A microwave is considered a must-have machine in nearly every home in Britain. In fact, 93 per cent of UK households owned one in 2018, relying on its speedy cooking to keep us fed despite our busy lives.
Microwaves do more than heat ready meals these days too. Many now have built-in steamers, air-fryers, ovens and grills to do everything from sizzle the perfect bacon to produce a batch of fluffy cupcakes.
These models do tend to be a lot bigger and more expensive than a standard microwave however, with features that many of us just won’t use.
If you’d rather stick to a microwave without the bells and whistles, this Bosch series 2 freestanding microwave HMT75M461B promises to do all the essentials well, so you can warm leftovers, defrost frozen food and cook dinner without fuss (or a phone book-sized instruction manual).
We got busy in our own kitchen to see if it really could deliver on the basic functions we use every day. We cooked, reheated and defrosted all types of food to see if this is a model you can rely on to get the job done. Here’s our verdict on whether your kitchen needs this microwave.
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Bosch series 2 freestanding microwave HMT75M461B
Dimensions: 46.1cm x 35.1cm x 29cm
Convection oven/grill: No/no
This is a microwave that means business. It’s simple design and glossy black exterior aren’t designed to be admired so there are no eye-catching features on this to turn heads. As a result, it works well in any kitchen and won’t stand out on your worktop, which helps it feel even smaller than it already is.
The surprisingly compact size is also a real winner for anyone who doesn’t want a microwave to dominate. It fit in well under our overhead kitchen cupboards and still left plenty of worktop space so would be a fantastic buy for anyone without masses of space. The respectable one-metre power cable means it doesn’t have to be situated right next to a plug either.
The operating panel is just as unobtrusive, with a small dial control to adjust both weight and time and smooth black, clearly labelled buttons for selecting different power levels and pre-set cooking functions. The main dial can be pushed in for speedy cleaning, which is helpful as the glossy finish does show fingerprints quite easily. Our only grumble is the large button to operate the door is on the stiff side and needs a good push to work.
If you’re looking to use this microwave to cook food on full power, it couldn’t be simpler to work straight from the box. Thanks to the obvious labels, it’s even straightforward to set the clock without checking the manual. To cook, simply turn the dial to select time or weight and press the button marked start.
We did need to consult the manual to figure out the automatic programmes however, as it’s not obvious what they are or how you get them to work. There’s also a nifty memory programme that remembers the cooking time and power of a favourite dish at the touch of a button, although realistically you may not bother with this on a microwave that takes moments to operate anyway.
There’s a 17l capacity so bigger households might prefer to choose a bigger model, but we were impressed by how much it fit despite this, just about managing a 28cm plate on the turntable and coping with all but our biggest dishes.
We had no complaints when it came to cooking either. The microwave performed well in all our tests and didn’t drop power even when we heated several ready meals in a row. The 800W power seemed more powerful than we expected and all the meals came out sizzling but hadn’t dried out at all.
Reheated meals were evenly cooked throughout and didn’t go crispy at the edges. Vegetables and potatoes both turned out well when steamed in a little water and were just soft enough but not soggy. We also cooked both these dishes using the automatic programmes and were pleased with the results. Both turned out a little more al dente than when we cooked them manually but not excessively so.
When defrosting, this microwave is considerably better than most. Frozen peas, slices of bread and stewing steak all turned out well, whether we inputted details manually or used the auto-defrost programmes. Mince and chicken were less successful and didn’t defrost all the way through so needed extra time adding. This is easier – and safer – to correct than if the microwave had overheated the frozen meat and started cooking it instead though.
Buy now £120.00, Ao.com
The verdict: Bosch series 2 freestanding microwave HMT75M461B
If you’re looking to heat soup, cook vegetables and blast ready meals, this no-messing microwave from Bosch delivers on every level. It doesn’t need acres of worktop space, heats evenly and generally does a decent job defrosting, making it a reliable addition to any kitchen.
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