The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oven Temperature Again!!

swedishflish's picture

Oven Temperature Again!!

I've found that most sourdough recipes call for preheating the dutch oven at 500F for an hour, steaming for 20 minutes and then browning at 450F for 20 minutes. I follow those baking temperatures but when I cut into it after it is fully cooled, my loaves tend to end up wet and gummy. The crumb is pretty even and it is not too dense. The oven spring isn't too bad as well. Should I try steaming at 450F and browning at 400F for longer? I also place my dutch oven on the second to lowest rack so maybe that affects the temperature as well. 

idaveindy's picture

Yes, that can work.  Especially for larger loaves, which need to  be baked longer, at a lower temp.  With a larger loaf, it takes longer for the heat to reach the center and bake off the moisture in the center.  And that longer time requires a lower temp so that the crust does not harden and darken too much.

High temps cause the crust to harden sooner, and the hard crust prevents the moisture from coming out.

There might be other factors in play, too.  To reduce how wet and gummy it is, sometimes the solution can be as simple as reducing the hydration of your formula.


Also, 500 F can sometimes be too hot for the steaming portion.  My steps go something like this:

Pre-heat to 495 F.

Bake covered at 475 F.

Bake covered at 450.

Bake uncovered at 425.

Bake uncovered at 400.

I usually make boules of 1200 grams, 90% whole wheat


The reason I  preheat 20 degrees higher is because a home oven loses 20 F when you open the door to  load the dough.

breadforfun's picture

You didn’t mention the hydration of your bread or the size of your loaf.  Both can influence the bake times. As long as it is under around 75% and 750 gm, the bake schedule should be ok, but you can always go 5 minutes more. You can measure the internal temperature to verify it is around 205*F. 

If you are confident that the temperatures are accurate, wet and gummy can also be an indication of overproofed dough.