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Old 09-30-2006, 10:25 PM   #31
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Howdy all. I absolutely pre-heat. I have two ovens - one electric and one is a 1920's woodfired treasure! Most of the cooking that I do is from scratch - very rarely will I heat anything from frozen. For me, preheating is essential. Putting freshly rolled pastry into a warm oven will cause it to 'melt' rather than cook, and getting the temperature right for roasting, a chicken for example is also crucial if you want the heat from the oven to seal the roast and keep it moist. Having said all that I can understand why someone might not preheat if they are heating frozen oven fries!
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Old 09-30-2006, 10:53 PM   #32
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I always preheat my electric fanforced oven. Although I have heard it said you don't need to preheat fan forced ovens, I have not, in my experience, found that you get good results putting food in cold ovens, for the reasons thegrova stated. I cook in an oven because I want my food baked, or roasted. If I wanted it steamed I'd use the microwave or the steamer!
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Old 09-30-2006, 11:38 PM   #33
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The FF companies call for preheating because every oven is different. Some heat up in 5 minutes and some in 20. However, once they are at temperature, they all behave more predictably. That predictability is why preheating is called for. They develop their recipes to work in a preheated oven for the sake of producing uniform results.

GB, you said you place the food under the heating element. Does that mean you are broiling? Oven elements for roasting/baking are typically on or under the floor of the oven. Since broiling is a direct heat method, I would guess preheating is less important to good results.
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Old 10-01-2006, 07:06 PM   #34
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Well, about preheating I can definitely say that I do for some things, and not for others. Most frozen foods I don't worry about it, just add a couple of minutes to the recommended cooking time. I also don't bother for cut up chicken (i.e. thighs or drumsticks that I buy lots of when they are on sale). Whole chickens I usually "roast" on my Weber grill, and I always preheat that.

I rarely do any baked goods ( I do make bread occasionally), but when I do so, I always preheat, as the constant temperature is an absolute necessity for that. I also preheat for frozen pizza (usually DiGiorno's), I place it directly on the rack without a pan or sheet, and I also at least partially thaw it, then reduce the time I cook it.

When I do preheat, I do it just until it beeps at me, I think that any more than that is just a waste of electricity.
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Old 10-01-2006, 07:45 PM   #35
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I always preheat- also like using two oven thermometers! Lol - don't trust one of them !!!
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Old 10-01-2006, 08:13 PM   #36
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Ummmm.... Gas is faster than electric, so why would you not have to pre-heat electric?
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Old 10-01-2006, 08:30 PM   #37
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It would never occur to me to put frozen food in an un-preheated oven. I like to be sure that food is properly cooked and hot inside. None of you who do it have died of food poisoning (obviously), so I guess it must be safe but I'll stick to preheating.

The only things I'll put in when the oven is not quite up to temperature are vegetarian dishes that I'm making myself. Even then, by the time I'm done doing the preparation, the oven is usually good and hot.

I wouldn't bake cakes or anything with pastry in a non-preheated oven.

Sorry GB.
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Old 10-01-2006, 09:14 PM   #38
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When I use the oven function on my microwave for things like frozen foods or bake to finish bread dough, I never pre-heat. The oven is pre-heated in say 3-4 minutes (175C) and I found that not pre-heating (and lowering the cooking times on the packages) cooks the ingredients more evenly and a lot faster. If I use my conventional electric oven (which takes about 10-15 mins to get to 180C) I always pre-heat.
I suppose it's basicly just a matter of getting a feel for the tools you're using
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Old 10-01-2006, 09:15 PM   #39
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Snoop Puss I would not bake cakes or pastry or anything like that in a non pre heated oven either. Like I said earlier, it depends on what I am making.

If I am heating a frozed chicken pot pie and it calls for the oven to be preheated and then cook the pie for 45 minutes then I skip the preheating. I promise no one would be able to tell the difference if we did a side by side comparison.

Now if I were roasting a chicken I would preheat.
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Old 10-09-2006, 08:30 PM   #40
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Non-PreHeating Test

GB - I promised to test the non-preheating theory next time I had something frozen to cook, & I did.

Had a package of frozen baked clams that I've made before in a preheated oven. The instructions say to place in a preheated 450-degree oven for 25 minutes or until heated through. (I've made these before, & normally in a preheated oven they take 30 minutes.)

I placed them into a cold oven & set it for 450-degrees & the timer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes they were still cool in the center; still just "warm" after 35 minutes. They were hot through at 40 minutes.

So, to be perfectly honest, it took the same amount of time whether I preheated the oven for 10 minutes & put the frozen clams in, or if I stuck them into a cold oven & had to cook them for 10 minutes more for them to be heated through.

Now, of course, something like frozen fish sticks or other less dense frozen foods might have turned out differently. Next time I do those, I'll retest.
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