Dear Friends and Cooking Comrades, Welcome back home! БDo I really have to preheat the oven? Бб Yes. б ItБs like stretching before a run, or warming up the car, or letting the water get hot before you shower. б Food cooks unevenly in a cold oven. б Your poor dish starts in a cold oven, then it has to deal with a warm oven, then finally a hot oven, it doesnБt know what to do! Meats, roasts and poultry canБt brown in a cold oven. б And thereБs nothing worse than having one part of your dish overcooked and rubbery and another part not cooked at all. б Preheating an oven is especially important with baking when you use yeast, baking soda and baking powder as leavenings Б which react to heat. Food also cooks faster in a preheated oven Б youБve got the right temperature from the get-go and your dish can start cooking immediately and properly. In our professional kitchen, the first one to arrive always pre-heats the ovens, so they are ready for all of us to use right away. б ItБs a reflex; a habit. Preheating is not a waste of energy, it is vital to being a good steward of your delicious ingredients. б The stove has a thermostat that will keep the oven at the desired temperature, so if you set the temperature for 350-degrees and the stove reaches 350-degrees, it will stop heating and stop using power or fuel until the heat drops below 350-degrees and the heating elements start back up and cycle on again.
Opening the door to the oven too often lets a lot of the heat escape. б This is a challenge for new cooks. б You want to keep checking what you have cooking, particularly if itБs your first time trying the recipe. бSometimes the oven window just doesnБt give you a good idea of what is going on. бSo check as often as you need to, but look quickly and try to keep the door opening to a minimum, so you can maintain oven temperature. б You can pull the dish out of the oven, close the oven door behind you (I do a fancy back kick with my foot to shut the oven door when my hands are full), check the temperature or make any adjustments to the dish, and then quickly open the door and return the dish to the hot oven, minimizing heat loss. It matters that you take 15-20 minutes Б depending on your stove Б and preheat to the temperature in the recipe. б ItБs the difference between a great cook and a lousy cook. So get in the habit of preheating your oven. б DonБt be lazy Б itБs only turning a knob for heavenБs sake. б Do it first thing while youБre prepping your ingredients and getting your mis en place together.
Just as important:б TURN OFF YOUR STOVE WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED COOKING AND YOUБRE SURE YOUR DISH IS COOKED TO THE DESIRED TEMPERATURE. Turn off the stove. б Turn off the stove. б Turn off the stove. б Check and double check. б Write yourself a note to remind yourself, if you have to. б DonБt leave it to someone else. Yours,
It s the first line in many recipes: Some people is preheat really all that different from heat? Others, expressing admirable environmental sensitivities isn t this sort of a waste of energy? wonder about the concept itself. The oven, uses a pretty substantial amount of energy. Do you really need it to be going full-blast when there s nothing in it? The answer is. it depends. And the reasons why it depends are as numerous as the things you might want to cook in the oven. Take bread, for instance: What the heat of the oven does here is provide the last little push the yeast needs to raise the dough to the loftiest heights possible before the flour structure sets; starting from a cold oven would produce a flat, dry, chewy product. A similar principle holds true for doughs or batters that have been leavened with baking soda and/or baking powder like those for cakes and cookies which also need a certain level of heat, applied quickly, in order to do their thing.
Take this notion and apply it to any food with a delicate architecture that might be prone to collapse:,. Apply it to, in which the flour structure needs heat to set itself before all the butter melts. In short, does it have flour and/or eggs? Preheat the oven. Don t skip the preheat when you re making pie. Photo by Chelsea Kyle, food styling by Katherine Sacks This might be difficult advice for those of us who prefer a looser approach in the kitchen. But fear not, for we ve got on our side. Lasagnas. Entire classes of savory foods that don t need to get any sort of lift, that just need to sit in the heat for a while until they re cooked through recipes that are on the wet side, with ingredients that need to sit and marinate in each other for a long time, low-and-slow recipes. Make this way. Stick it in the oven, turn it on, come back later. Toasting nuts? No need to wait for a hot oven just throw em in and roast them till they re done. We re going off-road here, into territory that the recipe may not cover, but the best course is to fall back on your eyes and nose. Does it smell good, is it golden? Bam, it s done. And without a minute wasted waiting for the oven to preheat.