October 30, 2013

Pull up a stool...preheating your oven! I mean it!

If you've taken a minute to "Meet Euna Mae" (here) then you know that I learned a lot from her by pulling up a stool and watching her cook, asking questions, observing, and gaining an understanding of kitchen basics. So I invite you to pull up a stool...and let's talk about preheating your oven!

I know what you're thinking. Out of all the kitchen skills, preheating your oven is the one that you've got down pat. Well....just you hold on a minute. This is about to change your life.

Before I get into the 'change your life' part, let me say this. Preheat your oven. Do not put food in a cold or warming oven while the temperature rises. The cold, warm, and uneven temperatures will affect your cooking and will ruin your baking. In a big way. So follow the instructions on every recipe and preheat your oven fully, unless otherwise noted in the recipe.  Now that we're all on board...
Most ovens these days not only beep, but they also display the climbing temperature so you can watch right down to the second when your oven is 'preheated'. But guess what, y'all.  That temperature and beeping is signaling that the actual coil inside is heated to the desired temperature.  It does NOT mean that the entire oven is heated nor does it mean that it's time to open the door and put your pan in.  Although the coil is heated up to the right temperature, it takes some time for the heat to expand and fill the entire oven to the correct temperature.  So after your oven beeps or says that it's 400 degrees, wait at least 10 more minutes (20 is better if you have the time) before putting your prepared pan inside.  No more standing at the oven and sticking freezer biscuits in the oven the very second it beeps at you. Give it another little bit. Drink some sweet tea. Chop an onion. Fold some towels. Check your instagram.

If you've ever experienced oven tragedies like cookies that are burned on the bottom, unevenly baked cakes or meats, and unleavened or sunken cakes and muffins (and we all have), they could well be related to the pre-preheated oven theory.

I mean, now that you think about it - doesn't it make absolutely perfect sense?!