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Old 08-02-2006, 03:14 AM   #1
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Preheat electric ovens?

I am currently in disgreement with someone else about the nessesity of preheating an electric oven.

He says that it is not nessisary to preheat an electric oven because it takes such a short time to heat up.

I believe that it depends on what you are cooking. If you are cooking a frozen food and you put it in the oven while it is heating up it will affect the qualtiy because while the oven is heating the food will be thawing. If the food is supposed to be put into the fully heated oven while frozen then you should comply with the directions.

Does it really matter?

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Old 08-02-2006, 04:07 AM   #2
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Your friend is wrong - follow the directions - preheat!

The directions (if they say a preheated oven) are based on how the recipe was developed and tested ... in this instance for example - cooking in an oven that is x-degrees for y-minutes. If you start with a cold oven - the time will be off. This is really crucial in baking ... but that's another story.

Not all ovens heat at the same rate (that's why you pre-heat them - kind of like bringing somethig to a boil and then reducing to a simmer before you start the timer) .... so you can't count on that. My old gas oven heated up faster than my new electric oven - my daughter's oven has a bigger element than mine and heats up faster. Without going in to test and time it - 350-450 (F) takes 10-15 minutes or longer for my oven.

So, in this round ....

Sausage Lips - 1 .... "clueless guy" - 0
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Old 08-02-2006, 05:02 AM   #3
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There are certain things that preheating doesn't matter that much, also things that it WILL matter very much.

As you said, many of the frozen foods are best cooked directly from their frozen state without thawing themselves, also if you are baking something that needs to rise, the proper temperature is absolutely crucial.

If I am baking something like lasagne, I would just put it in after a while, maybe 5 minutes or so after I turned it on, even if the temperature hasn't reached 180C yet, but I wouldn't put anything in from the starting point (while oven is not at all heated), unless the recipe states so.
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Old 08-02-2006, 05:17 AM   #4
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Sausage lips, I agree that it depends on what you are cooking but if preheating is important I like to preheat much longer than the 10 or 15 min. it takes to attain the temperature the thermostat is set at. My oven will get to 350F in slightly under 10 minutes but if I open the door then it will drop 50 or 60 degrees quicker than I can put anything in and close the door. How long it takes to recover the temp. becomes critical with things like biscuits, cookies or bread.

I preheat for 30 or 45 minutes because I want the walls and ceiling of the oven to heat as much as possible in order to not depend exclusively on the heating element to return the air temp to max. as soon as possible. I also keep a pizza stone in the oven all the time which, I believe, prolongs the optimum preheating time but hastens the temp. recovery.

My oven takes a couple minutes to switch the oven element on after the door is opened and the temperature drops below the the temp. on the dial. I wait until the element has cycled to on before opening the door which lops 2 minutes off the recovery time.
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Old 08-02-2006, 07:54 AM   #5
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When I set the temperature of the recipe to my electric oven, it preheats in a matter of 3 to 5 minutes depending on the temp. The readout and bell signal tells me when the oven is at the right temp. I always preheat - maybe just a habit.
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Old 08-02-2006, 08:09 AM   #6
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I am a preheater. Most directions will state place in preheated oven, though some things,admitadly, don't matter...but I do preheat.
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Old 08-02-2006, 09:01 AM   #7
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I am another who will say it depends on what you are cooking.

I have an electric oven, but I rarely preheat. If I am just cooking a frozen meal (prepackaged stuff from the freezer isle in the supermarket) I never preheat. At most I might add 5 minutes or so to the cooking time, but I usually find that is not necessary.

I have also found that the longer something needs to cook (things like frozen meals that is) the less the need to preheat. If something is only supposed to be in the oven for 10 minutes or so then I will preheat, but not for very long. If it is in for 30 minutes then I do not bother.

Why don't you do a test? Cook a couple of the same meals. Preheat for one and not for the other and see what you think.
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Old 08-02-2006, 09:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sausage lips
I am currently in disgreement with someone else about the nessesity of preheating an electric oven.

He says that it is not nessisary to preheat an electric oven because it takes such a short time to heat up.

I believe that it depends on what you are cooking. If you are cooking a frozen food and you put it in the oven while it is heating up it will affect the qualtiy because while the oven is heating the food will be thawing. If the food is supposed to be put into the fully heated oven while frozen then you should comply with the directions.

Does it really matter?
Are you my wife? I have the same disagreement with my wife. She thinks it's crucial to preheat the over all the way to the temp on the box when baking a frozen pizza. I don't put the pizza in cold, just when it is convenient. The over may be between 250-300.
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Old 08-02-2006, 09:25 AM   #9
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vagriller, my wife and I have the same arguem...um discussions. When making a frozen chicken pot pie she will preheat the oven for 30 minutes before cooking the thing for 45 minutes. I just pop it into a cold oven and cook for 45 minutes. They both come out exactly the same IMO.
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Old 08-02-2006, 09:45 AM   #10
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Well this is interesting. I will certainly try not preheating frozen and other types of food.

My oven is so cheap (I guess) that it seems to take forever to preheat. It doen't ever heat up in 4-5 minutes.
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