How to use the Samsung Smart Oven: Making popcorn and not burn them

Instructions:

  1. Measure desired amount of popcorn kernels and place inside microwave-safe popcorn maker. I usually make 60g but have recently increased to 100g because I’m upping my fiber intake.
  2. Put inside the Samsung Smart Oven. My popcorn maker does not need oil, so I simply measure the popcorn kernels, place in the bowl with the cover, and pop inside the oven.
  3. Press the “Microwave” setting, dial 700 Watts and 6 minutes, and that’s it.
  4. Note that if your popcorn is older it can go as long as 8 minutes without burning. Do not take this long with new popcorn because they will burn.

Now on to the story part. I finished the instructions above because I absolutely hate recipe blogs where the entire history of the world is written first then the recipe is found at the bottom of the page. Since we got that over with, I can now proceed to explaining why I’m writing this down to begin with…

First, a backgrounder on why this is so exact – why am I posting about making popcorn on the Samsung Smart Oven? The short answer is it is the machine that I have at home.

Ever since I was exposed to the obunrenji or combination microwave and convection oven appliance while visiting relatives in friends back in 2009, I dreamt of owning one at home. It was only last year that I was able to buy one.

I chose the Samsung Smart Oven because, first of all I also got exposed to the brand while having them as a client. It took me one whole year to decide that I really wanted the Smart Oven, but in 2019 I did not have the budget for it. Last year, I finally was able to save enough to buy the appliance.

So, because we have never had a regular oven or a microwave oven at home, only an oven toaster for bread and which I would sometimes use to bake cookies, I cannot say that I have prior knowledge on how to operate an oven, any oven. And this being my first major kitchen appliance purchase I did not want (I still do not want) to make any mistakes that would lead to damaging the oven.

At the same time, I am having joy and fun in discovering the many things I can finally do and learn to do with it. I need to mention that I also am not well-versed in cooking, and many of the techniques that people take for granted or that people my age would already have learned, I still haven’t. I bought this oven to be able to learn to cook and experiment with the machine at the same time.

The long answer is – as I discover and learn about the machine, I also have discovered two things: there is so little online tutorial about how to use this machine. Second, the user’s manual is easy to understand but difficult to master. Someone like me who cannot cook needs a more visual accompaniment and an explain-it-to-me-like-I’m-a-five-year-old educational material. So here I am attempting to provide these tutorials so that I can refer to them again in the future, and perhaps be useful to someone else too.

Now we move to the topic at hand: making popcorn without burning them in the Samsung Smart Oven.

Popcorn is my most favorite snack.

I can eat it everyday, and in fact have been doing so since March this year.

This is NOT for the popcorn that comes in microwaveable packets. I am talking about the popcorn that comes in a bag or bottle that one can cook on the stove. The challenge with homemade popcorn is how not to burn it and there are a number of tricks and tips online for the stovetop method.

For the microwave, it will depend on your machine’s wattage, the quality of popcorn, and your microwaveable popcorn maker.

Since I got the Smart Oven I have tried about three different popcorn brands:

  • Bob’s Red Mill Yellow Popcorn from Healthy Options
  • One repacked brand from Lazada, which I am not linking to because I am not satisfied with the quality, although it is super cheap
  • Popperoo from Lazada.

The best quality – the product is clean, no bokbok (those insects that appear in grains when stored for a long time), good popping ratio, popcorns popping beautifully – is Bob’s, but it’s also expensive. Popperoo works for me so far and even if my experience is not 5-star I will still be a repeat customer. My only issue is that my second order, the 5kg bag, had bokbok. My first order was the 1kg bag and I was happy with that one. On my 3rd try I will go back to the 1kg packaging as I feel the product turnover for that size is faster, hence I will avoid the bokbok issue.

For the popcorn maker, we have this Anchor Hocking Popcorn Maker intended for the microwave at home. I’ve been using it every time and I love it because it does not need oil.

After the popping process, that’s when I put any flavoring I like. My default is Korean sesame oil with sea salt and black pepper. I also like EVOO with balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Recently I tried Chinese black vinegar to substitute the balsamic and it works great as well! When I’m feeling decadent that’s when I melt butter and drizzle it on top.

As I end, I feel the need to put a disclaimer that I cannot say my method won’t ever cause popcorn to burn. I have burned a few batches because I failed to account for the age of the popcorn. Best is to go with five minutes first, then increase until you find the sweet spot! I like my popcorn pristine white so 5min and 30sec works for me.

P.S. I gather the unpopped kernels and when there’s enough, I pop them again. Timing here is 5 minutes only. At least half of them pop. What a waste if I had thrown all of them away!

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