The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Thermometer for Dough/Baking Bread?

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allison's picture
allison

Thermometer for Dough/Baking Bread?

Hi,

 I am very new here.  As a matter of fact this is my first post.  I'm pretty new at bread baking--I've only been doing it for about six months.  Every now and then, I slice into a loaf of bread that I have baked and find that it is still "doughy" on the inside.

I've read that one should use a thermometer to get an internal temperature of the baking bread.  What thermometers do you use?  Also, how does that work, with a crusty loaf of bread?  Do you creak through the crust to take the temp?  Or do you take it from the bottom, where it won't show later?

 Any help is appreciated.  Thank you!

allison

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Allison,
First, welcome to The Fresh Loaf! This is a great site to learn all about baking wonderful bread and very friendly too.

Your question shows you have identified one of the key elements of making consistent good bread. The best internal temperature depends on the bread you are trying to bake but there are a few rules of thumb so to speak that will help you fine tune to your personal taste.

I usually bake French style mostly white flour breads until the internal crumb temp is just over 200 degrees. The usual recommendation is 205F. For enriched doughs like the raisin cinnamon I just made, I use 185F and for whole grain rye or Whole Wheat I use 190F. I always turn the loaf over with a pot holder or oven mitt and poke a hole in the bottom so that the probe is in the center of the loaf. This also is the time to tap the bottom of the loaf with your finger. If it still feels soft the temperature won't be high enough yet. Eventually you will have enough confidence in your ability to "thump" the bottom to skip taking the temperature of every batch.

I suggest you pick up an inexpensive instant read type and check the accuracy in boiling water. It's a little hard to do because the probes are so sensitive as you will see. You can adjust the reading if needed using a small wrench on the bottom.

 The other time you can use your instant read thermometer is when mixing the dough. A change of just a couple degrees will have a big impact on yeast activity. You want to adjust water temperature so you arrive at a final dough temp of around 78F.

Hope this helps.

Eric

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

If your breads are coming out inconsistenly, you might look into getting an oven thermometer.  Oven thermostats are notorious for being inaccurate and for being inconsistent.

 

Using an oven thermometer lets you be sure the oven really is at the temperature you wanted.  As you use an oven thermometer, you might check your oven temperature every 10 minutes or so to see if the oven temperature is drifting as the bake continues.

 

A few things to check if you are having oven issues.  Have you cleaned your oven lately?  Is the oven's thermostat probe away from the oven wall?  Sometimes when cleaning the oven, I've move the oven's thermostat probe so it touches the wall.  All sorts of odd things happened.  Once you are sure the probe is correctly positioned and the oven is clean, of your oven is still significantly off or unstable, you mighte call an appliance repair person to look at the oven.

Mike

 

allison's picture
allison

Thank you for the info, Eric.  That's just what I was looking for.

Mike, I do have an oven thermometer.  The first time I pulled a "doughy" bread out of the oven, I went out and bought one.  My oven temp is spot-on, so I knew that wasn't the issue.

I think a lot of the inconsistency I'm seeing is because of size.  I've done a lot of breads from Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day, and I know that sometimes I grab a bigger piece of dough than the recipe intends.  I'll approximate, and add a little time to compensate, but I really need to be taking the internal temp to see if they're done. 

Thank you so much!

metropical's picture
metropical

I use a Thermapen for all my cooking.  Instantaneous.  For my multigrain sandwich loaf 200ºF.

 

give me liberty and a 5lb bag of flour

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Another point that hasn't been touched on is that you really do have to let the bread cool.  A little cooking is still going on when you remove the bread from the oven.  If you're cutting into it right away (hard to resist, I know!) then it'll be doughier than if you wait an hour or so.  A half hour, at least.

Rosalie

Brian D's picture
Brian D

I use a Taylor Digital Thermometer with Remote Wireless Pager. This is the link to Amazon just so you can see.

http://www.amazon.com/Taylor-Wireless-Thermometer-Remote-Pager/dp/B00012FQM4

Since I only (attempt) to bake white breads, I use 205F as my minimum temperature.

Good luck and welcome.