The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How long do you bake a sandwhich loaf?

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NYamateur's picture
NYamateur

How long do you bake a sandwhich loaf?

I forgot a 100% whole wheat sandwhich loaf in the oven (my timer isnt that loud) and much to my surprise is was not burnt.  In fact it came out fantastic.  It bake was just over an hour in total, 12 minutes @ 450 F and then another 53 minutes at 400 F.  The loaf had a great hollow thump on the bottom and the crust was super crispy (i didn't even steam it!).  So now im wondering if I should just start baking longer.  


what are your typical bake times and temps for lean doughs?

xaipete's picture
xaipete

My 1 1/2 pound whole wheat loaves baked in pyrex at 350 degrees take about 50 minutes to bake.


But I always check for 'doneness' with a thermometer; I like my breads cooked to about 205 degrees measured in the center of the loaf.


--Pamela

baltochef's picture
baltochef

Using an instant read thermometer will allow you to always be correct as to doneness..As long as you know what temperature a particular bread should be baked to..


There is a very great disdain for any chef using a thermometer in restaurant kitchens and bakeries..Using a thermometer to make sure that pork and fowl are safely cooked is deemed mandatory, and accepted..But, using that same thermometer to check a loaf of bread for doneness is frowned upon..It is as if one cannot be a "real" chef if they cannot tell when the bread is done without the thermometer..


I could not begin to tell you how many times I have been verbally jerked around, and made fun of, for my Thermapen digital thermometer..The vast majority of chefs seem to acquaint expensive digital thermometer with dilettante chef..I had one boss that constantly made fun of me for it..That is, until my cold station passed the Health Inspection..The inspector was going too fail my station without even checking it because of previous run-ins that he had had with my boss..Until I whipped out the Thermapen from my back pocket and shoved it into the well with the flavored mayonaise (the most problematic food usually to be found on a cold station line), and demanded to know why I was going to be given a failing grade when even the mayo was well within the safe range for temperatures..After that, no more crap from that boss about the Thermapen..


Sorry for the digression..Get yourself a thermometer and temp your loaves..If you bake the same breads all of the time, then the thermometer probably will not be neded every bake..But, it is nice to use to check yourself every now and then..


It is amazing how the crumb will dry out on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th days after baking when you let a loaf bake even 5F too hot when done..This is where the thermometer can elevate one's quality of baking..Not just in making sure that a particular bread is adequately cooked, but IN NOT over baking it even as little as 2F-5F..Small differences in over baking can make a huge difference if the bread needs to be consumed over a period of time extending from 3-6 days after baking..It matters, too, if the bread is going to be frozen..Regardless of what bread books, and other bakers will tell you, freezing ALWAYS has a deleterious effect on foods..Unlees foods are vacumn sealed in thick plastic, freezing almost always dehydrates foods to one degree or another..Sometimes the difference when thawed is very small, and other times the difference is huge..The longer foods are frozen the more they are affected..


That is why I take great pains to try and NOT to over bake any breads that I freeze..I consider my two Thermapen digital thermometers to be ESSENTIAL tools, worth every penny of their now considerable $90.00 price tag (I bought mine years ago when they cost less!!)..One resides permanently in the full-length drawer of my kitchen cart at home, and the second is on my person every day that I work in a commercial kitchen..I will never return to using analogue dial thermometers unless I have no other choice..One of these dial thermometers is in my tool roll as a back-up to the Thermapen should it become damaged, or malfunction for some reason..That is the onlt time I use them any more..


Bruce

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I too am a Thermapen lover! I didn't want to pay the high price and ended up finally buying one on eBay. I really didn't save any money and it turned out to be Celsius, but I've adjusted over the years. I think it is even worth a $100. I mean, I use it multiple times every day!


I never thought about not overcooking bread to such a fine degree. How do you determine the proper temperature for each type of bread, i.e., there are so many types?


--Pamela

baltochef's picture
baltochef

Pamela


Each type of bread is a little different, although the acceptable temperature range seems to be between 190F-210F, with most breads falling somewhere into the middle of this range..It is my belief that the same bread recipe using the exact same ingredients made by fifty different bakers in fifty different places around the planet will necessitate slightly different oven temperatures, and slightly different final internal loaf temperatures in order to accomodate the different climate / altitude conditions that are present in those fifty kitchens..


That being said, the only way to determine what works best in YOUR kitchen is to keep accurate notes..Recipe, type of flour, hydration level, humidity level of environment, temperature of environment, barometric pressure, weather conditions outside, length of time spent on each stage of build, was dough retarded, type of refrigerator used to retard dough, temperature of refrigerator used to retard dough, length of time spent in retardation, how was dough warmed up after retarding, length of time required to bring retarded dough back to room temperature, temperature of oven, length of time baked, what type of pan was used, material the pan is made from, was a stone / bricks / tiles used as a heat sink in the oven, what type of oven was used, what was the oven's heat source, was steam used, how was steam applied, length of time steam was applied, final internal temperature of loaf, condition of crust, color of crust, taste of crust, texture of crumb, color of crumb, taste of crumb, how was bread stored, what was taste & texture of bread after slicing on Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, day 5, Day 6, Day 7, what type of knife was needed to slice through crust, was bread frozen, how was loaf wrapped for freezing,  length of time frozen, temperature of freezer, does freezer go through auto defrost cycles, how was bread defrosted..


While all of the above (and anything I have forgotten!!!) might initially seem daunting, keeping such notes is really the ONLY way to truly determine the best temperature to bake a particular bread recipe, the length of time to bake the loaf, and the final internal temperature of the loaf..By keeping accurate notes one can start out with the author of a recipe's recommendations, and if those do not turn out to be acceptable; then accurate changes can be made until the loaf turns out like one wishes..


Ultimately we want the loaf to spend as little time in the oven at the minimal temperature required to bake the bread so that it will taste as good as possible while staying as fresh as possible for as long as possible..


As has already been mentioned, IMO a baguette is only good for about 24 hours, while a Pain Poilane-style miche will last for up to a week..Different breads for different purposes..


Bruce


 


 

xaipete's picture
xaipete

Thanks, Bruce, for such a comprehensive reply. I'll start keeping notes about my breads. Like I said before, I've never really paid that much attention to the internal temperature except to get it over 95 degrees C.


I have just an ordinary wall oven--nothing fancy. I do bake on a stone and steam, and let most of my SD artesian breads sit in the oven for 10 minutes after turning the heat off. How does that fit into the equation--the 10 minute oven rest?


--Pamela

beeman1's picture
beeman1

1 hour in pyrex for two loaf's in a Cuisinart Brick oven. I use a taylor probe thermometer and go for 190f.

NYamateur's picture
NYamateur

i know that many people measure internal temps of bread but i never do and not because i think thermometers are bad, i actually am a teperature and timer addict.  Its just that when i look at that long list of variables involved in final bread texture I just dont see the point in taking the temp.  I prefer trial and error.  I bake the same two breads every week and I have been for years and im happy with the way they come out for the most part.


still i am always curious to get a feel for what others are doing at home in comparison to what books recommend.  its my belief that books are terribly prescriptive and people are way to eager to follow their instructions rather then their own instincts.


 

baltochef's picture
baltochef

For the first 30+ years that I baked bread I used the "thump" method to determine doneness..Everything worked out just fine for me, and I seldom ruined a loaf of bread by either under, or over baking it..


Then, I purchased Peter Reinhart's book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice..As anyone that has read this book knows, he highly recommends using an instant read thermometer to deteermine a loaf's doneness..The interesting thing is that I had purchased, and had been using, both at home and in the restaurants that I worked in, a set of Thermapen digital thermometers..Before reading the BBA, it just had never occured to me to use any kind of thermometer to test a loaf of bread to see if it had finished baking..I believe that his book was the first that I had ever read that even mentioned temperatures as regards to a bread's doneness..


If the home baker bakes the same breads all of the time there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with using one's eyes, ears, hands, taste buds, etc. to determine the doneness of one's breads..After all, this is how breads have been baked for thousands of years..


That being said, I feel that any experienced baker will be quite surprised to find out how much variance there is in the final internal temperatures of their loaves..I know that before I started using a thermometer to check the doneness of my loaves I was quite smug in thinking that there was very little variance in my loaves..The first year after using the Thermapen to check my loaves was quite the eye opener..I would check the loaf  for doneness using the thump method, and then use the thermometer to take the internal temperature..I found that much to my surprise that the internal temperature varied by as much as 10F-12F, with an average of 5F-6F..


Now, that does not at first glance seem to be too great of a variance..And, truth be told, if the bread is going to ALWAYS be consumed within 48 hours of baking, then most eaters will probably not notice too much in the way of dryness, and degradation..


If however, the loaves are going to be consumed more slowly, say over a 4-7 day long period of time, then those small differences in temperatures as regards to over baking CAN make for dried out loaves at the end of the week..This is as true for enriched breads such as a Pain de Mie with substantial percentages of sugar, fats, dairy products in it; as it is for leaner breads such as the Poilane-style miches..