The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread burns on the bottom, before it changes color on top

ctyne's picture
ctyne

Bread burns on the bottom, before it changes color on top

So I have been failing over the past few months to make a decent loaf of bread.  Basically ever since I moved My bread stays doughy white on top and begins to burn on the bottom.  I tried pretty much everything I can think of with no great improvment. 


That includes:



  • top rack

  • bottom rack

  • moving the racks 

  • directly on the stone

  • stone then pan

  • no stone

  • stone on bottom rack bread on top rack

  • steam (all varieties)

  • different pans (sometimes that changes things but never for the better)


Is there any good ideas or magic bullets?  The oven is electric and pretty new.  Maybe a year or two old.  I see the same things with my pizzas as well.  The crust never gets brown...


HELP PLEASE!!!!


--Chris

arzajac's picture
arzajac

What temperature are you using and what kind of stone is it?


 

ctyne's picture
ctyne

I normally try and follow the recipe, so it ranges from 350 - 475 usually.

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Are you using an oven thermometer to verify your temperature?  Your actual oven temperature can vary significantly (70 degrees or more) from the setting.  An inexpensive spring-type oven thermometer will enable you to check your temp and make adjustments as necessary.


Have you tried putting your bread on an inverted sheet pan on the rack or stone?  That might help, too.  But making sure your temp is right is the first thing I would recommend trying.

johnster's picture
johnster

I was using an electric oven, too.  For me, the solution was to put my cast iron skillet on the very bottom shelf, and my stone on the shelf above that.  I've never had the burnt-bottom problem since.


 


I bake my pizza very hot, at 550.  When I had the problem of the bottom winning the race to "doneness" before the top, I moved it up a rack the next time, and that solved the problem.


 


One other thought, there should be clearance around the stone for the hot air to move up.  If you have lined a shelf with tiles, that could inhibit air flow.


 


I hope that helps.


 


John

ctyne's picture
ctyne

I will do both of those things tonight.  Thanks for the suggestions!

holds99's picture
holds99

First, get an oven thermometer and check to make sure your oven is calibrated correctly e.g. when you set the temperature control on a specified temperature such as 375 deg. F, it is actually registering that temperature inside the oven.


I presume from your post you are using a baking stone.  What works for me is the following.


FWIW.  Place a large baking pan (I use an aluminum 11 1/2" X 16" heavy baking pan with 1" sides) on the bottom oven rack, just above the bottom heating element, in the oven.  I keep a 10" Lodge cast iron skillet sitting in the middle of the aluminum baking pan (bottom shelf) into which I pour hot water to create steam for my rustic loaves.


The large aluminum pan will serve to deflect a good bit of the direct-heat (from the bottom heating element in the oven) away from the bottom of your baking stone.  Your baking stone should be sitting on the next rack above the baking pan containing the skillet.  You can raise the rack holding the stone to the next rack slot if needed, but keep the pan and cast iron skillet on the botton rack. 


I do a lot of bread baking at temperatures up to 480 degrees F and don't have a problem with the bottoms scorching or the tops under cooking. 


One final thought.
If your tops begin getting too brown too fast, cover them with aluminum foil.
If your bottoms are getting too brown too fast, lower your oven temperature.


Good luck with your baking adventures,


Howard

Darwin's picture
Darwin

I baked 2 loaves today in dutch ovens and the bottoms where on the black side.  The only things that are different is that I removed the baking stone and pan of water.  In the past I placed the DO directly on the stone and a pan of water under that.  The bread was great except for the bottom, so I am going to add the deflector and steam pan back under the DO .

ehanner's picture
ehanner

ctyne,
I think you may have a top element that isn't coming on as it should. I had presumed that the only time the top element was heated was when I turned the broiler on but that isn't the way it works. Depending on which brand of oven you have, the ratio will be different but I believe most electric ovens heat from both sides on the bake setting. Some of the better ovens even have specific settings that mimic a stone oven environment by adjusting the top coil.


I know this top heating is true to some degree even on my cheap Whirlpool oven. I have to be careful when warming the oven for a few seconds to proof not to get the plastic bag close to the broiling coil or it will melt on the bake setting.


If the broil coil works when you set the controls to broil then it's probably a switch or control issue. If the broiler is dead then replace that component. Hope this helps.


Eric

holds99's picture
holds99

I don't know why the broiler heating element (top) would come on if the oven is preheated to the correct baking temperature and set on BAKE...unless, as you said, there's a malfuntion.  On mine the only time my top coil turns on (that I know of) is when it's set for BROIL.  Maybe his/her setting is set incorrectly or maybe my oven is just strange.


That's life in the bread lane...


Howard

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Howard, my top unit works with the bottom unit to heat the oven.  I only know this because, when I first moved into my house, the oven would never come to full temp, and it turned out the top unit was broken.

holds99's picture
holds99

On another baking note.  Willie Nelson is coming to the amphitheater here in St. Augustine, Florida in March and my wife and I have tickets (true).  So, we're going to try to hook up with Willie and the band after the concert and get the recipe (and the secret ingredient) he uses when he bakes those delicious brownies for the stage crew and the band...the ones he serves aboard the Prevost 48' tour bus.  If successful I'll be sure to post it sometime in late March.  I'll keep everyone posted.


Meanwhile, I'm looking for a 3/8" hex socket so I can get my oven put back together.


Howard

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Howard, I think Willie's brownies might have at least one ingredient that you may not be able to find in the local grocery store.  Unless you live in CA.  Then you can get it in a vending machine.


Phyl

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Most Electric Ovens, if not all, utilize the top element for heating as well as the bottom. I am told by a reputable source that most ovens made in the last 30 years feed a percentage of the power that is supplied to the bottom coil, to the top. This helps in pre heating, browning and general even baking. It's a pretty clever design idea and unknown by most people apparently.


Burning on the bottom with light colored tops would be a symptom of all of the heat radiating from the bottom element, it seems to me.


Eric

holds99's picture
holds99

I just went in the kitchen and turned on my G.E. oven, which is about a year old, to 475 degrees F. and pressed the ON button.  The "PRE" (Preheat indicator went on) and the bottom heating element kicked in and went hot almost immediately...and all the time this was happening I can place my hand on the top heating element, which remains cold.  Maybe I have a G.E. that's defective.  


This much I do know for certain. Each time that I have preheated my oven to the proper baking temperature before putting my loaves into my oven I have never expericenced burned bottoms and light colored tops on my loaves.  But that doesn't mean it didn't happen to someone else...using another oven...in another place and time.


Howard

ericb's picture
ericb

Howard,


I learned the hard way that the top element in my electric oven is on during baking. It's not hot enough to turn red, but it's sure hot enough to make your skin stick to it...


 


eric brown


 

Patf's picture
Patf

Wondering what kind of oven you use, where is the source of heat etc.


I use a gas oven, and here in France they are made with the burners in the base. My current oven is ok but the last one used to burn everything on the bottom. So I stood the bread tins on another large flat tin with a thick layer of newspaper between . This might work for you.