Before you bake something, your oven needs to be heated to the proper temperature. While it takes only a few seconds to turn on your oven, it can take several minutes for it to reach the right temperature. The act of turning on your oven and letting it heat up to the right temperature is referred to as “preheating.” Because of how long it takes for an oven to warm up, most recipes will recommend that you turn your oven on first, before starting to cook. This article will show you how to preheat both an electrical oven and a gas oven.
Consider preheating your oven before starting your recipe. Electrical ovens often need 10 to 15 minutes before they reach the proper temperature. This is often enough time to prepare your recipe. If you need more than 15 minutes in which to prepare the food, then consider starting the oven half-way through the preparation process.Open the oven to make sure everything has been removed. If you store items in your oven, such as baking trays, remove them and set them aside.Rearrange the rack levels, if necessary. Most oven racks are set in the middle of the oven, but sometimes, the dish that you are baking will need to be placed higher or lower in the oven. Refer to your recipe, and if necessary, take out the oven rack and set it to the right level. There should be narrow ledges on the inside walls of your oven for the rack to sit on.
- Items that need to get browned and crispy on top, such as casseroles and lasagnas, are generally baked towards the top of the oven.
- Items such as cakes, cookies, and cupcakes should be placed in the middle rack unless the recipe states otherwise.
- Items that need to get brown and crispy at the bottom, such as flatbread and pizzas, are placed towards the bottom of the oven.
Turn the oven on and set the temperature. To get the right temperature, you will need to refer to your recipe. The oven temperature is usually at the very beginning of the recipe, in the first step. Simply grip the dial, press down on it, and turn it until the mark lands on the right temperature.5Wait until the oven reaches the desired temperature. Most modern ovens have a setting that lets you either see the current temperature or beeps when ready. Some ovens have a little light that turns on when it is the right temperature. This light is usually next to the oven temperature dial.
- Most ovens take 10 to 15 minutes to heat up to the right temperature.
- If you have an older oven, you may not have a dial with the different temperatures written on it; you may just have an on-off switch. If this is the case, simply turn on the oven and wait 10 to 15 minutes before setting the items to be baked inside.
- Consider using an oven thermometer. Sometimes, the temperature inside the oven is not accurate and does not actually match the temperature on the dial. An oven thermometer, which is usually placed inside the oven, will tell you the actual temperature. Refer to this thermometer instead of waiting for the indicator light to go on or for the oven to beep.
Place the food inside the oven and let it bake according to the recipe. Make sure that the door is firmly closed, unless the recipe states otherwise, and do not peek inside your oven. Opening and closing the door while baking causes the internal heat to escape, which may result in longer baking times.
- If you plan on doing a lot of baking and using multiple racks, consider staggering the dishes and pans so that they are not parallel to each other. This will allow the hot air inside the oven to circulate around the food and distribute the heat more evenly.