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Electrolux Panini Press with Built-in Microwave


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Lunchbox's menu is separated into pressed sandwiches, soup, salads and cookies. Lunch today, split with my +1, was a wedge salad [good amount of blue cheese, but the lettuce was shredded instead of wedged], butternut squash soup [spicy with glowing turmeric] and a pilgrim sandwich [very moist, warm & meaty inside and crispy outside - thanks to their Electrolux Pannini Press w/built-in microwave] .

No expert here, but fascinated by the concept of a panini press with built-in microwave. What's the point? To crisp the outside, while unleashing the moisture on the inside, ensuring heating both from outside-in, and also inside-out?

(Actually, I'm not even sure if microwaves heat from the inside-out, do they? I thought they just haphazardly shook molecules around.)



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My guess is that you'd add a microwave because you want to cook the inside of the sandwich as fast as the outside. My experience with panini grills is that often when the outside is that nice crispy brown, the inside can still be quite cold.

Microwave ovens work (in a very simple explanation) by the fact that water molecules rotate when exposed to the right frequency microwave radiation[1]. Once you start rotating the water, it's not hard to transfer that motion into vibrational and translational movement, aka, raise the temperature. This is also why it's easier to heat liquid water than frozen water in a microwave, the molecules are more free to move.

Thus, if you add a microwave, you can heat the filling (which in almost every case will have liquid water as the major component: veggies, meat) just as fast as the outside is being crisped by the direct heat.


[1] Usually 2.45 GHz in residential microwaves, though 915 MHz is used in commercial ovens sometimes. Since longer wavelengths penetrate deeper, easier, the 915 band can be useful. Of course, in a panini press, it's not like you need to penetrate too far, so it's probably 2.45. Plus, 915 is only really used in the Americas.

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