The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

What is the best way to determine a loaf is done baking?

username9's picture

What is the best way to determine a loaf is done baking?

I am a real newbie. I hope I don't offend the folks with my beginner questions.

Is the thermometer a surefire way of determining that a loaf is done baking?  or is there any other way?

Best Regards,


cranbo's picture

Yes, thermometer is best. 

For sourdough, 205-210F is done. 
Other breads (such as yeast sandwich bread), 200-205F is done. 

Best to let most breads rest at least 1 hr after baking; this is especially true for sourdough. 

jkandell's picture

I like to wait there are three distinct types of brown color in the crust. 

alschmelz's picture

A thermometer is definitely the best way!

I don't have a good thermometer so I usually use the tapping method.  Many recipes will tell you "bake until it sounds hollow when tapped."  I have found, though, that tapping the top of the bread is not always the best indicator of doneness because you could get air pockets in between the crust and crumb at the top and that air pocket could be the hollow sound that you hear.  I like to tap the bottom of the bread and if that is starting to sound hollow then the bread is likely done.

Color of the crust is also a good indicator but you can't go off of that alone.  Be careful where you place your loaf in the oven.  If it is too close to the top of the oven then the crust will brown faster than the rest of the loaf is baking and you will get a beautiful golden to dark brown crust but a gooy, gummy crumb. 

sandydog's picture

Thermometers, without a shadow of doubt, are best for newbies but there is an alternative.

Bake a loaf and;

If it is underdone - bake it for a few minutes more next time

If it is over done - I think you know, by now, where this is going!

When you have baked a lot of loaves you may be unfortunate enough to break or lose your thermometer, but you will never ever lose your experience/skill which stays with you (And improves) for life.

Happy learning/baking.


dabrownman's picture

Depending on the recipe, you bake to 185 to 210 F and a thermometer is the only way to know for sure.

username9's picture

Thank you all for your input.