Thread Number: 72258  /  Tag: Recipes, Cooking Accessories
Instead of preheating the oven, try a cold start and postheating
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Post# 955271   8/30/2017 at 08:52 (291 days old) by joeekaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        

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A few decades ago when I was in my teens and still living at home with the parents, both of our local utilities (SoCal Edison and SoCal Gas) encouraged customers to skip preheating their ovens for recipes with baking times of 30 minutes or more.  I've been doing that ever since with excellent results and have added an extra step, especially when cooking meats and poultry: leave the food in the oven for an additional 15 minutes, i.e.: cooking on stored heat.


We have a Hotpoint gas stove with a self-cleaning oven/broiler so heat loss is not a major problem.  The oven also lacks a fast preheat cycle which would light both burners and probably scorch the top of the food on a cold start.  Similarly, most fast-preheat ovens have a way to disable the feature.


If you want to give it a try, here's a no-boil version of my Baked Chili Cheese Mac recipe.


2 15-oz. cans chili (with or without beans as desired)

2 chili cans of water

1 lb. uncooked elbow macaroni

1 lb. shredded Cheddar cheese


Spray your 5-quart Corning Ware Pyroceram or Visions Dutch oven with non-stick cooking spray.


Combine chili, water and macaroni in a large mixing bowl.  Stir together for about a minute to make sure every elbow is saturated inside and out.  Fold in the cheese.


Dump the mixture into the prepared Dutch oven, poking any errant elbows below the surface.  Don't worry about the soupy consistency.


Set the Dutch oven on the middle rack and bake uncovered from a cold start for 1 hour.  Leave in the oven an additional 15 minutes, then remove and let stand at room temperature for 15 more minutes.


Total cooking time is comparable to par-boiling the macaroni first.


Shovel into bowl, admire, then DIG IN!

  View Full Size

Post# 955285 , Reply# 1   8/30/2017 at 09:56 (291 days old) by henene4 (Germany)        
Not preheating

Works wonders for some things (meats, everythin with verry long cooking times) and even better with fanforced heting.

A few things however I still preheat, though, not always to full temperature.
Everyting that is frozen goes in once it reaches ~150C (our oven can show you the current temp during heating up). The faster thawing and quick evaporation of ice makes getting things crispy easier and quicker.
Cakes go in only when fully preheated.

Post# 955286 , Reply# 2   8/30/2017 at 10:24 (291 days old) by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        

Interesting. Did either utility ever say how much energy was saved by using this technique? Have you found any foods this would not work with?

I haven't baked anything in years. The bending and stooping involved with using a typical oven is too painful. Any kitchen I have a hand in designing or renovating will have 42" counters, a drawer dishwasher, a GE Cabinette, and a Flair or Flair-style stove. I wouldn't be surprised if baking came back onto my radar then, lol.

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Post# 955292 , Reply# 3   8/30/2017 at 10:54 (291 days old) by turquoisedude (Ogden & St-Liboire (where??), QC, Canada)        

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This makes sense.... Look back in the old range instruction books for timed cooking of an entire oven meal.  No way to preheat in that situation and from experience, I can say it works fine! 


I can't imagine cakes or pastry working as well with this method, though.  

Post# 955299 , Reply# 4   8/30/2017 at 11:26 (291 days old) by DADoES (TX,U.S. of A.)        

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Can't do a preheat on my oven when using the temp probe ... which is aimed largely for use with meats.

Post# 955301 , Reply# 5   8/30/2017 at 11:27 (291 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I remember a recipe from the 40s and 50s for a "cold start pound cake." As I remember, it did not make a lot of difference whether you preheated or not except for a lengthening of the bake time when started in a cold oven.

Post# 955307 , Reply# 6   8/30/2017 at 12:51 (291 days old) by JoeEkaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        

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Note also that this seems to work best with glass (Pyrex) and vitroceramic (Corning Ware Pyroceram, Visions, etc.) bakeware, possibly due to the heat-retaining nature of the material with fewer hot spots than metal.

Yeah, l know, it's exactly the opposite of what people say about using Corning Ware on the stove.

Post# 955310 , Reply# 7   8/30/2017 at 13:09 (291 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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My mother had a Farberware convection oven, and we never preheated as far as I can recall. IIIRC she said the manual (or a cookbook or something) had said it wasn't necessary.


But I preheat these days, unless I'm directed otherwise. (I think there are/have been frozen pizzas that direct one to use a cold oven...but I can't say for sure. It's been so long since I'd have baked one.)



Post# 955311 , Reply# 8   8/30/2017 at 13:14 (291 days old) by LordKenmore (The Laundry Room)        

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I haven't baked anything in years. The bending and stooping involved with using a typical oven is too painful. Any kitchen I have a hand in designing or renovating will have 42" counters, a drawer dishwasher, a GE Cabinette, and a Flair or Flair-style stove. I wouldn't be surprised if baking came back onto my radar then, lol.


A wall mounted oven might be worth adding to your list. Countertop ovens of some sort can also be a nice solution--I mentioned the Farberware convection oven we had. That was our only oven for more than 10 years, and we never felt particularly limited. Indeed, my mother came to really like convection ovens, and swore that was her ideal even if/when getting a "real" oven again.


Post# 955320 , Reply# 9   8/30/2017 at 14:34 (291 days old) by DADoES (TX,U.S. of A.)        

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Our 1964 Martha Washington wall oven (turquoise :-)) had automatic preheat in the thermostat. It cut-out @ ~350F, IIRC.

Post# 955322 , Reply# 10   8/30/2017 at 14:59 (291 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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Other than cakes and pastries, neither of which I make any more I never preheat, even for bread. Just put it in, set the temp and timer if necessary.   As well, say I'm boiling spaghetti noodles.. I let the water boil maybe 5-6 minutes (with the noodles in it)  and shut the burner off for rest of the time.. 

Post# 955334 , Reply# 11   8/30/2017 at 16:53 (291 days old) by norgeway (mocksville n c )        
Some Monarchs

Had automatic preheat, fine for some things, but several cake recipes work better with a cold start.

Post# 955346 , Reply# 12   8/30/2017 at 18:04 (291 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

The fabulous Wilcolator thermostats like on my 1954 Frigidaire master oven will do a blue streak preheat if you turn the thermostat all the way up to BROIL, then back to the selected temperature to engage both oven units. The broiler element cut out about 75 degrees before the selected temperature was reached, giving the approximately 3000 watt open coil element time to cool down a bit as it coasted into the finish line.


Secrets of cooking with the current off was one of the things I learned from old owners' manuals for electric ranges.

Post# 955347 , Reply# 13   8/30/2017 at 18:38 (291 days old) by jkbff (Happy Rock, ND)        

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This is why I pulled out that modern whirlpool that I had.

I had gotten so used to not preheating the oven when we'd start cooking in the mornings at the catering places.

Grandma has always used the oven warming to temp as a way of getting that last bit of oven spring on fresh bread.

This race for fast preheat just changes the way everything works.

Post# 955348 , Reply# 14   8/30/2017 at 18:50 (291 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Looks like a great AMKrayoKookingProject!

And what I'd either call a practice makes (or WILL make) perfect, or almost made it on the first try...

First of all the directions on these bread sticks call for preheating to 425, but just SET at that temperature and popped 'em in (on a pizza rack, that I right away, using for biscuits and cookies, found it was for MORE than just PIZZA!) while setting the timer for eight-out-of-the-four-to-eight-minutes, stated, then, flipping them over, gave 'em an additional two-minutes, flipping them over again, to the original right size up, (and then there goes the (BEEP!, BEEP!, BEEP!) preheat-alarm) watching them (maybe I needed to turn the heat off, to do the post-heating, but the oven arrived right AT the proper temp.) real carefully, gave the finished product:

(Click & guess the Before-and-After shots)

-- Dave


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Post# 955369 , Reply# 15   8/30/2017 at 22:56 (291 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
That chili recipe sounds great!

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Some dishes require preheating, some do not.

Definitely going to try the mac and chili - vegetarian style. Thanks!

Post# 955437 , Reply# 16   8/31/2017 at 10:49 (290 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Baking cakes,

breads and cookies usually require pre heating. Braising covered meats not so much, or if you've browned them first.
Roasts and smaller poultry do tend to be juicier if the first 20 minutes or so is at a higher temp. like 425 or 450 f., then lower the temp.

Steam ovens seem to be the new fad. You can always add water to the roasting pan which also makes steam.

So we've had this GE profile slide in model dual fuel convection range for ten years. My stepson was cooking with ear bud head phones on and flooded the cook top with oil one evening we were out. I had him clean the stove the next morning.
A few days later, I made pasta sauce, and spaghetti. Soon after I cleaned it again, the igniter control for the right front power burner caught fire.
That was the burner he used. I called GE, and they felt it was a safety concern.
They serviced the range free of charge and replaced the igniter control and harness. All was fine for about 6 months.

Now if we try heating the oven past 350 it shuts down with an F9 error code. faulty door lock, but the door locks, then unlock once it cools down enough.
Sometimes the cooling fan for the control board comes on strong, but not until it really is warm enough, then we can bump up the oven temp above 350.

I don't know if the board is faulty, or the cooling fan motor is weak, or both.
It will likely cost at least $500 to repair. Rather than throw good money after bad, maybe it would be wiser to get a new range. It won't be GE of course, maybe a Dacor 30 inch "Distinction" series. if anyone knows if this Dacor is a reliable unit, I'd appreciate input.
Hubby is not fond of vintage appliances or much else, and our kitchen is already updated.
We make prime rib for holidays, etc. and this GE has performed well, but I realize it isn't a professional range.
I don't mind spending $4 grand, but I don't want to spend more. The Viking that is that much isn't self cleaning. A Wolf costs well over $5 grand.

Post# 955514 , Reply# 17   8/31/2017 at 19:49 (290 days old) by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        

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Hi Mike, regarding your 10 YO GE dual fuel range, fix it, it is a far better range than a Viking or a Dacor, if fact I can not imagine anything worse than a Dacor.


If you want a new range get another GE, it is not throwing money away to spend $500 fixing your GE if you are willing to spend $3000 on a POS.


John L.

Post# 955529 , Reply# 18   8/31/2017 at 23:46 (290 days old) by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

I concur.  Viking and even Dacor are overpriced and under-performers.  I too like duel fuel, but went the separates route, gas cooktop electric oven in the space formally occupied years ago by a slide in range.

Post# 955560 , Reply# 19   9/1/2017 at 07:57 (289 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Thank's John L., and Matt,

that does make sense. besides, I realized that Dacor likely uses MABE and China sourced parts the same as GE does.
GE has eliminated the burner knob well's on the newer version of my range, and the oven vent is on the top rather than the front between the door and control panel face.
Or we could go the separate cooktop and oven route. A quartz counter top edge can be fabricated and seamed in, and an oven cabinet added. The colors are still available from Silestone and Thomasville. Or, the rear piece of counter behind the range can be cut out, as it is seamed in, then we can get a less expensive free standing range too.
Son is moving out next week, so we won't be cooking nearly as often. Woo Hoo! we're empty nester's at last.

Post# 955565 , Reply# 20   9/1/2017 at 08:23 (289 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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I did it again w/ a frozen TV dinner yesterday & it turned out good--better than the microwave, although needing 30-minutes...

-- Dave

Post# 955927 , Reply# 21   9/3/2017 at 14:25 (287 days old) by DaveTranter (Central England)        
Finishing cooking with 'waste heat'

It's nice to see that others have had the same idea. For years, I have turned the heat (gas) off in the oven about 5-15 minutes before the end of 'cook time' in order to make use of what would otherwise be wasted gas and money (fuel is very expensive over here!!).
I also add a bit of water to the roaster when cooking meat, not only to help prevent drying in the time before the meat produces it's own moisture, but also to help prevent sticking during the same time period.
Not sure whether anyone else does this, but I also turn off the gas under boiled rice as soon as water no longer runs out of the rice when the pan is tilted. I then leave the pan (covered, of course) on the hot gas ring while everything else finishes cooking. Result:- rice which is always fluffy, never soggy, and cooked to perfection.

All best

Dave T

Post# 956026 , Reply# 22   9/4/2017 at 06:59 (286 days old) by henene4 (Germany)        
Waste heat cooking

With the EU energy label, manufacturers had to find a way to save energy on every appliance, even ovens.

So they designed a special oven setting, usually called something like "Convection Eco" or "Moist convection".
Things they did was, for example:
- widening the temperature offset the oven maintains
- timeing reheating cycles for the test procedures (there are I think 5 or 6 normed meals they have to prepare, and thus, they can adapt heating times)
- adding automatic waste heat usage into their timers and forcing test procedures to use timerer settings
- optimized heating up cycles by cycleing the heating elements more often and thus getting more even temperature distribution
- some high end models can control the amount of airexchange between oven and surrounding

Post# 957112 , Reply# 23   9/11/2017 at 11:45 (279 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
Wonder if some PICS of what I put in speak for themselves?

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Seems like this could be a never-ending story-thread:

-- Dave

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Post# 957128 , Reply# 24   9/11/2017 at 15:01 (279 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Oh, how did the steak and eggs get there? I think I meant a pic of the pie that I made...

And,--Oops!--I forgot the CHICKEN NUGGETS...

-- Dave

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Post# 957150 , Reply# 25   9/11/2017 at 17:19 (279 days old) by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
Interesting idea

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There are some scratch-made cakes like sponge cakes that would suffer from being started in a cold oven. Yeast breads would likely over-proof in a cold oven and collapse before starches and proteins set properly; they need the boost of a hot "Oven Spring". I wonder what it would do with pastry doughs with very high butter percentages such as puff pastry and pie pastry. I would bet that all of that precious butter would bleed out onto the baking sheet where it would do nobody any good.


You might also experience some spoilage with large roasts that would stay in the danger zone for longer than desirable periods of time when started in a cold oven. I'd be careful with this technique.

Post# 957152 , Reply# 26   9/11/2017 at 17:32 (279 days old) by henene4 (Germany)        

Actually, I'd rather think that with smaller cuts of meet, the danger would be bigger. With large cuts, the time it takes for the center to heat beyond danger zone is far longer then the heatup time anyway by a factor of 2-6. With smaller cuts, that would be about 1.

What I mean is that a huge roast takes, lets say, 2 hours in a oven when preheated. When not preheated, the roast may take 20-30 min longer. That is only 1/4 of the cooking time more, which means 1.25h times the total cooking time or maybe 1 bacteria generation.
With smaller cuts, which might only take about 30 min preheated, the total cooking time might go up to an hour or so, effectivley dubbleing the ccoking time.

Raw breads and sponge cakes though do need a verry hot oven to start. They absorb a lot of heat at the beginning and need the structure to solidify rather quickly.

One slightly off-topic thing about meat: Miele offers a special function for cooking bigger cuts of meat. The oven automaticly heats to a temperature of about 230C (450F) independet of selected temp to ensure quick heating and a good searing with maximum power used (I think all elements are used) and then slows down to the selected temp using only the convection heating.
Allows you to use lower temps and get more exact results with less effort. Combined with their moisture assist system, most meats do not need to be doused at all and still get a perfectly crispy crust.

Post# 957167 , Reply# 27   9/11/2017 at 19:38 (279 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
More, O.T. w/ a Sprig of PARSLEY! (& Spinach!)

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Yeh, well, that steak 'n' eggs was cooked on the stove, followed by another dish o' that w/ potatoes, tomatoes and toast... I got a few other flanks that I think I will broil...

And also, here are some bacon-wrapped burgers, (though my wife didn't want ANY wrapped around her's) also cooked on the stove, that next time around I'll broil--and they could also use some PEPPERCORNS! Note my attempt at auGratin potatoes, w/ the emphasis on "Rah-Tin!"...

-- Dave

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Post# 957188 , Reply# 28   9/12/2017 at 01:49 (279 days old) by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        
What part of the chicken is the "nugget", anyway?

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Cooking with waste heat is a good tactic. And not just for roasts and such. It's also a way to get a perfectly good grilled or pan fried steak. You sear both sides, then cook maybe three minutes each side at low heat, then put the steak between two plates, wrap in a towel, and let it sit (rest) for 5-10 minutes where residual heat will do the rest. It also tends to keep the meat juicier by incorporating a cool down period.

I accidentally discovered the value of waste heat when I was roasting a chicken in the outdood covered charcoal BBQ. I had been tending it, and got about half-way through the roasting process, and then my guest arrived, and I got distracted and didn't check the coals again. Might have been a hour or so. Finally she wondered if there was something to eat. I remembered about the chicken - the coals had died down to a very low heat level, but the chicken was delicious. Perfectly browned, tender and juicy.

Post# 957229 , Reply# 29   9/12/2017 at 09:25 (278 days old) by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        
How'd that Initial Beefy Mac 'N' Cheese REALLY T

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To me, it seemed like from the 1st post onward there'd be no worries over meat--OK, NUGGET-SHAPED CHICKEN--being undercooked by this method, as the few things that I'd made,, not so demanding in the time/temp/heat exposure allowed to 'em, turned out OK, as in fully cooked & edible--& no illnesses or death from food poisoning either...

-- Dave

Post# 957234 , Reply# 30   9/12/2017 at 09:46 (278 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
Kid's today

sure love those chicken nuggets. We didn't have those when I was a kid.
Fish sticks on occasion. We ate what my mom cooked, period! Some things we had to learn to like. My mothers food was seldom boring. Some families ate ground beef 5 nights a week.
Mom never made burgers inside the house, ever. A Spanish style burger/rice pie though. Even salads varied, with endive one day, escarole the next, etc.
Never more than one starch in a meal, and always two green items.

Post# 957236 , Reply# 31   9/12/2017 at 09:59 (278 days old) by joeekaitis (Rialto, California, USA)        
"Some families ate ground beef 5 nights a week."

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Perhaps they believed Dr. Salisbury (for whom the steak was named) when he claimed that from teething age to 12 years, a child needs nothing more than Salisbury Steak and water to grow fit and healthy.


Seems Dr. Salisbury believed the t-shirt slogan "VEGETABLES Are What FOOD Eats."

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