The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Experimenting with temperature

markdabaker's picture
markdabaker

Experimenting with temperature

Ok, so I've been baking a few breads from Ken Forkish' book but I've run into a snag. I do not like burnt bread and this is what i end up with if I follow Ken Forkish' directions. So, on this I've started to experiment. After 30 minutes I know the temperature down to 425 degrees F. I'm baked some loaves at 450 degrees F as well. I can usually let most of my loaves go at either temperature for around 25 minutes. This gives me a nice crust and a lovely, soft center. I notice all of my breads seem to be dry on the outside with a soft inside and this is thanks to the dutch oven.

Anyway, does anyone else have thoughts on this? I had to knock the temperature down because the first time I did 475 and 475 I pulled out a one pound loaf of pretoasted, burnt tasting bread. It wasn't pleasant or enjoyable but the birds outside and the squirrels enjoyed it.

And ever since this, I've been experimenting because, after all, what the bread looks like and tastes like is ideally up to us, right?

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Mark, a few thoughts. 

Have you checked the temp of your oven for accuracy?

How do you bake? Stone, steel, cast iron cover pot, etc. (looks like to use a DO. You might try removing from pot after cover is removed.

If baking uncovered tin foil on top of loaf (once it browns) will stop burning.

please let us onow wherethe burning is occuring. Top, bottom, all over? Pictures might help.

Dan

markdabaker's picture
markdabaker

Dan, I have checked the temperature but it is an old hotpoint oven, and not very accurate. I have a laster temperature gun that is very accurate but the readings are all over the place. And, if you bake in a DO you probably know that the temp in DO is hotter than the oven, right? The DO can reach 600 degrees without even trying. No, I'm sure it's not 600 degrees.

And, fyi, I'm using a Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven.

Oh, and I won't bake on foil. So maybe, for me, knocking the temperature down after the cover is removed, is what I need to do.


Thanks.

eddieruko's picture
eddieruko

Temperature is a funny thing. As Dan points out, there are a lot of factors at play, particularly when trying to replicate recipes from the professional types. But you're on the right path to honing in your temps based on the results you get.

For instance, if you're at a higher altitude, you may have to go higher and longer than what the recipes suggests. Ken is out of Portland, which is near sea-level. 

Happy baking!

markdabaker's picture
markdabaker

Yup, I hear what you're saying. CO is my home base but I'm taking care of a family matter in MD and have to live here for the next six to eight months.

To answer your question, my location is 880 ft above sea level. So I don't live at a high altitude.

Riley's picture
Riley

I have only made the Saturday White Bread (a couple of times) but the time and temperature were exactly right and it was not that dark mahogany.  I used a lodge combo cooker preheated. I have a gas oven that is exactly on temperature.  For whatever that’s worth.  

markdabaker's picture
markdabaker

Riley, I'm jealous. Gas is far more accurate than electric. However, knocking the temperature down seems to be giving me the results I seek. A nice, crispy crust on the outside and a soft, moist crumb on the inside.

Riley's picture
Riley

Crispy crust and soft on the inside.  Sounds like you have it figured out.