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The importance of preheating oven (same two doughs, two diff temps, two diff results)

TwoCats's picture

The importance of preheating oven (same two doughs, two diff temps, two diff results)

I didn't mean to do this experiment this morning, but my impatience resulted in an experiment.

These were two doughs, both from the same levain and handled the same. The only difference was that one was shaped into a boule and the other into a batard.

I threw the boule in about 1 hour into heating the oven at 500F. This was the result:

I threw the batard in about 1 hour and 45 minutes after the first turning on the oven and got this:

Night and day.

hreik's picture

picture is worth 1000 words.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Im guessing (not stated) that a baking stone is involved?

TwoCats's picture

Yup! I don't use a dutch oven, just a baking stone with some steam created from pouring hot water into a pan with some rocks in it.

not.a.crumb.left's picture

and also noticed that heat has a big effect on oven spring..

This was also mentioned as part of the recent 10 tips from the amazing baker Dan Larn..

Beautiful loaf and do you think that the longer proof also had a role to play?  Kat

TwoCats's picture

What a great series! I'm going to read through all of them on this lazy Saturday.

I don't think the longer proof played a role. The batard/second loaf was taken directly out of the fridge (both were retarding in there for roughly 18 hours and 18 hours and 45 minutes, respectively) and thrown into the oven. 

Note that I do a free-form bake; there's no dutch oven involved.

leslieruf's picture

what was the temperature difference for the 2nd bake (batard)?


TwoCats's picture

I turned on the oven at 500F, but I am going to wager that the first loaf was baked in an oven in which all components did not quite reach 500F. In other words, perhaps the pizza stone I baked it on was lower in temp.

For the second loaf, I think the spring was better because, by the time I popped it in, everything in the oven was already at about 500F.

DanAyo's picture

Both of your breads are beautiful! 

Did the later batard proof an extra 45 minutes on the counter?

Wished both doughs were shaped the same. I think a batard might produce a little more open crumb because of the shape. BUT, keep in mind, I am no expert on open crumb :-(  <sad to say>

Your bottom image is gorgeous...


Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

> Did the later batard proof an extra 45 minutes on the counter? 

That was my question too  - it is an important variable in the process.

TwoCats's picture

Thank you!

The batard was in the fridge while the boule was baking. I didn't take it out until the boule was finished baking. I don't think the batard being in there for an additional 45 minutes changed the variable too much.

Whenever I bake two loaves, I always have 1 batard and 1 boule because I only have one brotform of each shape! LOL!

Thank you for your kind words!

breadyandwaiting's picture

The shape and score are such huge variables here that I would resist the temptation to assign the differences in crumb structure to heat alone, but they're both beautiful loaves! Well done!

TwoCats's picture

While I know that the shape and score do influence the crumb, I don't think it'd be this dramatic. In another bake, I threw in the batard first, then the boule (the reverse of what I did here). The batard crumb was not as open as the boule. The boule was definitely much more open than the batard in that case—that tells me that the oven temperature had a lot more to do with the crumb consistency than the shaping or scoring.

BreadLee's picture

I love the pics.  Great post! Thank you! 

Alan.H's picture

Two beautiful loaves, I would be proud to have baked either or better still both of them.

I am not sure that Dutch oven baking has much relevance to your interesting observation of open baking on a stone but there has been some debate in the past about whether starting off the dough in a cold or pre-heated DO produces much difference in the end result, which is rather more extreme than your experience in which there seems to have been a relatively small difference in temperature. There is an interesting blog entry from David Snyder from way back in Nov 2010 in which he carried out this exact experiment baking two boules, one starting in a cold DO and the second in a preheated DO. His conclusion was that "the differences were very small - arguably of no significance". Any relevance?  What do you think?




calneto's picture

you apparently did not measure the oven temperature, so it is hard to say much.

I usually preheat my oven for 30’, but I always check the temperature before putting the loaf in. At 30’, it is usually around 235C. I have at times preheated for longer periods, and always measured the temperature. I don’t think  that the oven gets any hotter after 1 hour. At least mine does not, peaking at around 255C and staying there.

DanAyo's picture

No, 45 minutes in the frig should have no discernible affect on the bread. But 45 minutes at room temp definitely would.