With all the work you put into it, there’s a sense of accomplishment when you pull the perfect loaf from the oven. That initial buzz drops to an incredible low if you cut in to find your bread is doughy. You might think that you followed all the steps in the recipe carefully, but why did your bread come out doughy?
Problems with underbaked bread lead to many home bakers giving up, but you’re not like the others, are you?
The most common reason for doughy bread after baking is that it was simply undercooked. This could be due to the oven being too hot and not baking long enough. It can also be because of improper cooling or not following the recipe correctly.
If a portion of your bread remains doughy, eating it is essentially eating raw dough.
Eating it will not be enjoyable and uncooked flour can lead to sickness and stomach bugs so best avoided.
Because water evaporates during baking, unbaked dough will also become mouldy and rancid much faster than fully baked bread as it contains more water.
When it comes to making bread and not having your bread doughy when cooked, the first place to start is to check your oven. If the temperature of your oven is too high, the crust of your bread will bake faster than the core, making it appear baked to the eye, although it’s not.
Ovens can vary in how they operate, I had one that I didn’t realise had a broken thermostat so ran on max heat constantly! To tell if your oven is running at the correct temperature, use an oven thermometer or an infrared thermometer.
When it comes to baking bread for the first few times, or baking bread in a new oven, it takes a few attempts to learn what time and temps suit your particular model.
The best temperature to bake bread is around 430-445F (220-230C) for standard lean bread, or 390F (200C) for enriched bread types like brioche.
Baking stones are great for evenly distributing heat throughout the bread as it cooks. You will also want to make sure that your oven has had time to preheat all the way, especially if using a baking stone (recommended).
Heat the stone for around 60 minutes so it reaches the desired temperature of your oven.
Also, if you are baking your bread in a tin, a baking stone also helps keep the base turning out soggy.
If you do use a bread tin, be sure to remove your loaf of bread from the tin right after baking and let it cool on a rack.
Some bakers find joy in popping the bread back in the oven tin-less for 5 minutes so the heat penetrates the centre and base of the bread.
Not only is a temperature probe an excellent tool for managing dough temperature, but it can also be used to check the temperature of your bread during baking.
Just like you would check the internal temperature of a turkey, whole chicken, or pork you can insert a temperature probe to check the temperature of a loaf of bread.
An instant-read thermometer is ideal here so you don’t have to wait for ages for the probe to provide an accurate reading. Check out the thermometer I recommend here, instant-read thermometer.
For soft bread, once the temperature reaches 180 to 190 F (82-88C) internally, you can consider it baked.
For crustier, leaner bread, aim for the internal temperature to reach 200 to 210 F (93-98C) before considering it thoroughly cooked.
If the temperature of the bread is too cool, return it to the oven for a few extra minutes. Don’t be afraid to drop the baking temperature a little to prevent it from over-browning.
Yes! Not to worry, you can tell when bread is done without a thermometer by removing the bread from the oven and taping the bottom of the with your finger. Does it sound hollow? If so, your loaf of bread is done.
Another way to avoid doughy bread is to make sure that you have measured your flour and other ingredients correctly.
The best way to do this is to measure the flour by weight instead of measuring cups.
Measuring cups can easily lead to adding too much or not enough flour. And if you do not use enough flour in your recipe, you can find the centre of your loaf is undercooked.
So, if you plan to become an avid bread baker, you will find it will be worth it to invest in a kitchen scale.
Of course, you can try using calibrated measuring cups as well, but the first choice should always be a scale.
You may not have doughy bread, it may not have cooled properly.
I know it’s tempting to cut a slice off of that bread when it comes out of the oven. There is something about a warm piece of bread with a bit of fresh butter. I get it!
But, it is essential to let that loaf of bread cool completely before slicing it. While baking, steam is trapped inside the loaf. This steam needs to escape, which happens as your bread cools.
You want to let your bread sit for around 2 hours till it drops to blood temperature (99F or 37C). Otherwise, the bread can appear doughy inside even when cooked thoroughly.
For more accurate cooling times based on the type of bread you are making see my guide on how long to let bread cool down after baking.
Not to worry, that doughy bread when cooked, is not a complete waste. Here are a couple of tips to save all your hard work.
Unfortunately, if you have removed the loaf of bread from the oven before it had properly set and it collapses, there isn’t much you can do. You can try to continue baking; it won’t hurt anything. You may get lucky, but chances are, it won’t end up working, and you will need to use it for breadcrumbs and start over.
Baking bread so it isn’t doughy in the centre doesn’t have to be a problem for long. I swear once you’ve mastered the steps in this post you’ll never have this problem again! Baking bread can be a bit daunting, but it can also be rewarding. Not to mention tasty! It is a precise process. But, with a little bit of patience and some practice, you should be able to bake perfect loaves one after the other and avoid having doughy bread.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and wish to treat me to a coffee, you can by following the link below – Thanks x
Hi, I’m Gareth Busby, a baking coach, lecturer and bread fanatic. My goal is to help you become a better baker.
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