December 6, 2010

How to Pre-Heat an Oven

This is Basic of Baking - Part II - Pre-heating an Oven. Here's Part I - Getting started with baking.

I know it sounds silly that I write an entire post on this but check these stats out:

- Since I started blogging, I have received 134 emails in total, with questions, comments, suggestions, etc
- 88 of them are baking-related questions
- 32 of them asked oven-related questions
- 18 of them are about pre-heating an oven

So, how do we pre-heat an oven. Its really very simple, in fact too simple, which is probably why many people have questions about it.

Oven Clip Art

2 Steps to Pre-Heat your Oven

Step 1: Remove everything from the oven except the oven racks. Position them in the middle (where I leave them by default unless the recipe specifies otherwise). Turn on the oven and set the temperature to what the recipe specifies. Don't worry, nothing will explode! (Been there, feared that)

For eg: if it says "bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C / 350F" then that means you should turn your oven on to 180C / 350F. If your oven uses Gas, then there will be gas marks on the oven, just go online to get a conversion from centigrade or fahrenheit to gas mark.

Step 2: In most ovens, there will be a light or a "ping" indicator that changes colour or makes a ping noise when the oven has reached the desired temperature. This should take roughly 10-15 mins depending on temperature so turn on the oven mid-way through the preparation steps.

Most recipes call that as the first step but I usually find that too early so I do it mid-way through the preparation of the dough or batter or whatever.

That's it! Once your oven is pre-heated, place your item in and bake till done!

But wait, I hear some of you saying that your oven doesn't have a temperature knob. My mom has been using one of those for over 30 years. There's only an on-off button and absolutely nothing else, not even a light that goes green or orange. Its still okay, you can bake beautifully in this oven too. Just make sure you turn on the oven for a good 10 mins before placing the batter/dough in it to bake. Keep an eye on the time (as mentioned in recipe) and also the appearance of the baked item. For a cake, make sure you check if its rising, you can also try inserting a skewer to see if its coming out clean. If you need to, stop the oven for a bit, check and then re-start if its not done. Just make sure you are quick about it.

If you have any further questions, leave a comment and I will do an FAQ post :)