Temperature Influences on Bread as it Bakes

Reader Contribution by Staff

If you’ve been frustrated by trying to bake bread at home, learning something about what is happening as a loaf cooks can be helpful. The following chart is from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman, director of the Bakery and Baking Education Center at King Arthur Flour. (You can read my recommendation of the cookbook here.)

77? to 122?F (25? to 50?C):Rapid increase in yeast fermentation; increase in enzymatic activity; beginning of crust formation; starch swelling; accelerated gas production and expansion contributing to oven spring

122? to 140?F (50? to 60?C):Rye starch begins to gelatinize; bacteria die; enzymes in yeast are inactivated; yeast reaches thermal death point (at about 140?F)

140? to 158?F (60? to 70?C):Wheat starch begins to gelatinize; loaf expansion slows; coagulation of gluten begins; amylase enzymes reach maximum activity

158? to 176?F (70? to 80?C): Gluten coagulation is complete and dough structure is formed; enzyme activity decreases; rye starch gelatinization ends

176? to 194?F (80? to 90?C):Wheat starch gelatinization is complete; enzyme activity ceases

194? to 212?F (90? to 100?C):Maximum internal loaf temperature is reached; crust coloration begins

212? to 350?F (100? to 177?C):Maillard reaction develops crust color; ketones and aldehydes form, eventually contributing to flavor and aroma

300? to 400?F (149? to 204?C):Further crust color and flavor development through caramelization