The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole wheat oven baking temps

BreadBiff's picture

Whole wheat oven baking temps

Hi There!

New to the forum here, but I have searched here many times and have found HUGE amounts of useful information! I had a question regarding the appropriate baking temps for whole wheat (lean dough) rustic style bread.

Anybody have any suggestions? How hot is too hot - how cool is not enough?

Also, how would the baking temperature affect oven spring.

Any feelings on adding vital wheat gluten in order to get a more open crumb (by enhacing gluten development)? I really like a chewy crust with a nice open crumb. (I read on the forums somewhere that leaving the oven door open so that the loaf (free form) dries out will give the crumb a nice shine - thoughts on that as well would eb appreciated.

Hope I am not asking for too much info in one sittiing here.

Thanks a ton!

gf.frank's picture

Dear Biff,


In my practice, I have attempted several "temp techniques". The first, as you mentioned rightly, leaving the door open happens after a high pre-heat--up to 500 C (highest) throw the dough in, wait a few seconds, then turn it right down to 350C, then nearing the end of the baking phase, open the door a little and leave it like that. I have a friend who, after throwing the dough in at 500C, left the door open a crack (about 2 inches)...his bread was delicious and had a great crust.

For me, it depends on the oven...that last oven I was using (electric) worked great for the high temp and then lowering the temp...this is the "traditional" hearth style, as you may know...higher temps result in a crispy crust especially if accompanied with water...but when I tried this on a gas oven where I am currently, the bread collapsed...though it may have been my dough...I am not sure.

Today, I am baking a sourdough, flax, sunflower, poppy loaf at 350 C all the way through with water sprinkled on top to hopefully give a crust...

so, too cool I would say 200 C...a dense pumpernickel (covered) will bake at 300 C for several hours. Hence the covering because otherwise it will dry out.

Hope this helps...I would not call myself an expert by any means.