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I am confused about how multi-cooker actually works. Frying meat on a skillet is one thing. Baking it in the oven is another. Advertisement says a multi-cooker can both bake and fry. How is that possible? If it bakes does it mean it can replace oven at all? Can I actually bake meat in the multi-cooker as I would in the oven? Or can fry it like I would on a skillet? How can this single device do two things differently?

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    I have seen many devices which pride themselves of being a "multi-cooker", what is the one you had in mind? – rumtscho Jan 4 '17 at 17:21
  • redmond.company/us/lp_what_is_multicooker Stuff that Redmond sells for instance. Now that it's that specific it looks like an advertisement. They say it litteraly replaces a whole oven. They all look the same, just a heater with a bowl in there and some led-display. – Gherman Jan 4 '17 at 17:49
  • Advertising frequently lies... – Ecnerwal Jan 7 '17 at 19:15
  • @Ecnerwal, This is not a very useful comment, to put it bluntly. – Gherman Jan 10 '17 at 15:43
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It doesn't necessarily do any of those things well, but yes, it does (more or less) all of the things it suggests.

Basically all cooking is the application of heat, in different ways, to food. So a multicooker like you mention is something that's capable of producing heat at different levels and different timings.

Baking differs from frying/sauteing/etc. in that some of the heat is not applied through conduction. Some of it is - the pan typically gets hot and directly heats the food where it is in contact - but some of it is either radiation or convection cooking. This probably won't do much for convection, but because it's an enclosed container, it will heat the non-contact parts through radiation if it's constructed properly (i.e., it is properly insulated, and has metal walls that will radiate heat back towards the food rather than plastic that will absorb the heat).

You'll notice it doesn't claim to roast foods (as opposed to some other multicookers); some do, and those have a heating element in the top. A pressure-cooker style multicooker can't have this (easily, anyway) and so doesn't claim any application that requires direct heat - only conduction or radiation.

Frying is cooking in oil (the oil version of boiling). Anything that can produce heat in a pan can fry (and to be good at frying, it just has to be good at maintaining a specific temperature).

Most of the features it claims are related to an ability to precisely control temperature. Yogurt making and sous-vide cooking require specific temperature control, but beyond that most of the features are just things you could do in any pressure cooker or slow cooker managed in the proper way.

The one feature it claims that I'm most dubious about is 'microwave'; it seems unlikely to me that it uses microwaves (it's too small really, for one), so probably it's claiming it can replace your microwave because it can reheat your food (the main reason many people use microwaves). There are microwave/oven combos (If you're in the US, your local Subway restaurant uses one, for example, probably made by Amana), but they're much bigger.

Either way, I don't think this is something that can 'replace' an oven or similar, because an oven is going to be much better at even heating over a period of time, and an oven is much larger (you're not roasting a turkey in here). It probably doesn't get very hot, either, compared to a good oven. The main point of multicookers is that they can do several things in the same device - so for example you can sautee your veggies and then cook a soup directly in them without involving anything else; and they do several things that you might need different devices for (saving kitchen space). They don't do them as well, but if you're in a tiny 40 sq meter apartment, perhaps that's fine.

  • If I understand correctly what baking is then what you describe is not baking but just grill roasting. Grill uses radiation with its electrical heat source either at the top or on the side. Typical oven has its flames beneath the food thus heating it with ascending hot air by convection. Why would someone confuse between these two different methods of cooking? – Gherman Jan 4 '17 at 18:40
  • Baking is done in pans; you don't have to get food off of the pan to make it baking. – Cascabel Jan 4 '17 at 18:42
  • @Jefromi Yes, I didn't explain that quite right. Trying to explain the difference between baking and cooking only with conduction. Will reconstrue. – Joe M Jan 4 '17 at 18:44
  • @German Convection can be used in baking but not necessarily. The point of a rack would indeed be to do something like you describe - get some convection also around the food - and you're right that I really mean roasting the way I explain. Will reword. – Joe M Jan 4 '17 at 18:45
  • Reworded that section significantly, thanks for pointing that out. – Joe M Jan 4 '17 at 18:53

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