The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Desired Dough Temperature

bobandlucy's picture

Desired Dough Temperature

Most bread books will list a room temperature in which the formulas were tested. Many also give a desired dough temperature. Desired dough temperature (DDT) is typically a few degrees higher than the room temperature.

Eventually, during bulk fermentation, the dough temperature will fall to equal the room temperature. I guess with DDT, we are controlling the length of time it will take for the dough to reach room temperature.

My question is: What is accomplished during this period? Some of my best bakes have occurred when the room temperature is equal to or higher than the DDT (I rarely achieve DDT, but sometimes it happens).

Any insight would be appreciated.





bikeprof's picture

DDT is often about at least a couple things.  1. It can be about achieving a particular characteristic for the type of bread (e.g. flavor profile), or meeting the needs of a particular bread type, particularly in terms of length of fermentation and the vigor of that fermentation (e.g. many say that 100% rye breads often do better fermenting at higher temps (90F or more) as they don't retain gas very well (among other possibilities)). 2. It can be about consistent timing of the whole process, which is particularly important in production settings.

Also, when written for baking at larger scales, the larger dough mass is not so fast to equilibrate with room temp, and thus the dough temp can make a bigger difference

colinm's picture

That last paragraph is key. Dough for one or two loaves will heat up or cool down to ambient  temperature pretty fast, but the larger quantities used by professionals won’t have time to adjust so it is more  important for them to create the right temperature at the time of mixing. 

bobandlucy's picture

Thanks to you both. I'll continue to shoot for perfection, but in my 2 loaf bakes maybe it's not a huge controlling factor. I have been attempting to use Hammelman's method for determining the temperature of the water, with mixed results.

I use a Bosch Compact mixer. I'm really not sure of mixing times as compared to the mixers commonly used in books such as Hammelman's. I'm also not sure if the Bosch adds more or less heat per minute of mixing at a similar speed as compared to other mixers.





gavinc's picture

Desired Dough Temperature notes from Jeffrey Hamelman's book.

I use this all the time with great results.

By mixing doughs that are in the temperature zone that most favors both fermentation and flavor development, the home baker is well on the way to making consistently high-quality bread. After all, with something so emphatically alive as bread dough, we must do all we can to keep the billions of toiling microorganisms happy. And we do so by providing them a temperature that encourages good gas production from the yeast (for loaf volume), and at the same time good flavor development from the lactobacilli. For the most pan, the temperature zone that works best, particularly for wheat-based breads, is 75° to 78°F (24° to 25°C).

The calculation of desired dough temperature involves taking into consideration several factors, These factors are the variables over which we have no control when we enter the bakeshop or kitchen and prepare to mix the dough: the air temperature, the temperature of the flour, the “friction factor” of the mixer, and the temperature of the pre ferment. If any. After figuring these, it’s easy and quick to compute the water temperature (the only variable over which we do have control).

The benefits are clear and immediate: more consistency in fermentation and in bread flavor. And more predictability in the overall production schedule.

 Desired dough temperature

 (DDT) Desired dough temperature  76°F

 Multiplication factor                    x3 straight dough            x4 dough with pre-ferment

Total temperature factor             228°F                                 304°F

 Minus flour temperature            72°F                                   72°F

 Minus room temperature           68°F                                   68°F

 Minus pre-ferment temperature nla                                   70°F

 Minus friction factor                    26°F                                   26°F


 Water temperature                     62°F                                   68°F

gavinc's picture

The other decisive change I made was to build a cheap proofing box that I can maintain the dough in the 24C range throughout the whole process.