The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cooking temperature

shopkins1994's picture

Cooking temperature

Hi Everyone. I am cooking a round loaf in a dutch oven using a recipe from the book "Flour Water Salt Yeast." The recipe is 500g white flour and 72% hydration. I am using a white 4.5 quart Le Creuset round dutch oven to cook it in. The book calls for baking the loaf at 475 degrees for 30 minutes with the top on, and 20 minutes with the top off (so a total of 50 minutes). My problem is that at 45 minutes the bottom is starting to burn. I know this book calls for medium dark bread, but at 50 minutes the bread would be on fire. I've tested my oven with a thermometer and it is the correct temperature. If I take the bread out earlier, it isn't done in the middle. The crumb is wet. I've raised the dutch oven as high as I can from the bottom of the oven. I start with a preheated dutch oven. My question, is what temperature do you cook your bread at? 




breadforfun's picture

Hi Sam,

I try to bake my bread as high a temperature as I can without the bottom burning.  Sometimes this is 550˚F and sometimes it is 375˚F.  Doughs that have sugars (honey, molasses, etc.) will burn at lower temperatures than plain doughs, and some flours (e.g. spelt) can't go as high as wheat in my experience.  I use the recommended temperatures as a starting point and adjust for my set up accordingly. 

Since your bottom is burning and the crumb is not fully cooked, it is too hot (bread cooks from the outside) so I would lower the temperature 25-50˚ to start.  Also, you didn't mention how long you are heating the oven or dutch oven before baking.  Ovens take much longer than you think to stabilize in temperature, and the additional mass of the D.O. will only add to that time.  I typically heat my oven at least an hour before I peel the bread dough into it.


dabrownman's picture

is to cut the lid on time by 5 minutes to 25 minutes and take it out of the DO 5 minutes after the lid come off and finish baking it on a stone,  That did it for me - no more burnt bottoms.

My oven is 25 degrees low, so at 475 F, it is really 450 F.  Turning your spot on oven down to 450 F will be a blessing too.

Happy Tartine baking!

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

One solution that is recommended by people more knowledgeable than myself -- after the lid comes off, put it under the base portion of the dutch oven. Not sure if that works with your model as well as it works for the lodge combo cooker.  But if the top fits in the bottom, it will help keep those bottoms from burning.

dmsnyder's picture

I have had the same problem using Lodge Combo Cookers. I tried baking at a cooler temperature (450 dF), but the top crust was not as dark as I like. Then, I tried cutting a circle (more or less) of parchment paper and putting it under the bread, and I dust the top (to be the bottom) of the loaves with semolina before turning them onto the parchment. Oh! I should also tell you that I preheat the deep part (to be the top) of the combo cookers but not the shallow part onto which I place the loaves. I still bake at the recommended temperature for the recommended time.

This procedure results in a boldly baked loaf with a dark but not burned bottom crust.

Happy baking!


ldavis47's picture

I bake after 30 minute pre heat of my DO with top and bottoms on different shelves. Since the heating elements are above and below, I regular bake 20-30 minutes covered at 450 (depending on if the dough is room temp or right out of refrigerator), then lower temp to 440 on convection uncovered for 15-20 minutes based on darkness of crust. All these breads have no oil, or sweetener. No more burned bottoms.

shopkins1994's picture

I've been able to make the bottom the same color as the top! I put a drop rack on the bottom slot of the oven. A drop rack is a rack that bends at the sides so it lowers the overall rack by about 1.5". On this rack I put a flat aluminum baking sheet and a baking stone. Then I placed a second rack as high as I could that would hold my dutch oven. I also cooked the bread the entire time with the lid on. The bread crust color was perfect but the crust was chewy and not crunchy so today I am going to take the lid off 5 minutes before it's done. Thanks for everyone for all the help!!