Dr. Oetker Stories

Preheating - really?

"How and where can I still save energy?" - this is a question many ask themselves in times of scarce resources and rising energy prices. Reason enough for us to ask the experts in our test kitchen whether it is also possible to be more efficient when preparing pizza or cakes and, for example, to dispense with preheating.

Preheating - really?

11.10.2022 Products and Services

The heating is turned down, the hot shower is cut short and electrical appliances are not operated any longer than necessary. When looking at the preparation instructions for a baking mix or frozen pizza, another question arises: "Does preheating have to be done?" Andrea Schneiker and Jens Behrend from the Dr. Oetker test kitchen tried it out.

Andrea, why do you preheat an oven?

Andrea Schneiker: Ovens are preheated to ensure that our baked products turn out safely and conveniently – with every oven. Consumers who use our baking mixes and frozen pizzas have many different ovens in their kitchens that heat up at different rates. Nevertheless, they all work with the same preparation instructions that they find on our packaging. So, to ensure a common starting temperature, the oven must be preheated. Jens Behrend: This is the only way we can give our guarantee of success, which signifies that an optimal result can be achieved with little effort if the preparation instructions are followed.

So, the perfect pizza is only possible by using a preheated oven?

Andrea Schneiker: No, you can't say that strictly. In many cases,
there is no difference in taste. However, it does take a little more effort to prepare. 

Dr. Oetker pizza is taken out of the oven.

So, if you want to save energy, you can do without preheating?

Andrea Schneiker: Yes, that's true for many pizzas but not for all. However, if you do without preheating, you have to leave the pizza in the oven for between one and ten minutes longer than usual, depending on the type of pizza. In return, the reheating time, which is usually longer, is skipped. So baking our frozen pizzas without preheating basically works well. However, there are differences depending on the range. Our Casa di Mama and Calzone pizzas should not be prepared without preheating since these are raw dough products. Our Ristorante and Tradizionale pizzas, as well as the products in the La Mia Pinsa, Intermezzo and Bistro Baguette ranges, can easily be prepared without preheating. La Mia Grande pizzas can also be cooked without preheating, but they should be allowed to thaw beforehand. For all pizzas, the preparation time is extended by a few minutes. The pizza is ready to eat as soon as the pizza is heated through, browned at the edges and the cheese has melted. So, consumers should check the oven every now and then to see if the pizza is ready.

This video provides an insight into the test kitchen, where our experts make huge efforts to ensure that a frozen pizza always succeeds, regardless of the oven. If something does go wrong, Dr. Oetker Consumer Service will be happy to help.

What about the baking mixes, Jens?

Jens Behrend: With our baking mixes, the results are very similar. Heating time and thus energy can be saved. At the same time, the baking time is slightly longer, and the baking result must be checked more frequently. For this purpose, the cooking test with a wooden stick is suitable. This is inserted into the center of the cake and then pulled out again. The cake is baked and ready if no dough sticks to the stick.

So if you don't preheat the cake, you don't have to worry about poorer quality?

Jens Behrend: In a direct comparison between baked goods prepared in a preheated oven and baked goods prepared in a non-preheated oven, we do notice minor differences. In my tests, a farmer's bread and brownies remained somewhat flatter and more compact. Since the temperatures of modern ovens can be very high at the beginning to heat up faster, muffins that I put directly into the oven baked up a bit crooked. Still, the differences are quite small. So preheating is not a must.

So will preheating be removed from preparation instructions in the future?

Andrea Schneiker: Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Our consumers rely on the guaranteed success of our products and appreciate how uncomplicated they are to use. Since reliable preparation instructions, including a time indication, are impossible without preheating, we cannot exclude preheating at this point.Jens Behrend: Whether a pizza or a baking mix is prepared with or without preheating is up to each individual. If minor deviations do not bother you and you are prepared to take a look in the oven more often and, depending on the product, do a cooking test, you can do without preheating and save energy.