Is it really necessary to preheat the oven?…

Whether it’s in grandma’s recipe books or on food or frozen food packaging: most of the time, you’ll read the standard phrase “Preheat oven, please”. An expert explains when this is unnecessary.

If you don’t have the time or patience – for example, when your stomach is rumbling – preheating the oven can be a tedious task. But how do you properly preheat the oven? And how long should you wait before the oven is ready for pizza, cake and gratin? answers these questions in this article.

Is it always necessary to preheat the oven?

No, in fact, it’s not always necessary to preheat the oven. For roasts, simmered dishes or certain cakes, for example, you can dispense with preheating and put the dishes in the oven straight away. Preheating is important when the dish requires a specific time and a constant temperature.

If you use the oven’s convection function, you can also dispense with preheating. Preheating is only recommended for delicate doughs, such as puff pastry.

How long does it take to preheat the oven?

Whatever type of oven you use, you should allow a few minutes for the process – at least five, at most fifteen, although a few extra minutes won’t hurt. It’s best to turn on the oven first, and then start the cooking or baking preparations. This gives the oven enough time to reach the desired temperature. Modern ovens are often equipped with a light that indicates when the set temperature has been reached.

How many degrees should I set?

The temperature indicated in the recipe should be set directly. Don’t forget to pay attention to the necessary oven modes and set them.

A common mistake when preheating the oven

Before raising the temperature, remove everything from the oven. If plates are also heated, the oven consumes more energy. What’s more, a heated baking tray can have a negative effect on the baking result, because if you put dough on an already hot tray, the temperature difference may be too great too quickly.

Three more energy-saving tips for the oven

  • Baking is even more energy-efficient if the oven is used for several successive passes, for example to bake several sheets of cookies.
  • Another energy-saving function can also be used: if the oven is marked with the fan symbol in the circle, it has a hot-air function. This reduces the cooking temperature by 20 to 30 degrees Celcius compared to the top and bottom heat. But beware: the hot air function is not a revolving heat function – this one has the fan symbol without the circle.
  • According to the Bavarian Consumer Centre, you can also save energy by switching off the oven ten minutes before the end of cooking and using the residual heat.