The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking time/temp advice

hs4816's picture

Baking time/temp advice

Last loaves needed more baking but I'm not sure how to do without burning.

Details: 1000g loaf. Preheated DO. 25 min at 500 then 20-30min uncovered at 450 (or 400) because I kept inching the temperature down trying to get more bake time before burning. My oven is convection  and browning is even, its not the bottom that's burning. Last loaf had underbanked dough I'm the center (I had tried putting this one into oven after only 20min room temp).

So how can I get more time/better bake?

Longer time before taking DO lid off?

Dont start at 500?

Leave at room temp for a couple hours?


JerrytheK's picture

Based on my experience, 500 is too hot. I preheat at 550, then drop to 475 for the actual baking. :30 at 475 covered, then :20 at 475 uncovered. I check the temp with an instant read probe thermometer with a target of 202 (I live at about 5,500 feet, so that's close to the boiling point of water at that altitude, closer to sea level, shoot for 212). If it's not at 202, I'll go another :05.

I once forgot to drop the temp to 475 from the 550 preheat. The crust was charcoal.


Dave Cee's picture
Dave Cee

From my own meager experimentation I discovered that my white-enameled (interior) DO gives a lot less browning and a thinner/softer crust than black cast iron. I myself do not care for this effect on my sourdough loaves. Your mileage may vary.


Can you bake without convection feature?

hs4816's picture

I could, that's something I've wondered about trying. 

jey13's picture

First question: Are you putting anything under the bread dough?

If not, try putting something under the bread to mitigate the burning. I like Reynolds “Pan Lining Paper” (note, not easily found in stores—try online). It’s foil on one side, heavy parchment on the other (regular parchment, in my experience, tends to stick to the bottom of the bread...a lot!). Fold up some of this into layers that will keep the bread from having direct contact with the bottom of the pot. Or, if you’ve room and a low, round rack, put the lining paper on that as a kind of raised bed for the bread. This lining paper is also a good way to lower the bread into the hot pot—just cut the parchment circle out so that it has handles, like a sling. 

Some bakers like to sprinkle cornmeal under the bread as well. That helps mitigate the burning, and helps make sure it releases easily from whatever you put it on. 

Second—and you can do this in addition to the parchment—I’d try turning down the temp to 475 and, once the bread is in the oven, down to 450. That way you can bake it longer with less fear of burning. Go for a full 30 minutes before removing lid. Then give it another 25-30 to finish, checking on it at about the 20 minute mark.

As you’ve learned, bread can look done on the outside while still being “not done” on the inside. So, do take that advice about a probe thermometer. Stick it into the bread when it looks ready, deep into the middle as you can. As said, if it reads about 212 F, it’s done on the inside as well as on the outside.

And do let your loaf rest for a good 2 hours before cutting into it. If you cut in too soon, it may seem gummy and underdone. Let us know what you try and how it works out!

colinm's picture

I’d try cooling down by 50 degrees. With an unheated Dutch oven and convection on, I bake for 25 minutes at 450 with the lid on, then 25 minutes at 425 with the lid off. That is for an 875g loaf, usually straight from the wine cellar or fridge.

agres's picture

The first question is: What kind of an oven do you have?  Electric and  gas are different critters. Electric with iis different from an electric deck oven. Then, match the dough to the oven.

I have an electric oven that will do convection but does not like temps over 420 F (it will do temps up to 450 F but other fans trip on and . . . . ) If your temperature is accurate, and your oven has enough thermal inertia  or recovery power, you can bake very good bread at lower temperatures. I bake sandwich bread in loaf pans at 325 F.  I bake baguettes at 375 F/with convection on sheet pans. Hearth breads are baked on a stone in the bottom of the oven at temps in the range 350 F - 400 F depending on the size of the loafs.  Using a bake setting, if I put a good bit of dough in oven the water in the dough turns to steam, which is trapped in the oven - adding more water to the oven just cools the oven, ( I tested) and I do not want a cooler oven, I want the oven at the set temperature. PERIOD.

For this oven, I like bread doughs with a hydration of between 60 %  - 70%, or a little higher for high extraction or whole wheat flours. These doughs do require some kneading, but with long proofs, not really that much kneading.