In this post, I am going to share with you everything that you wanted to know regarding why and how to preheat oven for baking. Why is it must to preheat the oven, how to preheat and much more…
Preheating the oven is as important as is stretching before a run, or warming up the car, or letting the water get hot before you shower.
But What is Meant By Preheating? Why is it so important?
Whenever you bake anything be it cake or bread or cookies or anything else, the first and foremost line in the ‘method’ is to Preheat the oven at ….. for …. minutes. But why?
Preheating the Oven is the first and foremost requisite for baking. If you are wondering whether you can bake a cake without preheating the oven then the simple and straight answer is NO.
Ok, tell me one thing, Is Preheating required only in baking?
- What about while making chapatis on a griddle or while frying?
- Do you just put the griddle on the gas stove and put the chapati on it?
- Do you keep the wok on the gas stove, add oil and start frying?
- No. We first put the griddle on flame, let it get heated for a few minutes and then put the chapati on it. Isn’t it?
Same with frying. Only when the oil is considerably hot, we start frying.
To understand the principle of preheating just do one simple experiment.
- Put a griddle on the gas stove and put the chapati on it.
- Now, increase the flame to the highest. What will happen?
- First of all, chapati will stick to the griddle and no matter how much you increase the flame, it will not be cooked properly.
- It will be very hard only almost inedible.
- The same with frying in cold oil will result in most of the oil absorbed by the food only again rendering it inedible.
Like this, even oven needs to be preheated, however for different reasons that soon we will look into and understand.
What is Preheating? What Does Preheat the Oven Mean?
- Preheating simply means preparing your oven to bake goodies. Preheating means turn on your oven so that it reaches the proper and required temperature.
- This preparation is done by heating the oven empty, without anything, at least for 10 minutes at the specified temperature, before you put the cake tin or other things to bake.
- Empty oven means no tin/utensils. Of course, the racks will remain there only. You don’t have to remove them.
Why is it Important to Preheat the Oven when Baking?
- Firstly and most importantly preheating is important to give an initial push of heat. Many batters and dough which are made using leavening agents either Baking Soda or Baking Powder or Yeast require a push- a good hit of heat at the beginning -for the optimal rise, texture, and browning.
- If they do not get that push, the result is heavy, undercooked, hard, rubbery breads/ cakes. This can well be understood with the example of yeast.
- Those of you who use yeast know very well that yeast needs to proofed in warm water. Try proofing yeast in cold water. If the yeast is added to cold water then later on, no matter how much warm water you add, it will not activate. This is because it needs that initial push, that too only in warm water. Hot or cold water just kills it. This is exactly why an preheated oven is important.
- Secondly, a preheated oven will cook the food all the way to its centre before outside of the food is burnt and inedible.
- If the food is put in the oven without preheating it, then the outside will be done leaving the centre cold and uncooked.
- Thirdly, Preheating heats up not just the air in the oven — but it also heats up the walls (and your baking stone, if you use one).
- When you open the oven, whether to keep the batter/bread in it or to check the doneness of the baked goods or any other reason then all the hot air leaves the oven. At that time, the heated walls and baking stone only makes the oven quickly return to temperature.
- Lastly, when the baked goods are given a cold start, that is, kept in a cold oven, then cookies will turn out hard and dry, pastries will be pale and crunchy (not flaky), pizza crust won’t be crispy and chewy, and cakes will have a weird, tough layer at the bottom.
- Always follow the recipe while preheating and just don’t take it lightly for good bakes.
How to Preheat Oven?
Preheating should be the first step of your preparations. For preheating,
- first of all, make sure that everything, except the racks, has been removed.
- Rearrange the rack levels, if necessary.
- Turn the oven “ON’ and set the temperature.
- Wait until the oven reaches the desired temperature.
How to Preheat Microwave Oven
- Preheating the microwave oven is different from preheating the oven with reference to time only. I do all my baking in microwave convection only.
- Microwave convection gets preheated in just about 5 minutes even for 200 degrees C. Whereas for the same temperature an OTG would take at least 15 to 20 minutes.
- So, if you are planning to do your baking in microwave convection then preheat it just when you are 5 to 10 minutes away from getting your batter/dough ready.
- Secondly, there are no racks in the microwave so no question of adjusting them. But remember to keep the metal rack (which comes along with microwave) inside the microwave on the turntable. Yes, metal in the microwave convection oven.
How long to Preheat Oven?
- An Otg or convention oven needs to be preheated for 15 minutes at the desired temperature.
- However, if baking in microwave convection, then the preheating timing is inbuilt in the system and it takes roughly 5 to 6 minutes.
- The temperature depends on the recipe. Like loaves of bread required to be baked at high temperatures (190 or 200 degrees centigrade) whereas, cakes are baked at low temperatures (180 or 170 or 160 degrees centigrade) and cookies require even lesser temperature.
Do You Need To Preheat A Microwave Convection Oven Or Fan oven?
YES! Microwave convection oven, also known as Fan oven, also needs to be preheated before baking.
Must Read: How to Bake in Microwave Convection (Video Included)
Can We Keep Metal In Microwave Convection Oven?
Here, I would like to share a very important thing with you and that is when in the convection mode, the microwave behaves just like an OTG. Therefore in convection mode, you can keep aluminum/steel/iron vessels in it. Remember, in the microwave but only in convection mode.
For example, the recipe says, preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Your microwave takes about 5 minutes or less to pre-heat as compared to the 10-15 minutes in an OTG. So you can pre-heat the microwave even when you are just 5 minutes away from getting your cookie dough/ cake batter ready.
Now start preheating it by first pressing the ‘convection’ tab. The display unit will show 180 degrees by default. Set the desired temperature and the time. Press ‘start’ and wait for the beep to indicate that it is ready for baking.
Do I Need To Preheat Cooker/Wok/ AirFryer, If Baking In It?
- The pressure cooker needs to be preheated for at least 10 minutes.
- An air fryer is also to be preheated, just that it is preheated for just 5 to 7 minutes. You can read more about preheating the pressure cooker before baking here
Can I put food in the oven while it’s preheating?
NO. As mentioned above, the oven is preheated without food in it. Only when it is preheated, the food is kept inside for baking.
How Do You Know When The Oven Is Preheated?
Nowadays, oven thermometers are easily available through which you can know the exact temperature of the oven. But if you don’t have an oven thermometer then? Then, read below…
- Different ovens signify differently that it is ready to bake or say that it is preheated. Once the required temperature is reached, the oven lets you know, either through a beep or by turning off its thermostat light. Once it is preheated, don’t be in a hurry. You can still wait for 8 to 10 minutes. This is because the oven ‘settle’ into this temperature for 10 minutes or so.
- The reason for this is that the oven takes a little while to settle into a temperature and they run through cycles of slightly higher and slightly lower temperatures, with the indicated temperature as the average.
- But in some ovens (very old ones), they just have an on and off switch. Temperatures are not even mentioned so no question of setting temperature.
- Obviously, there is neither a beep nor light system. In such ovens, simply turn on the oven and wait for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, it is assumed that it is ready for baking. The same principle applies when you do your baking on the gas stove in a cooker or wok.
Is Preheating A Waste Of Energy?
Some might think that energy is being wasted by letting the oven run empty. Actually, preheating is not a waste of energy. First of all, the thermostat in the oven takes care of this. As soon as the oven reaches the desired temperature, the thermostat starts its work.
So if you set the temperature for 200-degrees and the oven reaches 200-degrees, it will stop heating and stop using power or fuel until the heat drops below 200-degrees and the heating elements start back up and cycle on again.
What will happen if you Do not Preheat the Oven?
If the oven is not preheated then:
- baked goods might stick in the oven. As a result, the cooking time gets extended and that too with horrible results. So you’re not actually saving time or energy anyway.
- Some recipes do, however, call for cold starts, but they will be very explicit about that in the instructions.
So, please never underestimate the importance of preheating.
Rather get in the habit of preheating your oven and get perfect baked goods.
I hope you have found this post on the importance of preheating the oven useful.
Thank you for reading this post. If you have liked this recipe then do let me know by leaving a comment below. Your feedback fuels my enthusiasm. You may share this post with your dear ones by clicking on the little buttons below. You may follow me on Facebook Pinterest Instagram for the latest recipe updates.
My acknowledgments to the following sites for providing me the relevant and valuable information regarding preheating the oven.
Visitor Rating: 5 Stars
Visitor Rating: 5 Stars
Visitor Rating: 5 Stars
Visitor Rating: 5 Stars
Visitor Rating: 4 Stars
Visitor Rating: 2 Stars
We stumbled over here by a different website and thought I may as well check things out.
I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to
checking out your web page again.
Thanks for stopping by and liking it…
Very useful info for begginers …
I havn’t used my microwave for baking etc. But Only for reheating .
Will u pl tell me what else cold b done with it other than baking which i understood. Like i want to know how to crisp cold petties,samosa, how to roasr cashew n other cooking.
I am glad it helped you.
In microwave, samosas etc do not get crispy infact get soggy. You can just warm them up for 30 seconds or so.
Besides baking, you can do cooking also like cooking rice etc. You can find the details on you tube.
Yes, you can roast nuts in it. The detailed procedure will be posted by evening. You can then check and make.
This is a good,common sense article.Very helpful to one who is just finding the resouces about this part.It will certainly help educate me.
Thank you so much…
Visitor Rating: 3 Stars
Some truly prime content on this website , saved to my bookmarks .
Thanks a lot for the article post.Really looking forward to read more.
I gotta favorite this internet site it seems very helpful very useful
pretty valuable material, overall I believe this is worth a bookmark, thanks
Visitor Rating: 5 Stars
Visitor Rating: 5 Stars
Dear Mam, I use a microwave convection oven of Onida (20Ltrs) , for breads I preheat it exactly as u mentioned i.e for 5 minutes at 200degC and later bake my breads at 180Deg C for 30 or 40 minutes. Stil from inside the bread loaf is not baked evenly and there is some dough content left in the breads. Any suggestions please
HI Samira Mam ,
Went thru all ur posts . I have baked two to three cakes out of which only one came out well . Ur post was very useful . For beginners like me . I was happy to read that u use microwave convection as I do the same . Mam – I have few doubts
1. While preheating- some recipe calls for preheat at this temp for … time . But in some recipe – it is mentioned like preheat at this temp alone without specifying any timings ( like cookies ) . What should be done in these cases ?
2. And Mam – u have specified to keep the metal rack in microwave while preheating. I used to keep the cake tin ( mine is silicone tray ) over the turntable . Is using metal rack a must
Thanks a lot
Hi Akila, thanks for going thru my posts and finding them useful.
Preheating us mandatory as you also know. If not mentioned, preheat for 15 minutes. Now a days, we have microwaves/otg which do the preheating on their own once we mention the temperature. So, in that case don’t worry about the time otherwise 15 minutes.
It is better to use the metal rack.
Actually, there are some recipes that call for a cold oven start. My tried & true pound cake, passed down from my Maternal Grandmother, starts in a cold oven and it is one of the best cakes – Ever! Iced or “plain”.
Google cold start pound cake and several recipes will pop up.
You are right. Actually, it depends on the recipe. But if a recipe calls for preheating the oven then it has to done that way.
I am really thankful to the owner of this website who has shared this wonderful piece of writing at at this place.
You most certainly can bake a pound cake in a cold oven. Whomever says no, has never done it. It blowed my mind. Try it. Nothing ventured, Nothing gained. Trust me on this one.
Okay, will give it a try sometime.