Is it really important to preheat the oven before proceeding with the actual baking? I never preheat the oven, and I wonder if this might affect the quality of whatever it is I'm baking. Thanks, Sarah! --iVillager lavender831
Absolutely preheat your oven for baking. Baked goods rely upon a preheated and hot oven in order to bake properly or to have some sort of characteristic form during the first 10 minutes of baking. A bread crust, for example, forms during the initial stages of putting it in the oven. It will have a gray color and will be misshapen if the oven wasn't hot enough initially. You may want to purchase an oven thermometer, available from the grocery store, to make sure your oven temperature is accurate.
Sarah Phillips is the author of Healthy Oven Baking Book.