Timing Issues

White Bread 2 - side shot

The weather has played havoc with my timings. Things that used to reliably take an hour are taking half that time and I’m having to watch my loaves like a hawk. This time I was caught out by an over enthusiastic white tin loaf.

I make this pretty much every week and it usually takes about an hour for each stage but not this time. Once it had been shaped and popped into its tin it seemed to speed up. When I tested it after about 20 mins it was already springing back slowly – a sign that it was ready to go in the oven. But the oven wasn’t even on yet, let alone hot enough for bread. Pretty much all my recipes say you should get the oven up to temperature before the bread goes in but this wasn’t going to be possible. The best I could do was put the oven on for about 10 minutes before putting the bread in.

The oven was barely 100C when the bread went in. It wasn’t even hot enough to create steam when boiling water was added to the roasting tray (which obviously hadn’t preheated enough). I feared a bread disaster was on the way….

But look at it. It’s the best oven spring I’ve had from a tin loaf. It took about 10-15 min longer but somehow that lower starting temperate has given the bread more of a boost than it usually has.

It may be a one off but I’ll try this approach again and let you know. I’ve heard of people putting sourdough into a cold oven to proof and bake in one step but not conventional bread. Maybe it wasn’t as far gone as I feared and it just finished the process in the oven so possibly slightly under-proofing and a lower initial temperature gives better results. Let me know if you’ve had a similar experience.

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12 thoughts on “Timing Issues

  1. Absolutely loved the way it opened up – not easy for a bread made in a tin, great job!

    I will be following your adventures, interesting observation about the oven temperature – I made a sourdough many years ago starting with a cold oven and it worked fine, I am not sure why I abandoned that in favor of the more “traditional” way of baking…. I hate heating up the house for too long when it’s hot outside 😉

    • Thanks for your kind comments. I’ve put bread into a cold oven a few times now and it seems to have a bit more oomph to me. I stick with preheating for things that have a short bake time but I’m certainly not as worried about getting it “up to temperature” for large loaves any more.

  2. I tried the cold oven method once out of curiosity. It seemed to me that i got a flatter loaf than usual, but as you mentioned, there are so many parameters, it’s hard to say with any certainty. I would venture to say that maybe with tinned loaves, where there’s some support for the bread, it cold oven baking is safe? Perhaps the time in the cold oven while it heats up is part of the proofing?? Whereas with breads that need a very hot oven to begin with, it might suffer a bit?? Then again, I saw this very morning on The Fresh Loaf that someone had got mighty oven spring baking from a cold oven so there you go…

    • It’s definitely not an exact science! I’ve done the same with bread rolls and had a similar bounce so it seems to work for me but they were quite large. I wouldn’t try it on things like croissants or other laminated doughs as I think that they need that initial burst of heat.
      I know my oven takes 15 minutes to get to temperature so I shorten my proof by about 10min and lengthen my bake accordingly. I think that it does act as a kind of proofing oven at the start but it is very much trial and error. I’m certainly a bit more laid back now about getting it in at the right temperature but with bread recipes I haven’t baked before I do still preheat.

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