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Old 03-24-2010, 02:38 PM
 
7,211 posts, read 7,192,052 times
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Default Preheating the oven

Ok forgive me for my lack of knowledge but im single and i rarely cook. When i read instructions when cooking something, for instance frozen pizza it says pre heat the oven. I never do this. What is the point of pre heating an oven. So far most of my food has come out just fine but I know most chefs and good cooks pre heat stuff. What is the use of this?
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Old 03-24-2010, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Inman Park (Atlanta, GA)
19,523 posts, read 7,751,377 times
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The reason why you pre-heat an oven is so that you know exactly what the temperature is when you cook/bake an item.

In other words, if you throw in your pizza and the oven is cold, not pre-heated, then the baking time might be off based on the cooking directions. It doesn't hurt what you are trying to bake, it will just take longer.
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Old 03-24-2010, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Utah
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...and if you have an oven with push button controls, remember to hit "START" after you've pressed "BAKE" and set your desired temp. I didn't know this when I got a new stove.....and as I'm sure you've guessed by now, I rarely use my oven.
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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if you put in a frozen pizza that says to bake for 20-25 minutes, probably 5-10 of those minutes you are cooking it at a very low temp and i am guessing that it tastes ok as you said, but i am also betting it would taste much better if you preheated the oven to make sure it was the temp suggested and then baked.
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:30 PM
 
Location: LI/VA/IL
2,480 posts, read 2,890,721 times
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George is so right-whenever you are heating an item or cooking always read directions.
Ovens always need to be preheated to bring them to requested temperature as per recipe. If you put them in a cold oven you are not cooking/baking at the correct temp and your timing will be off as usually it takes 10 minutes or plus for the oven to heat up.
All cooking/baking are always done in a preheated oven unless noted--all recipes now a days will always tell you to preheat your oven.
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:41 PM
 
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Other than changes to cooking time, it's important to preheat an oven to cook your food evenly.

While the oven is heating up, all the heat is coming from the bottom which can leave you with a burned pizza crust while the cheese isn't melted on the top.
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:35 AM
 
Location: S.A., Texas ~ Home of the HUD secretary farm~
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If you are to cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes...and you don't preheat: It may take 5 minutes for your oven to reach 350 degrees..it then maintains that temp by cycling on and off as needed. If you didn't preheat you have 5 of your 30 minutes baking time being somewhere in between 0 and 350 degrees. Simple.
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Old 03-25-2010, 03:56 AM
 
3,368 posts, read 7,134,370 times
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If you have a fan oven you may not have to pre-heat it. In fact the instructions for my oven say not to pre-heat for many types of cooking.

One of the advantages of fan ovens is that they don't need preheating but is this sometimes necessary?
Fan ovens should be preheated for recipes that need a high temperature immediately such as puff and choux pastries, yeast mixtures, scones, whisked sponges, Yorkshire puddings and soufflés. Also, recipes needing a short cooking time(less than 10 minutes) such as biscuits, frozen and cooked chilled products may need preheating. Otherwise a cold start is recommended.
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Going back to the forest to be with nature's goodness.
14,272 posts, read 5,844,924 times
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I never preheat the oven for anything except steaks and Yorkshire pudding.
I never go by instructions on a box -ever, because I firmly believe that they state to cook longer than necessary just so that they avoid any lawsuits that could occur if someone ate the product and got sick due to undercooking.
A pizza in the preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes should come out looking like a smoking black disc.
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:16 PM
 
Location: On a Voyage Around the Sun
21,236 posts, read 11,761,624 times
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I never used to pre-heat.

Then I got a new oven that "dings" at me after I've pre-heated it to the desired temperature, thereby taking away the one excuse I had for not pre-heating. (Never knew when it was "ready".)

It's made a huge difference in the way things come out for me. Can't imagine that I didn't do it before.
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