The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Excellent site -- and a couple of first questions

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robadar's picture
robadar

Excellent site -- and a couple of first questions

I found this site today and must say it is excellent.   I have followed the newsgroup forums (alt. bread recipes and rec.food sourdough) for a number of years, but I note that they are now little used.  Is it because of the flamers and spammers?

 Question:  Why do we bake free form loaves (sourdough and baguettes, for example) in a very hot oven (425 degrees or more) compared to pan loaves which are baked at 350?

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

I don't think it is necessarily because of the shape of the bread--though free form loaves do benefit from starting out on a hot hearth.

 

I think the hotter and cooler baking temperatures are more based on the other ingredients in the bread. French/sourdough bread is "lean" which means it's just flour, water, salt (and yeast or sourdough culture). Breads (such as sandwich breads) with other additions, such as sweetners and milks etc. will have additional carmelization due to the added sugars from these ingredients in the dough. These are baked a lower temperatures so that the interior is fully baked before the exterior becomes too brown or burns.

 

Lean doughs can handle very high temperatures better because they don't have these additional ingredients , and I think a very hot hearth and oven also assist in creating those beautiful streaming bubbles in the crumb that we all love to get!

 

 

 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I think you are on the money, breadnerd.

I'll just add that the inside of a French bread is quite dry, whereas a sandwich bread should retain some moisture. One tends to bake lean doughs to a higher internal temperature, like 205-210F vs. 185-195 for enriched doughs. So baking them at a higher temperature makes sense there too.

Jeffrey's picture
Jeffrey

But i've been baking all my pan loaves at 400 to 450 degrees, too.  It seemed to work for me.

 

jeffrey

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

They're talking internal temp of the loaf of bread..not the oven  : )

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

There are always exceptions to every rule, if I'm following a recipe I use their oven termperature--at least the first time!  

But in general, lean doughs are baked at higher temperatures, and enriched doughs are usually baked at lower temperatures.

Jeffrey's picture
Jeffrey

Thank You breadnerd for the hints.  For the last couple of months, i've just been playing with my bread.  Someday i'll have to look at a recipe, again.  This makes good since too.

 

Now there's something else to play with besides sourdough and flour, oven temps.  I'm almost done with the twenty five pounds of bread flour i got for Christmas, i'll have to get another.  We make a loaf every day, but they'll be smaller now, maybe.  Plus my wife thinks i should make something else besides white bread.  So i add some WW, or rye from time to time.  It makes her happy, but white bread is more fun.

 

We learn something new, every day around here.

 

jeffrey