Bread baking temperature

Kate Maclay

I'm a new baker and often prefer to make the bread by hand. Some King Arthur recipes (as in the the Anniversary Edition cookbook) are very vague about a specific temperature. I was baking a yeast bread with 4.5 cups of flour, 1/4 c. sugar, chocolate chips and walnuts added - all I could find in the cookbook was the suggestion to cook it at 475 degrees and then lower temp to 450. The bread burned badly on top after 15 minutes. I covered it with foil, lowered temp to 350 and cooked another 20 minutes. The bread was not quite done but still tasted good. Any suggestions as to what I should have done? I will very much appreciate the help.

badge posted by: Kate Maclay on November 01, 2012 at 1:06 pm in Baking, yeast
share on: Twitter, Facebook
Replies to this discussion
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save" to activate your changes.
reply by: KAF_MaryJane on November 01, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Sorry to hear about the bread scorching. The recipes in our books would have been tested with the temperature listed, however all ovens vary. If you are finding the bread baking too quickly at our given temps, it may be that your oven is running hotter and you'll need to adjust the temperature.

Having a separate oven thermometer that reads the temp inside your oven is the best way to know if you are running true.

reply by: frick on November 01, 2012 at 1:23 pm

It isn't uncommon for a recipe to be a bit off the first time around. Every oven bakes differently. Strangely enough, even though my own oven tests correct at 350, everything I bake takes longer, whether it's cookies, cake, quick breads, or bread. So your own oven could be baking much hotter than it should. Make sure you get an oven thermometer and check it at different parts of the oven.

Lowering the loaf one rack may help especially if the bread is tall. Anything near the top of the oven will brown faster. I understand why you wanted to take it out since it was browning too much, but 35 minutes sounds like too brief a baking period for this size recipe. The sugar in the loaf would also contribute to browning of the crust. Do you have an instant thermometer for the bread? An internal temp should reach minimum 190F, 200F being preferred by many bakers.

reply by: Mike Nolan on November 01, 2012 at 1:35 pm
Mike Nolan

Which recipe was this?

It's possible there's a typo, it would be very unusual for any recipe involving chocolate to start out at 475.

reply by: KIDPIZZA on November 01, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Good afternoon Kate. Kate, The oven temp. invariably is too too high at 475, degrees for a yeasted bread. There is one concern that is the sugar. It amounts to approx. 9% plus of the weight of the flour. Meaning that is quite a bit. As you know Kate, sugar carmelize very easily, hence besides the very high temp it did contribute to the quick burning at the top surface.

Kate I believe 350/375 temp is of choice in this baked product. I would take a quick peek in the oven after 8/10, minutes to see if it is carmelizing rather quickly...if it is TENT the surface with a sheet of alum. foil for about 5, minutes. As you were told by member FRICK internal temp is to be 190 to 105 Degrees when it is completed baking. Then placed on a cooling rack for at least 60/70, minutes before cutting into it.

Good luck & enjoy the rest of the day young lady.


reply by: easyquilts on November 01, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I agree with Kidpizza that 475 is pretty high...,..... I don't have any recipes that call for sch a high temp.... Nearly all of my bread recipes are from KA, too.

Most loaf breads are baked at 350 to 375 degrees.... I always check after 15or 20 minutes to see if the bread is browning too quickly, and tent if necessary.

I use Pyrex loaf pans...exclusively ...... You are supposed to lower the temp by 25 degrees, but I never do. I do find, though that my breads do take longer to fully bake in my Pyrex pans, though., than they o in metl pans.

A big advantage to using Pyrex, is that you can actually see how "done" looking the sides and bottom are. I like that. They clean easily, and well, too.

Actually, I use Pyrex for as much of my baking as I can.... Casseroles, too. There is just ome thing about it that makes me feel good when I use it....

Good luck with your next bread..... Don't forget that we are all here....and eager to help in any way we can...

Sandy from Cincinnati

reply by: sandra Alicante on November 01, 2012 at 3:35 pm
sandra Alicante

As Kidpizza says, that temp is far too high. For a lean (unsugared) loaf it would be high, for a sweet loaf that has to be a typo!
I would guess it was supposed to be 375F.

Try it again at the lower temp. One thing, make sure your dough is not too dry, sweet dough needs to be well hydrated to get a good rise.

Hope you have better luck next time!

reply by: PaddyL on November 02, 2012 at 12:06 am

I bake most of my breads no higher than 375, usually 350F.

reply by: Kate Maclay on November 02, 2012 at 10:15 am
Kate Maclay

Mary Jane: Thank you for your reply.

I got the information I used from the King Arthur Anniversary Edition which I bought recently. On page 120 under Yeasted Breads & Rolls, Preparing the Oven/Creating Steam, it states: "Preheat oven to 475 about 15 minutes before you want to bake your bread. ... Then on page 122 it says to bake at 475 for 20 minutes and if too hot turn down to 450. I had checked in the sweet bread section, which referred the reader back to the Yeasted Breads page 115 for baking.

I couldn't find any alternative temperature settings for baking a loaf of bread.

I really appreciate your response and that of so many others and will try 350 from now on. Thank you all!

reply by: Kate Maclay on November 02, 2012 at 10:18 am
Kate Maclay

KIDPIZZA: Thank you very much for your help and for the "young lady". I am young at heart, but I'm 70 years old and finally have a chance to learn to bake. See - we "chronologically advantaged" can learn new tricks!

reply by: Mike Nolan on November 02, 2012 at 11:08 am
Mike Nolan

Kate, I don't have that particular cookbook, but I'm still not clear what recipe you're following, it sounds like this is not one of the recipes in the book.

If you're looking for general guidelines, as others have noted for most yeasted breads a typical baking range is 350-400 degrees. (Personally, I use 400 most of the time, but I happen to like a heavily caramelized crust.)

There are exceptions to this rule of thumb.

Lean doughs (eg, doughs that are just flour, salt, water and yeast, like for baguettes) in many cases may start out with the oven as high as 500 degrees. A pan of water is one method used to create steam, and the temperature is usually lowered after a few minutes.

Another exception to the rule is hard rolls. I've been on a personal quest to duplicate a hard roll I got in a NYC restaurant once, I'm now fairly convinced it cannot be done in a home oven because the oven just won't go high enough. (650 degrees and a few shots of steam appear to be what's needed.)

Pizzas have the same problem, you'll never duplicate what happens in a commercial pizza oven at home, because the oven may be as hot as 1100 degrees, with 700-800 being commonplace.

Croissants also seem to benefit from higher temperatures, I believe that seals the outside faster so they don't leak butter, allowing the water in the butter to turn into steam and help create a softer flakier croissant.

And when you're making sweet doughs and/or adding things like nuts, raisins and especially chocolate, lower oven temperatures are preferable to prevent scorching.

Let us know how a lower oven temperature works for you. You may want to invest in a good instant-read thermometer, so you know when your bread is done on the inside. (I usually aim for an internal temperature of 200.)

reply by: Kate Maclay on November 02, 2012 at 11:19 am
Kate Maclay

thank you, Mike. I really appreciate the information and have stuck your comments into my self-made bread book.

I had found a KAF recipe for chocolate chip and walnut bread for use in a bread machine. I tried to find information for cooking it in the oven and wasn't very successfu. I must not have looked hard enough. Will try your suggestions.

Thanks again.

reply by: KAF_MaryJane on November 02, 2012 at 11:28 am

HI Kate,
I'm still a little confused about which recipe you are making. The temperature for baking should be listed right on the recipe itself, so you should not need to look on other pages for a baking temperature.

If you come across a recipe that doesn't have a specific temperature listed for baking, please let us know so that we can check the errata for a correction.

reply by: ckncrft on May 03, 2015 at 8:05 am

There are various articles that talk about temps for baking and the sugar quantities that can affect crust color and texture. In general low sugar slow rise (no-knead) breads that get baked in a vessel like a cast iron or ceramic baker can handle 500 degrees at start with a 25 to 50 degree drop after 20-30mins and finally opening the vessel at the end for 10 mins to achieve proper browning.

For a sugary sweet bread- the 375 to 350 temp is essential to ensure you're not going to convert all that sugar into carbon if you're baking out in the open space of the oven unprotected.

It does sound like KA should have included a temp for each baked item on their respective recipe page, but somehow overlooked it.

I also agree that without a closed vessel to trap and use the moisture coming out of the bread- a source of water (tray or loaf pan filled with boiling water) is essential.

Harder flakier crusts seem to develop for lower sugar breads under higher temps. The greater the sugar, the softer the crust as well.

reply by: buttercup on May 03, 2015 at 9:29 am

Saving thread. Good information.