The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

internal temperature

AnnieT's picture

internal temperature

I think it was Rosalie who commented on the confusing amounts of information found in all of our baking books. Forgive me if it wasn't you, Rosalie. Since I bought my instant read thermometer I have been careful to bake my loaves to 105*, give or take. I just got Kiko Denzer's book "Build your own earth oven" from the library and I really want to build one. However, in her chapter on sourdough bread his wife says that we should aim for 190* and anything over 200* is overbaked and the bread will stale quickly. So who do I believe? A.


xabanga's picture


Do you use Celsius or Farenheit measurements? This might be the problem... 105 degrees sounds like a C measurement, while 190-200 sounds like it might be done in F. Anyway, when I check my loaves, I look for at least 190 degrees F, and up to 205 degrees F depending on the loaf. Another way to check for doneness is to tap the bottom of the bread. If it sounds hollow, the bread is done. I hope this helps...

rcornwall's picture

I agree with xabanga. I bake my bread to 190-200 f. According to reinhard and beranbaum this is optimal.


AnnieT's picture

Oops, so sorry, I meant 205*! Thanks for your input. I had noticed some of my loaves were drying quickly which made me wonder about overbaking. More to ponder, A

susanfnp's picture

I don't have Denzer's book in front of me but I'd have to say it seems a bit off base here. I have heard it said more than once by credible sources that most home bakers underbake their bread. Maggie Glezer cites Calvel as saying it is almost impossible to overbake bread.

I don't take the temperature of my loaves much anymore, relying instead on crust color (combined with knowing roughly how much time at what temperature it will need). But when I used to do this, the internal temp was often around 210F. For lean breads, Silverton says around 210F; Reinhart (BBA) 205F; Beranbaum 200-211F.

I would say just keep doing what you're doing if it's getting you good results.


bwraith's picture


If you are not at sea level, the temperature that makes sense may be lower than 200F. I found when in Montana at about 5300 ft. elevation that around 198F the bread came out right. I'm sure that becomes more dramatic if you are up at 7500 or higher. You can check out Mike Avery's site for more on that topic.

Like Susanfnp, I use crust color more than temperature these days. However, when I check breads that I like they seem to be around 210F internally. If I were to use anything below 205F, especially for wetter doughs, the result would be underbaked for my tastes.

I think it is somewhat a matter of preference, though. A very moist crumb can be pleasing, although the crust may soften up quickly because of it, and breads that are a little underbaked can be toasted or reheated, possibly with better results than one that is baked more to begin with. In the reheating the softened crust becomes crisp again, so in some ways a slightly underbaked sourdough loaf can be very good a couple of days later when reheated.

I've had good results also with slightly underbaked breads that are frozen, defrosted, and reheated. I know, I'm such a philistine, but I think frozen and then defrosted and reheated bread can be delicious at times.


AnnieT's picture

Hi Bill, I'm assuming I am at sea level here on the island - maybe 50' above, so I don't think the altitude would be a problem. I remember way back when I lived in Flagstaff I showed some friends how to make "Cuban" bread from the Bernard Clayton book. The one that uses 2 pkts of yeast for 2 small boules and cooks from cold. I was aware that altitude could be a factor but it turned out well, as did my banana bread. I had never heard of using a thermometer so the good old thump on the bottom was the test. I am sure I was underbaking before I got the thermometer, but gummy crumb makes good toast.

Susan, I was happy to read that it is almost impossible to overbake bread. One less thing for me to worry about... Thanks for the reassurance, A