Guys Baking Cookies For Science

Does Preheating Your Oven Really Make a Difference?

Most baking recipes, or any recipes for that matter – usually begin with preheating instructions, followed by the preparation instructions. When you start to gather your ingredients together and measure them out, that’s the time to turn your oven on.  Depending on your baking and cooking needs, the benefits of preheating may not be as significant as the energy disadvantage you may experience.

So Why Does Every Recipe Say Preheat?

Preheating used to be a necessity back in the days of wood and coal powered stoves.  The stoves needed time to warm up in order to spread the heat evenly before baking.  Cookbook authors included the instructions in order to ensure the foods were properly cooked and baked goods turned out properly.

Today, gas and electric ovens are much more efficient than the stoves of the past.  Because of that, it may not be necessary to preheat your oven before you insert certain foods.  Still, certain delicate baked goods can come out undercooked, burned, or even fallen, depending on the oven temperature.  If the heat is constantly changing, you may ruin your breads, cookies, or cakes based on the recipe.  By preheating, you ensure the oven maintains the optimal environment and your recipe will turn out as planned.  Yet another reason to keep that oven door closed.  NO PEEKING!!

How Do I Know My Oven Is Up to Temperature?

While in operation, ovens cycle on and off to maintain an average temperature.  These cycles vary by oven and are time based rather than temperature based.  Some ovens cycle further from the desired temperature than others and some more frequently.  This is why many recipe and cookbook authors give time ranges or visual clues like:“Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean”; or “Bake until the muffin is springy to the touch”; or “Bake until the crust is golden brown around the edges.”

It is important to get to know your oven and learn to trust your own judgment.  Still, when you are in doubt, you can always use an oven thermometer.

We decided to put preheating to the test  with the help of some of the staff at our Orchard Park location and some premade sugar cookie dough.  We baked the first batch without preheating the oven and a second batch there after and timed the results…

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Clever Ways to Save in the Kitchen and Laundry Room

 

Home appliances save us a bunch of time, a bunch of energy, and a bunch of money.  We are always on the lookout for finding simple clever ways to save more time and money; and, we’re happy to pass them along.

Stains: The key to successful stain removal is pre-treating BEFORE you wash.  Keep a clean paintbrush next to your washing machine.  Instead of pouring liquid detergent on stains, paint it on.  This allows you to better target the stained area and reduces waste and spills.

** If ring around the collar is a challenge, try the paintbrish technique using a bit of hair shampoo on your dress shirts and blouses.

Keep it Clean: Run your front load washer once a month using hot water and some white vinegar.  Do not use any detergent. This will help clean out any soap residue and avoid possible service issues. If your washer has a clear window, you can look to see if the water has plenty of suds as the machine is running.  If this is the case, chances are you are either using non High Efficency (HE) detergent, or you’re just using too much.

Maintenance: Open and close washer faucets monthly, especially if you have hard water. This will help keep them from sticking when you need to turn them off in an emergency. And always turn them off when you leave for vacation to avoid returning home to any possible leaks.

Dryer Vents: The Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates there are 24,000 clothes dryer fires each year in the United States, amounting to $96,000,000 in estimated property damage. Lack of maintenance is the leading cause of dryer fires and LINT is the leading material to ignite. Be sure to check your dryer’s venting system on a regular basis. It not only improves performance but it may save your life.

Cupcakes & Muffins:   If you don’t have enough cupcake or muffin batter to fill all the openings in your tin, pour a little water into the empty ones.  This helps prevent the pan from burning and can help make cleanup a bit easier.

Breads: If baking bread is your thing, this may be the best time saver yet:  Set your covered bowl of dough in the sink with warm water.  This can really speed up the rising time and get you baking instead of waiting.

Dishwashing Dilemma: If you are doing dishes by hand and find yourself with drinking glasses that are stuck together:  Fill the top glass with cold water, then dip the outer glass in hot water.  They should come apart without strain or breakage.

** As a matter of record, we always prefer you do your dishes using an automatic dishwasher purchased at Orville’s.

 Oven Racks: To clean oven racks, take them outside and put them in a large garbage bag.  With the bag held open, spray the racks with oven cleaner, and then tuck the bag around them. Put the bag in direct sunlight for several hours-or all day, if possible.  Then remove and discard the bag. Spray the racks with a garden hose. The racks should come out sparkling clean with very little scrubbing

Cookies If your oven has 3 racks you can use all 3 for cookies but it’s not recommended for cupcakes. Baking cookies on different cookie sheets will give different results when baking with dark cookie sheets or pans lower the temperature by 25 degrees to prevent burning.

Have a tip of your own you’d like to share?  We’d love to hear from you.  Please feel free to comment below.