When do YOU turn on the oven?

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by Sunny Side Up, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I just think it's hilarious how so many recipes begin with "Preheat oven to XXX degrees" and then continue with a very long list of preparations that must be completed before the item goes into the oven. As if getting your oven to the correct temperature took much longer than the usual 5-10 minutes and was more complicated than simply twisting a dial or two. As if preheating the oven involved something like felling trees and chopping them into kindling, maybe rubbing sticks together to create fire.

    Yesterday I was following the recipe on the back of a box of lasagna noodles to try a new type of lasagna. This is a dish that requires the boiling of pasta, the browning of meat, the assembling of several other ingredients first before the rather elaborate task of layering them into a baking dish. Yet the first thing the recipe mentions is "Preheat oven to 375 degrees". If I had done that first, the kitchen would have been sweltering and a lot of electricity would have been wasted in keeping the oven so hot for so long before necessary.

    I know that it's important for some recipes to have the oven already at the correct temp before putting the dish in to cook. But good grief, give us folks some credit! Mention heating the oven near the end of the recipe, especially for dishes that take a long time to assemble.

    This time I started the oven when I was in the middle of assembling my lasagna layers and it was hot enough by the time I finished. When do YOU turn on the oven for cooking?
  2. arabianequine

    arabianequine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 4, 2010
    I hardly ever preheat the oven. I just add a few mins to the time or the first batch if making cookies. My oven never goes any higher the 375 it runs hotter then ever. Mostly stays at 350.
  3. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    Well my new oven preheats quickly. But my old one took a good 20+ minutes to get up to 350. Don't know why it took so long but it held temp fine once it got there... So for me, the preheat oven is a good reminder.
  4. Deanner03

    Deanner03 The Cake Queen

    Depends on the recipe. If I'm making brownies from a box I turn the oven on first. If I'm assembling a lasagna....about 5-10 minutes before I'll be done.
  5. DuckLady

    DuckLady ~~~Administrator~~~BYC Store Support Staff Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    I agree. I don't take the "preheat the oven" direction as the first thing to do. I take it as an instruction that before you put whatever in the oven it is recommended to be preheated.

    I never preheat for roasts or food that will take a long time to cook.
  6. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I like it at the beginning simply because it's easy to find when I'm ready for it. I wouldn't want it buried halfway through the prep, when they think it's time to turn on the oven.

    I don't preheat for most things, anyway.
  7. maizey

    maizey Chillin' With My Peeps

    its just a recipe "standard" in recipe writing so you will know where the temp is and its part of the "mize en place" so they list it from the top
  8. peeplessinNC

    peeplessinNC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 23, 2008
    NC Piedmont
    I usually only preheat the oven when baking, especially things like cakes and quick breads that have leavening agents (baking powder and baking soda) in the recipe. Many times when baking yeast breads I will start with a cold oven to get a really good oven spring (rise) with the loaves.

    After many, many years of cooking, I now list the oven temp, baking time, and preferred pan or pot at the top of the written/typed recipe instead of in the body of the recipe. This info is more visible set off by itself even if it is repeated down in the instructions.
  9. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2009
    For me a recipe is simply a guideline, not a step by step verbatim procedure. The DW disagrees with me and follows recipes exactly----makes her mad when I do sourdough and pie pastry a thousand times better result without ever cracking a text or doing it the same way twice! (Hah.....the secret to sourdough bread and pastry is touch and appearance for results, not verbatim steps)
  10. bigmike&nan

    bigmike&nan Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm glad most well written recipes state oven temp and the Mis en Place (have in place) at the start. I write my recipes so what goes into it is listed in the order it is used in, in their appropriate groups, I hate finding at the end of a recipe "add this and that" only to discover I don't have those things. GRRRRR

    As for preheating an oven, of course knowing when to fire up the oven is key, obviously starting the oven when you first make bread dough is silly, but there are recipes that don't take that much prep time and having an oven that is "ready" is so important for many items, especially baked goods where the reaction to the correct high heat is what makes the recipe work properly.

    Happy New Year everyone.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011

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