The ability to tell when products are baked properly seems to cause more trouble than almost any other phase of baking. And it’s critical. Over-baked cookies are dry and hard; under-baked bread is soggy. But you can get it right. In this post, we will give you the techniques and pointers to bake your goods to perfection.
Yeast Breads–Internal Temperature ...The tendency is to under-bake yeast breads. The internal temperature of most yeast breads should be 210 degrees and must be at least 185 degrees. Soft sandwich breads often baked to 190 to 200 degrees.
The only way to reliably tell what is going on inside a loaf is with a probe-type thermometer. Remove the bread from the pan and insert the thermometer through the bottom crust into the center of the loaf. (If you are going to bake bread and you don’t have a thermometer, we strongly recommend that you purchase one. You will need it to test the temperature of the water, the dough, and the finished bread. You can buy one on our site.)
Yeast Breads–Color ...When the bread is done, the crust color will range from a golden brown to a deep brown for artisan breads baked in a hot oven. Breads with a higher sugar content or in a hot oven will tend to brown more rapidly as the sugar caramelizes. If the bread is browning too rapidly, make a tent of aluminum foil and cover the top of the loaf.
In light colored pans, the bottom crust is the last to brown. With a done loaf, the bottom will color even in a light-colored pan.
Yeast Breads–Sound ... My mother was a bread baker. She tested doneness by tapping the loaf with her finger–a done loaf will sound hollow when tapped. I don’t remember her ever making a mistake. Though she taught me to do the same, I’m not as good as she was. Out of habit, I still tap the loaf but I nearly always follow with a thermometer probe and sometimes the thermometer proves me wrong. Dennis Weaver, Prepared Pantry