Sourdough Baking Comparison: Baking Temperature
We are comparing sourdough loaves baked in three different oven settings - one loaf baked at proper oven temperature, two loaves baked at 50 degrees F lower / higher temperature. Check out our video on following post.
When baked at temperature that is too low, the loaf does not have a good oven spring. The dough spreads sideways before expanding vertically, so the cross section becomes flatter and smaller. The crumb may become tight as a result of this. It will take a long time to brown the surface, making the crust very thick and dry.
When baking temperature is too high, the loaf will have a very quick oven spring which produces more round cross section. The crust will brown very quickly before sufficient amount of water is evaporated. This will make a very thin crust that may turn leathery soon after cooling, and also the crumb will stay gummy.
Using our commercial deck oven, we normally set the oven at 450-465F and the bake time for 900g loaves is about 40 minutes - 20 minutes at first with steam in the oven, and 20 more minutes with vent open. Opening the vent helps to release more moisture from the loaf, making a sturdier crust. Venting time becomes more important when there is more water used in the dough (whole grain bread or seeded bread, for example) to prevent the crumb from becoming gummy. When sufficient amount of moisture is not removed from the loaf, it becomes more prone to growing mold as well.