The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ideal temperature inside bread with probe thermometer

zootime's picture

Ideal temperature inside bread with probe thermometer

Hi everyone,

   I have been baking my own bread for a while now and have always had to "guess" when baking my loaves, by the usual "thump - hollow" test.

I decided it was time to invest in an ovenproof probe thermometer and watch the reading rise till it got to the magic figures around the 200 F mark.

I was cooking rolls yesterday so I let them do their own thing for ten minutes then inserted the probe into one of the rolls and closed the oven door.

After only a few seconds the temp. rose to 210 F. So how am i supposed to use this if it almost immediately gives higher than a desired reading.

Is this method unsuitable for rolls? I checked the calibration and it was absolutely spot on in boiling water.

Thanks Alan.


localgrace's picture

I'm just an ametuer bread baker but it sounds to me as if your rolls were done! I insert the probe in my bread as soon as it is baked firm enough to puncture with the probe, making sure it is in the center of the loaf. I can't see that it makes a difference that the rolls are smaller. I use the probe when making steaks that are only an inch thick or less and it reads fine.

I love my digital thermometer for bread!

dboudwin's picture

We make all the rolls for our family gatherings, which after we moved closer to my wife's family is all the time.

Like localgrace we wait until the rolls are just set enough to poke. We live in the Salt Lake valley in Utah (4500 ft elevation) and we bake all our breads to 185 internal temp. The probe has been especially helpful as we figure out the transition from a gas to electric oven.

PeteInAz's picture

Hi Alan:
Like you, I have been baking for a while and have just started using a digital thermometer to check my baking times. I usually stick the probe in when I take the bread or rolls out of the oven. It's an "instant read" thermometer so if the reading is low, I just put it or them back in for ten minutes more and note that on the recipe.
It looks like your thermometer is also an "instant read" and it seems to be reading the oven, not the roll. Next time, when you think they are done, take a roll out and check it and if it's done then take the rest out. If not, put it back and give them another five or ten minutes and try again. Don't forget to ajust the timing on the next bake.

localgrace's picture

I can also take the bread out of the oven to read the temp but the thermometer is made to leave the probe inside the food inside the oven and has a lead that connects to the thermometer which is outsoide the oven.

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

The leave in the oven type probe thermometers have a longer lag time before registering the correct temp.  A Cook's Illustrated test of these showed that some of them took as long as 30 minutes to get up to the correct temperature.  A good instant read thermometer just takes seconds. 

andrew_cookbooker's picture

Peter Reinhart gives temperatures for doneness for all his recipes, and usually says that they're done at 195 to 200 degrees F. So yes, your rolls were done! My bread is often more than 200 when I take it out - it partly depends on how browned and crusty you like the crust to be - there's definitely a range of variation of doneness.

I also take the bread out of the oven to test the temperature. There's always the possibility of getting an overly high reading if you leave the thermometer in.

I read somewhere recently, but can't remember where, that there's a maximum temperature that bread can reach inside of 212 F anyway (at least before it turns into a burnt rock...)

rayel's picture

I Think Andrew nailed it. The color of bread was the only guide at the bakery where I worked . Though they used thermometers for everything else, I don't recall ever seeing one used to determine if the bread was finished. It was always color driven. I was so happy I never had to make that call. At home I like the instant read, to confirm that I have over baked it.  Ray

Falsehat's picture

You said you checked your thermometers accuracy by measuring boiling water.

The boiling point of water varies. It is affected by your altitude above sea level, and for tap water, geographically. Automatic coffee makers are calibriated for the area in which they are to be sold.

Check your thermometer using bottled spring water.

La masa's picture
La masa

According to my thermometer, my tap  water boils at 95ºC, which is a lot more exact than my oven temperature knob.

Have you  heard of Dalí? My oven has a lot more imagination than he.had   :-/

zootime's picture

Thanks for all your help folks, my thermometer is indeed a leave in the oven model and I may leave it out and check the temperature manually as advised. Even though the temperature showed 210F the rolls were nowhere near ready, they weren't even developing a colour at that point. But hey they came out fab anyway based on colour and previous cook times.






Tatoosh's picture

I am hunting a good "leave in" thermometer for my gas oven.  It is very temperamental and I use a Thermoworks probe themometer right now, but it only goes to 392F degrees.  Many recipes call for temperatures up to 500F degrees. 

I see some that go to 575 degrees but they say not to leave in a 482F degree or higher oven for more than 4 hours or the probe will degrade. The Maverick OT-03 may do the job for me providing I remove it after baking. But if I leave it in while heating up the oven (and my homemade baking stone) plus cook a couple of  batches of bread, I may get pretty close to the 4 hour time period they talk about. However it will beep if the oven varies over 15 degrees above or below the set temperature which sounds very interesting.  Anyone using one?

Or maybe I should be investigating one of the IR guns? I haven't used those at all and not sure how well it would work for monitoring baking temperatures in an oven.

For general use, I have a Thermapen that is fantastic. It reads in seconds and is very accurate and I highly recommend it after over 4 years of use.  Pricy but it has been one of my better investments. 


edit: sorry if my post is off topic to this thread. Perhaps I should repost this as its own thread.

sphealey's picture

Here's a good discussion of in-oven probes:

If you really want a good, reliable, and rugged unit your best choice is to talk to Omega Engineering as per Mitch550 in that thread.  It may seem too expensive at first, but 5-10 years later you won't have had to buy and discard multiple cheaper units.


Tatoosh's picture

Thank you very much for the pointer.  While it does look expensive on the outset, I've learned that good gear often pays for itself.  My Thermapen thermometer is one and the Omega looks lke what I need for monitoring my oven. 

I will contact the poster and Omega to see what unit and probe will work best for me.  I really appreciate the pointer!



zootime's picture

Hi Everyone,

It's time for me to revisit this again, not that it's important,particularly, to me anymore as I just judge my bread by time and colour, but this nagging doubt remains in my head.

If you put the dough into the oven which consists largely of water and obviously the oven is much higher than the boiling point of water then surely the moisture inside the loaf will quickly approach the boiling point of water 212F. If I remember my physics correctly, a long time ago mind, the temperature inside the loaf cannot rise beyond this temperature until all the water has been boiled off.

This, to me, explains why I consistantly see a very speedy rise to over 200F.


Anyone, or any mad scientist, wish to comment on this, as I have now used several different thermometers and get the same result every time.


I am just beginning  to think it's all a bit of a myth.




gary.turner's picture

How are you measuring?  The probe should be at the center of the loaf.  For panned sandwich bread in a 350F oven, it takes all of 45 to 55 minutes to reach 200F.