The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Probe thermometer in finished loaf?

roboboticus's picture

Probe thermometer in finished loaf?

After carefully shaping, proofing, and baking, I have a hard time bringing myself to jab the finished loaf with a probe thermometer to check its internal temperature. Am I worrying too much?

WatertownNewbie's picture

My preference is to find a spot where the hole will not be too unsightly and then stick the probe (a Thermapen) in and check the temperature.  On the other hand, apparently Jeffrey Hamelman feels that making a hole in a loaf is philosophically incorrect (that's at least my attempt at phrasing my impression of his attitude on the topic).  If the loaf is fully baked, you are free to check in any way that you desire (thump the bottom and then put the loaf back into the oven if it seems not yet ready).  I also read somewhere (cannot recall where right now) that the internal temperature peaks around two-thirds of the way through the bake.

Happy baking.


gavinc's picture

Also, Hamelman says measuring by a probe is inaccurate, as the loaf continues to cook after removed from the oven.

I just tap the loaf on the bottom and sides to get a feel of doneness.


Timothy Wilson's picture
Timothy Wilson

I don't measure the temperature inside a loaf of bread at all, because I roughly understand how long it takes to bake a certain amount of dough. So far, it has never been possible to under-bake bread or other pastries.

Sabina's picture

I've always wondered about this, too. It's not just one thermometer hole, either; if it's still underdone when you check, you need to jab the loaf again and again. I try to not use the thermometer and instead just cook the bread longer than I feel I should. I don't even care about the bread's appearance, and I'm not good at shaping loaves in the first place, but I really don't like the gluey part around the thermometer holes.

Portus's picture

For me, weight loss trumps internal temperature for doneness - c13-15% for the average loaf, and c20% for baguettes.  Telling is the rapid +2% loss during the final 5 minutes of a bake.  But much also depends upon the original hydration, flours used, etc. 

greyspoke's picture

 Whether it is feel, sound, smell, weight, temperature, what you measure immediately you take it from the oven is a snapshot of the condition of the loaf at that time, not a measure of some final finished value.  But if you choose something that is repeatable and bears some relation to the "done-ness" of the bread, then you can evaluate where it needs to be at that time for the final loaf to be to your liking.

There was a thread about this which may be where you got the 2/3 time from - measuring temperature during baking with a probe from the outside would be fraught with difficulty I think, as I attempted to explain there, due to heat travelling along and around the probe.  Taking the loaf out perdiodically and probing carefully would be a different matter.  The device Hamelman spoke of would get round those problems, but possibly introduce different ones.  The maximum temperature thing suggests that the core temperature reaches a plateau for some reason, and that it is not necessary for it to pass through that plateau and go on increasing for it to be "done".

Whatever, I find temperature a good guide, probably I am measuring when the loaf has gone past the plateau though. If there is such a thing.