperature of any part of the food to the point where it burns. This is the principle of the microwave oven.

    This doesn't mean the food will come out any tastier than it normally would, of course -- many foods would not be as good if they were cooked in any other way than the generally accepted way, particularly because of effects like browning, sugar carmelization, etc.

    - Warren
  8. Dec 28, 2006 #7
    What is the generally accepted way? Or are you saying each food has its own best way of cooking?

    It occurs to me that using the longer methods like boiling, steaming, oven heating, frying are generally better than using the convenient mircowave heating.
  9. Dec 28, 2006 #8
    I think they call that poaching :tongue2:
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