The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Preheating with bread within oven

Maggie Lou's picture
Maggie Lou

Preheating with bread within oven

First I shall congrats myself; I recently began bread-making, and have now made five loaves of bread and find it exhilirating!  I've used Jim Lahey's method and the Artisan methods so far.


QUESTION: We keep our house rather cool; 67-68, and I use my oven to raise dough the first time around. If for my second raise I want to use my oven for its insulated benefits, with the shaped loaves in bread pans, what would happen if I turn the oven on with the risen bread inside?  Rather than lose a loaf, I am hoping for some pro to come forth and give me the answer.




flournwater's picture

I'm not sure I fully understand your goal.  If you're wanting to try loading a cold oven with your bread and then turning on the oven to bake it I suspect you'd dry the loaf out before it had a chance to achieve the oven spring you would ordinarily want to see.  The instructions for making some breads do include starting in a cold oven but unless that's specifically stated in your source of information/instructions for the bread you're making I wouldn't recommend a cold oven start.

If you're talking about using the oven as a source of warmth for your initial and/or subsequent rise, that is a common practice with bakers who can't get a warm environment within an enclosed area like the kitchen.  But if you're thinking about turning the oven on to do this you'd be flirting with real danger because you run the risk of getting the temperature higher than it should be for proper development of the dough.  You can turn your oven on briefly, to warm it and then let your dough rise in the enclosure but you should make every effort not to allow your oven temperature to reach more than 80 degrees (F) during that period.

PaddyL's picture

Some recipes, notably Cuban Bread, call for putting the bread into a cold oven, then turning it on, but I think that's before the loaf has done its last rising.  I did it once, but wasn't entirely impressed with the results.  It did work, though it wasn't as light as I like my breads.

Maggie Lou's picture
Maggie Lou

Oh yes, the bread would have been raising in the loaf pans for the 90 minutes or so, and I am wondering about leaving them in there, turning on the oven after and following through with the last step of baking.


ssor's picture

I do it often with plain white loaf bread. Especially in the summer when I wish to keep the heat load down. The shaped bread gets a full rise and goes into the oven as soon as I turn it on. It is a gas oven so there is no risk of infrared heating of the pans from a red hot electric element. With cookie baking in electric ovens it is easy to scortch the bottoms of the first batch because the heating element is exposed and stays on for most of the short baking period.