How to bake your bread perfectly in the household oven?

How to bake your bread perfectly in the household oven?

You wish bake your bread spare and get a professional result ? It is rare, if not impossible, to find good advice on the internet or in books about a good baking bread. And I know how frustrating it isโ€ฆ The ones I’m going to give you here can’t be found anywhere else, they’re the result of multiple tests and failures! ๐Ÿ˜€

You know full well that the baker uses a competitive oven. And when we want to bake our bread in our small oven at home, we notice very quickly that its baked appearance is not necessarily professional. And we wish it were! Well it’s quite possible, and I’ll explain to you in 4 simple steps how to get there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Let’s analyze how the oven of the pros works. the traditional baker uses what is called a deck oven. I had already mentioned it in the 5 parameters to understand for successful bread. I will not talk here about high-efficiency industrial ovens that work differently. Focus on traditional ovens. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Baking bread in the deck oven

1. Sole

So we can ask ourselves:

  • but why does he use soles to bake his bread?
  • is it an oven in which soles are cooked at the base?

And no ! ๐Ÿ˜› I laugh about it because I once asked myself these existential questions. You can imagine that “sole” does not refer here to the marine vertebrate, otherwise all our breads would have a rather iodized and unpleasant taste. No, what is called the sole (is pronounced [sol] as for a willow) it is the base of the oven on which the bread is placed to bake. It’s the equivalent of our hob, basically. Except that in the case of the professional oven, the heat input from the floor (the source) is very close to the base.

Indeed, the resistances (heating elements) are located almost in contact with the base and therefore a strong and direct heat comes from the bottom, in contact with bread. It is thanks to this heat coming from below, for conduction, that the bread can really swell. The water contained in the dough will boil and the gases captured by the gluten will want to escape from the top!

The top of the bread will cook thanks to two other phenomena bringing heat:

  • the convection : the heat around the bread will create air movement in the oven. To better understand the phenomenon, it’s a bit like a room that heats up thanks to the radiator.
  • the radiation : it is here about the heat brought by the top of the furnace. Imagine yourself on the beach, soaking up the sun. It’s the same mechanism. The bread is at a distance from the top of the oven (it does not touch), the heat emitted from the top allows the bread to โ€œtanโ€. ๐Ÿ˜›

2. Steam

A humid atmosphere must be created in the oven so that the crust does not form too quickly. Because if the crust hardens too quickly at the start of baking, it will prevent the bread from developing completely!

Once the breads are in the oven, the baker releases steam into the oven (once or twice) at the start of cooking. These ovens have a water pipe running through them to create instant steam. All you have to do is press a button to release the steam into the oven. It’s dreamy, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜€

3. The space between the top and bottom of the oven

There is often a fairly small space between the sole (where the loaves are placed) and the upper level. This allows the bread to obtain a golden crust at the end of baking because the heat radiation from above is closer to the bread.

4. Oven temperature

The sole must have reached a high enough temperature for the bread to be grasped during its charging. It is this sudden strong heat brought to the bread from the bottom which will allow it to swell at the start of cooking! On the other hand, if the temperature is too hot, the risk is to obtain a black crust underneath. It is therefore necessary know your oven and the conditions necessary for optimal baking, depending on the type of bread. ๐Ÿ™‚

Baking bread in a household oven

We are going to have to recreate at most baker’s oven conditions. For this, it is necessary to adapt the three most important parameters seen above on your household oven. here are the 4 steps to succeed.

1. Bake your bread in the oven, simulating the sole

To simulate the baker’s sole and sear the bread when it is put in the oven, you need either:

  • a hob provided for your oven
  • a smaller plate itself placed on a grid (the technique I recommend)
  • refractory stones placed on a grid (my favorite technique)

Your plate will need to preheat to a sufficient temperature (at least 225ยฐC). If it is a griddle, 30 minutes of preheating will suffice in most cases. If it is refractory stones, it will be necessary to preheat them for 45 minutes. It will store the heat and return it to the bread when it is put in the oven.

In either case, you can:

  • flour a pizza peel to slide your bread onto the plate or stone
  • or place your ready-to-bake bread on a sheet of baking paper that you slide onto the plate or stone

2. Create a humid atmosphere at the start of cooking

During the first 10 minutes of baking, it is necessary to create a humid atmosphere in the oven, so that the bread develops and swells to its maximum. To do this, several techniques are available to you.

  • Bake your bread in a casserole dish
  • In the dripping pan that you have placed in contact with the bottom of the oven, you can put 500 mL of water at the start of preheating. The water will gradually evaporate until it is put in the oven.
  • When putting in the oven, you can throw a large glass of water into the dripping pan, which will have been preheated to create instant steam. This technique requires great speed since you must close the oven immediately after throwing out the water, to prevent the steam from escaping.
  • You can prepare a pot of boiling water. When putting in the oven, you will run a little boiling water in the dripping pan to create steam and you will place the pan in it to leave it during the whole cooking. I suggest you go see my video on Viennese bread at 6:22 p.m. to fully understand the technique.
  • You can, in addition, spray your dough with water. Be careful, if it is floured, AVOID spraying it! Otherwise, you will create a thick, hard, inedible crust. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ In fact, you have to choose: flour OR spray. ๐Ÿ™‚

3. Reduce the space between the top of the oven and the bread

Many manuals recommend baking pastries and breads with the baking sheet on the bottom of your oven. This is not ideal! They certainly recommend this to recreate a sole phenomenonโ€ฆ But if you preheat your plate for long enough, we must not put it in the low position in the oven.

On the contrary, it must be placed higher. Baking with the plate placed in position 2 (30 cm from the top of the oven) works best. Be careful, however, not to activate the top heat when you approach the bread from the top of the oven, this will give you a charred crust and prevent your bread from rising properly.

Personally, I place my baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Generally, at the end of cooking the crust of my bread is not quite cooked so I turn on the convection heat for a few minutes to finish, and it’s perfect! ๐Ÿ˜‰

4. The right cooking temperature

To have a nice sole effect and at the same time prevent the lower crust from burning, it is generally necessary to preheat to a temperature slightly higher than that of baking. It is also necessary to scrupulously respect the temperatures indicated on the professional recipes. Those found in common recipe books are sometimes skewed, so trust your intuition. I will give you a few leads so that you can analyze the veracity of what you find:

  • For a classic white bread prepared with 500 g of flour, preheating will be done at 250ยฐC for 45 minutes to 1 hour and cooking at 225ยฐC for 40-45 minutes.
  • For a loaf of the same volume but with a more elongated shape, keep the same temperatures but slightly reduce the baking time to 35 minutes.
  • For baguettes, they generally cook in 20 to 30 minutes, depending on their finesse, at 245ยฐC
  • For rolls and ficelles, do not exceed 12 to 15 minutes, at 250ยฐC

To sum up, we put in the oven after preheating at high temperature and we lower the temperature for cooking.

The essentials to remember when baking bread in your household oven

  1. Create a sole effect by sufficiently preheating the hob or stone at high temperature
  2. Create a humid atmosphere by creating steam during the first 10 minutes of cooking.
  3. Reduce the space between the bread and the top of the oven placing the slab or stone halfway up.
  4. Seize the bread by putting it in the oven at a sufficient temperature and letting the temperature reduce as it cooks.

Next steps :

  1. Make a medium sized loaf that you are used to making or a ball loaf from 500 g of flour.
  2. Prepare your oven for perfect cooking and watch the result.
  3. Applause ๐Ÿ˜›
  4. Comment below this article ๐Ÿ˜‰

Did you like this article? Feel free to share it! ๐Ÿ™‚

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