The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Apology for help request on no-knead bread

terrysandlin's picture

Apology for help request on no-knead bread

Earlier, I asked for suggestions on Why i was burning the bottom of my bread in a dutch oven. I was following Cook's Illustrated Recipe. I am still having problems and i apoligize for repeating this problem.

 I am now using a cast iron Tramontona Dutch Oven. I have an internal temperature of 190 -195 degrees after 30 minutes in the gas oven with the lid on(temperature taken after taking the lid off) at 425 degrees (Dutch oven heated to 500 degrees previously) in a gas oven with the Dutch oven on the next to the lowest shelf. The temperature seems to go to 205 and just stays there for a long time with the lid off. If I wait until the interior temp of the dough reaches 210 degrees, the bottom is burned. I am using parchment paper with a spray of oil on the paper before putting the dough in the dutch oven.

Both of my Polder thermometers register boiling water at 207 degrees in Topeka, Kansas.

Are there any suggestions as to what I am doing wrong. I weigh my ingredients for the dough recipe.

Thank you,

Terry Sandlin

flournwater's picture

If your thermometer registers boiling water at 207 degrees in Topeka there's something wrong with either the method your using to take the temperature or the thermometer itself.  Topeka's elevation is just under 1000 feet so your thermometer should register something like 210 - 211 degrees.

Try leaving your parchment dry.  There should be not need to oil parchment for baking your bread.  You might also want to raise your dutch oven to the next higher rack position.  I use the rack supports just below center of my oven when I use the Dutch Oven for artisan beads.

Yerffej's picture

Take your bread out when the internal temperature reaches 205 on your thermometer.


clazar123's picture

Do you have an electric stove?

Remember that inside an oven the temperature is not evenly distributed. If the heating element is on the bottom of the oven, that could be a factor in the bottom of the pan overheating intermittently as the element goes on and off to maintain an AVERAGE temp of whatever you set the oven control at. Esp. if the temperature sensor is at the top of the oven.

If you have a gas stove, there could also be a problem if it maintains an average temp by letting the temp go very high and then dropping very low. It becomes a sensor issue on the oven control.Kind of see-sawing the temp inside the oven.

Do other things cook unevenly in the oven? Bottoms of cookies and cakes burn?

It may be interesting to buy 2 cheap oven thermometers and put one in the high area and one in the low area inside the oven.Set the oven to a mod high temp (400). Let the oven come up to temp and start doing readings as the element/burner cycles on and off.

Lab experiments can be fun!


Abracaboom's picture

If your thermometer reads 207º when the actual temperature is 211º, and you want to bake your bread to 210º, you should take your bread out when your thermometer reads 206º.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


I baked for 30 minutes on the middle rack of the oven and then took the lid off the pot. After about 18 minutes the center of the dough registered at 204F.

Remove the bread from the dutch oven and place naked on a rack inside the oven.   204°F is almost done, leaving the crust open for browning on all sides might finish off the bake nicely.

Chuck's picture

I found my baking thermometer read wrong by a handful of degrees. So I changed the orientation of the probe, and all the weird problems went away! Maybe this is what's messing you up too.

The probe has a bend near the cable end, so it's overall kinda an 'L'. Initially I stuck the long part fully into the loaf, then let the short part turn whichever way was easiest, which was down. That's what resulted in a slight inaccuracy.

So then I tried again poking the long part fully into the loaf, but forcing the short part to tun upward. That was more accurate.

Apparently with the bent portion of the probe pointing down, heat carried up from my baking stone into the probe metal and all the way to the other end where it messed up the readings.

Also remember that as the crumb temperature approaches its final value at the boiling point of water, it becomes "asymptotic". That's math lingo which loosely translated means "doesn't change hardly at all over a long time". I use my baking thermometer to get it right when I make a new recipe, but after that I just go by the clock (sometimes with a little help from one of those "instant read" thermometers).

And remember the temperatures are really down from boiling rather than up from zero. But that's a mouthful to say, so the temperatures just generally assume "at sea level". If water boils for example at 209F at your altitude, your bread won't get beyond 209F until it's thoroughly burnt.

(Apparently unlike many others, I've found the cable coming from the thermometer probe to be a sufficient nuisance that I only use my baking thermometer part of the time. It took just one experience with getting the cable caught and pulling an unbaked loaf off my baking stone onto the oven door to make me somewhat judicious about how often I use it.)


highmtnpam's picture

I thanked you before, but I have been baking with the information you had given me about temperature and altitude.  Many of the problems I had been struggling with just disappeared.  Now I can concentrate on scoring and crumb. Your technical knowledge really adds to the site.  Thank you again