How To Tell When Bread is Done With or Without a Thermometer

Checking the bread’s doneness should always be one of the best parts of baking. While it’s easy to do with an instant-read thermometer, some veteran bakers can live without it. If you also want to know how to tell when your bread is done with or without a thermometer, this article is for you!

An instant-read thermometer offers the most accurate results in checking the doneness of your bread. But as you enhance your baking skills, you will learn if your bread is done by just the looks of it. A perfectly baked bread should have a deep golden-brown crust, a firm texture, and a largely dry interior.

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The ideal internal temperature of bread in Celcius

As there are different types of bread, their temperature of doneness will also slightly differ. For hard and crusty bread, the internal temperature should be between 90-99 degrees C or 200-210F. While for soft types of bread like dinner rolls, it should be at 87-93 degrees C or 190-200F.

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Ideally the temperature of the bread should actually pass 90C for 10% of the bake. This means for a 35 minute bake, the bread should pass 90C after 31.5 minutes. This is too hard to measure in a home bakery (and many professional ones!) so this method is not used to test, but a handy tip to know I think!

A thermometer like the GDealer DT09 is perfect for testing the core temperature of the bread. It’s the one I use at home. I like it because it reads the temperature in under 4 seconds, hasn’t fallen apart after the numerous times I’ve dropped it and the batteries are cheap and easy to change. I use it mainly for bread, but also to check that I haven’t undercooked chicken and to make the perfect medium-rare beef!

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What does undercooked bread look like?

A bread is distinguished as undercooked by its texture and firmness. A typical sign of undercooked bread is when it’s too soft, close to the texture of the original raw dough. The inside part will be doughy, soggy, and it may even appear to have wet spots. Although the crust can colour early when the baking temperature is too high, it’s often noticed that the crust is not a deep golden brown colour.

Most bread that’s way too undercooked will also lack the nice aroma of freshly baked bread. Instead, it will have a raw and doughy smell.

How to tell if bread is done without a thermometer

If you don’t have access to a thermometer, there are two simple steps that you can use to check your bread’s doneness:

Tapping the bottom

The first method that you can do is tapping the bottom part of the bread. Simply take the loaf out of the oven or baking pan and turn it upside down. Give the bottom part a firm tap with your thumb, and it should make a heavy or hollow sound. Having a hollow sound means that the inside part of your bread is already cooked and ready to cool down.

Using a toothpick

Using a toothpick isn’t just applied to cake making, it can be used in baking bread as well. Basically, you just need to stick the toothpick into the bread. If the toothpick comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs, then the bread is finished baking. But if it comes out with many damp crumbs or it has some uncooked batter, it needs more time in the oven.

How long you should bake bread

Of course, different types of bread have different time periods to be cooked in the oven. Some of them are listed down on the table below:

Type of BreadOven Time
Quick bread32-36 minutes
Buns and rolls10-16 minutes
Thick flatbreads20-28 minutes 
Thin flatbreads3-15 minutes
Sourdough bread33-42 minutes

Can you overcook bread?

Yes, bread can always be overcooked. Unless it’s your preference, most bakers don’t advise overcooking your bread. Overbaking makes the bread dry and tough, the complete opposite of what bread should be! 

Frequently asked questions when telling when bread is done

Can you bake bread at 175 degrees?

At 175 degrees, the oven is a little too cold for the majority of lean bread. For sweetened bread such as brioche and pastries, this temperature is perfect. But if your bread doesn’t contain much sugar or fat, it will be dryer, take longer to bake and have a weakened texture.

Can you bake bread at 325F?

Yes, you can, although it won’t be ideal for most types of bread. Baking at lower temperatures than normal will increase the baking period, and lower the gains provided during oven spring. This produces bread that is dryer and doesn’t keep as long. 

Can you use a meat thermometer for bread?

Instant read probe thermometers are best used to check the internal temperature of the bread. Some meat thermometers are inserted into the meat and remain there during the roasting process. This is not going to work when baking bread.

How to tell if baked rolls are done?

To test the doneness of your baked rolls, their internal temperature should be at 190-200F. they should have an even golden colour, pull away from the sides of the pan, and firm when touched.

Why won’t my bread pass 100C when baking?

Because there is water in bread, it regulates the temperature to prevent the bread from passing 100C during baking. As the bread cools outside of the oven, water can escape and the bread will rise in temperature by 10-20 degrees.

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