We’ve all been there: standing impatiently in front of the oven with a full cake pan, ready to pop it into the oven as soon as the preheating light clicks off. But wait, says Dorie Greenspan. There’s a good reason why you should give it another minute — or maybe ten.

When a Viking oven repairman came by to tune up her oven, Greenspan picked his brain about oven temperature cycles, and shares his expert advice on her blog. Ovens cycle on and off in order to keep a consistent average temperature, which means that in order to maintain an average of 350°F, an oven might go up to 375°F before turning off and drop back down to 325°F before cycling back on.

So why should you wait awhile after the oven initially preheats? Apparently, the initial rise in temperature is the most extreme, up to 50°F higher than desired. According to the Viking rep, after three cycles on and off, the oven is the most consistent, so it makes sense to wait a little bit before slipping a temperature-sensitive baked good into a just-preheated oven.

Of course, ovens are notoriously eccentric beasts, so the best advice is always to get familiar with the particular quirks of your own.

Check it out: Preheating Your Oven: Count to 3 and Be Patient at Dorie Greenspan’s blog

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