Making bread in bigger batches is a great way to save time and money. Instead of baking every day, you are able to make several loaves at once and put a few in the freezer. I wish I remembered to do this more often! Instead of baking for yourself, you might be looking to make bigger batches of bread to sell them. If so, it’s also wise to consider how many loaves of bread can you bake at once so you can plan your time and work on your costing.
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How many loaves can I fit in a domestic oven?
Unfortunately, it depends on the size of your oven and how you are baking the loaves. Most standard sized ovens will fit one or two large loaves or 2-3 small ones at a time. In a larger domestic oven, you can get custom-sized baking stones that maximise the space you can use for baking. In this case, you will fit up to 3 large loaves and 5 small ones.
There should be plenty of room for the hot air to circulate so don’t pack your bread in too much when making bigger batches. Domestic ovens are less powerful than commercial ones. Cheaper, lower-powered ovens will take longer to regain heat after the bread is loaded in. This means it is wise to bake fewer items and leave a bigger gap between your baking bread.
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How many loaves can I bake at once with a Dutch oven?
Unless you have a large Dutch oven like a Challenger, you won’t be able to bake more than one loaf of bread at a time. In a Challenger, it is possible to bake 2 small loaves at a time. If your oven is large enough you might be able to fit a second dutch oven in.
How many baguettes can I bake at once in an oven?
Baguettes need high heat and plenty of air circulation when baked. A domestic oven will fit 3-4 baguettes in at a time, providing they are short enough to fit in the oven! It’s hard to slide them from a peel in such a small space so if use a baguette tray, to fit more in.
Do I need to change the temperature of the oven when baking multiple loaves?
You shouldn’t need to adjust the temperature of the oven when baking more than one loaf. However, loading lots of cold dough into a baking chamber will cool it down. You may want to increase the preheating temperature by 20-30 degrees to compensate for the expected heat loss.
Do I bake for longer when making multiple loaves?
Bread often takes a few extra minutes when making multiple loaves at a time. Depending on how powerful the oven is, the bread could need 2 extra minutes of baking to up to 10 minutes extra. A powerful oven that is good at maintaining temperature is more consistent under bigger loads.
What do I do if I can’t fit all the bread in the oven?
If you have too much bread to go in your oven you will have to separate your bake and bake in batches. To slow down the rise of the second batch you can put them in the fridge whilst the first bakes. Placing bread dough in the refrigerator will slow down the activity of the yeast. Alternatively, you might be curious to see if an extra 30 minutes of proofing will benefit the bread. If so, keep them out of the cold.
Tips for baking several loaves at a time
If you are going to bake several loaves at once, here are my top tips:
Know your heat spots
Most ovens have areas where food cooks quicker than others which are called heat spots. When making bigger batches you should use the last 5-10 minutes of baking to move the loaves around the oven to ensure they are all coloured equally.
Increase the preheating temperature
For domestic ovens, increase the preheat temperature. For more powerful commercial ovens this is less of a problem. But by preheating 30-40 degrees higher than your baking temperature you reduce the amount of heat lost when loading the oven.
Allow the oven to recover between bakes
After baking bread with a baking stone it will be cooler in the area where the bread was baked. To ensure your next bread receives the same amount of heat transfer from the baking stone it is best to leave the oven to recover in between bakes. This will aid your bread to receive the full power of the oven spring and reduce the time the bread will spend in the oven. The recovery time again depends on the power of the oven, but a good starting point is 5 minutes.
Bake for longer if they need it
If the bread has not browned at the end of the baking cycle, bake for another 2-3 minutes before checking again. Use this extra time to use the hotter areas of the oven to colour the bread.
Allow plenty of space between the loaves
There should always be some airflow between bread in the oven. This allows warmth to be conducted into the bread as it bakes.
Frequently asked questions about baking several loaves of bread at once
Can you cook 4 loaves of bread at once?
You will be able to bake 4 loaves at once in a large oven but an ordinary convection oven will be too small to fit 4 loaves of bread at once.
Can I bake two loaves at once?
Yes, if you are using a baking stone you should be able to fit 2 loaves at once. You won’t be able to fit loaves at once in a Dutch oven. You would need a second Dutch oven and a large oven.
Do smaller loaves take less time to bake?
Loaves with a smaller diameter don’t need as long to bake as large ones. If baking large and small loaves together place the smaller loaves near the oven door so they can come out earlier.