Do I Need To Preheat The Oven, And How To Do It Correctly?
Anyone who has had to prepare dishes according to a recipe knows that it may contain the following words: “Preheat the oven beforehand.” What does it mean? How long does it take to preheat the oven?
IMPORTANT! Maybe it’s easier to put the dish in a cold oven to heat it up later? And can you always do that? It turns out that very often when we preheat the oven in advance, we make mistakes. Our task is to find out what the culinary experts have to say about this. This article is devoted to this topic.
Preheating the oven – what is it?
Even though the oven turns on very quickly, it still needs some time for the temperature inside to reach the values given in the recipe. The process, when the oven is turned on and it is expected to heat up, is called the heating of the oven.
On average, it takes 15-20 minutes to heat up a conventional electric oven. Some ovens have a special indicator. It is designed to indicate that the oven is ready. If you need to know the exact temperature inside the oven, then buy a special thermometer.
What mode is required to heat up the oven? You need to look at the recipe for what temperature is recommended to cook a particular dish. We set the desired oven temperature and timed it for 15-20 minutes.
This is done on a regular watch, but you can also use a timer for this. After that, we put the dish in the oven and cook for as long as specified by the recipe.
IMPORTANT! Failure to preheat the oven can result in the food being cooked unevenly. And the cooking time, which is given in the recipe, will need to be increased exactly as much as necessary to preheat the oven.
The oven must be empty before preheating
If you are preheating the oven beforehand, do not put the baking sheet in it. The oven must be empty. This is exactly what the chefs advise. This is because a heated baking sheet can negatively affect the quality of baked goods.
There is no point in preheating a baking dish or baking sheet. Moreover, a hot baking sheet causes the dough to fall off. When the dough hits a hot baking sheet, the product is sensitive to this. For him, this is a kind of shock, from which the taste and structure of the baked goods can greatly change.
It’s all about the temperature difference. If you put a cold product in a baking sheet heated to 390 °F, then it will turn out to be too hard or overdried. It may also be under-baked. This is why frozen pizzas and rolls are usually very tough.
IMPORTANT! The biscuit is also very tough if you put it on a hot baking sheet. But in the case when you put a sponge cake in a cold container in the oven on a heated wire rack, there will be no such problems.
Biscuit dough has its specificity: it changes its properties on hot iron. This is why cookies are baked on a baking sheet that should not be overheated. And it is better not to cook the next batch of cookies on the same baking sheet taken out with the finished product. To do this, you will need another, cold, baking dish.
And therefore, in such a case, it is necessary to have at least a couple of baking trays on hand. One is cooling down, and the second is in the oven.
Oven preheating rules
– The oven is switched on before cooking starts.
If you have a standard electric oven, then it will take an average of 15-20 minutes to warm up. It all depends on what the recipe is. The higher the temperature recommended in the recipe, the longer it may take.
IMPORTANT! This time, as a rule, is enough to prepare a simple dish. When a recipe involves a lengthy pre-preparation of food, then the oven will need to be turned on in the middle of the preparation process.
– Preparing the oven.
The inside of the oven should be free of unnecessary trays, grates, or braziers. Any unnecessary items take some heat away. Thus, heat exchange in the oven is disturbed, and the heating duration is increased.
– We check according to the recipe at what level the dish needs to be cooked.
The lion’s share of dishes, such as muffins, pies, cookies, are baked in the middle of the oven. Casseroles and lasagna have a crisp and golden top when the baking dish is placed on the top level. You will get good tortillas with a browned toasted bottom if you bake them on the lower shelf.
IMPORTANT! Some recipes don’t indicate at what level to cook. In this case, place the dish on the middle level.
– We turn on the oven and set the required temperature.
The recipe should indicate at what temperature the dish should be baked. If this is a step-by-step recipe, then look for this information in the first paragraph. You only need to warm up the oven to the temperature that is given in the instructions for cooking.
– We are waiting for the oven to warm up.
Many modern ovens display the current temperature on the screen. It is also possible to signal readiness with a sound signal. Some ovens have an indicator light. It turns on as soon as the oven heats up to the desired temperature. This indicator is usually located near the oven temperature sensor.
IMPORTANT! Very often, outdated models do not have temperature regulators. They only have a switch. If so, then turn on the oven and wait 15-20 minutes. And only then put the dish inside. Better yet, use a special thermometer. It will show you the exact temperature inside the oven.
Folk recipes for heating the oven
Not so long ago, about 10-15 years ago, housewives who did not have a thermometer on the oven used proven folk methods to determine the temperature regime.
How to understand to what degrees the oven has warmed up if there is no special equipment? To do this, place a pinch of flour on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven. Cover the baking sheet with white paper. We put flour on paper and observe how long it takes, it will change color.
- When the flour has charred in a matter of seconds, it means that the cabinet has heated up to 530 °F.
- If the color changes quickly from white to dark, then the cabinet has warmed up to 420 °F.
- If the hue slowly changes to yellowish, then the oven is heated to 350 °F.
There is another method, how to determine to what temperature the oven is heated without a thermometer. If you need to know how much to preheat the oven to an average of 350 – 390 °F, then light a fire in the cabinet. And then place a piece of foil on a warm baking sheet. Then sprinkle a little sugar on top. Slowly increase the level of fire in the cabinet.
IMPORTANT! When the sugar on the foil begins to melt, that means the temperature is 390 ° F. This indicator is quite enough to cook many baked dishes and pastries.
When you have no flour, foil, or sugar on hand and you need to preheat the oven to 350 ° F, we recommend using the timer. Mistresses with experience in this matter are advised to time the time from the moment the fire is lit.
It takes at least ten minutes for the temperature regime to reach the set parameters. Of course, provided that the fire is medium. Accordingly, if you increase the fire, the time required to warm up the cabinet will decrease.
Stick to these rules:
- When you turn on low heat, the oven heats up to 390 ° F in 20-25 minutes.
- With medium heat – 15 minutes.
- With high heat – 5-7 minutes.
When food can be put in a cold oven
If you are not very fond of bothering, then you may not be attracted by the need to preheat the oven for baking in advance. No need to worry. Indeed, in many cases, this is not necessary. Even sometimes in the case when the recipe says that you need to preheat the oven.
Roasted vegetables, stews, or meats can be cooked well even when placed in a cold oven. Meat, lasagna, and other tasty dishes should not be lush. It is recommended to leave them warm for a while until they are cooked. The same applies to all recipes in which the ingredients are supposed to be infused and soaked in juice.
Pasta and cheese are made in the same way. They need to be put in the oven, turned on, and then returned after a certain time. Do not wait for the oven to warm up if you need baked apples too. Just put them inside and bake.
IMPORTANT! It is not always possible to read about this in recipes. However, it is best to trust your eyes and nose in any controversial issues. If the food is crusty and smells good, then you can be sure it’s done. And it didn’t take you a minute to preheat the oven
Do I Need To Preheat The Oven, And How To Do It Correctly?
Preheating is only needed if the food needs to be in the oven for a specific amount of time. If there is air circulation in it, then preheating is usually not needed either. There is, however, an exception. It is for baking bread, as well as pastry, which is flaky and very tender.