Oven 101: The S Curve

Image 1. Bread slices illustrating the time/temperature S-Curve.

Bread slices illustrating the time/temperature S-Curve.2

There’s a relationship between the time spent in the oven and the moisture of your product. This relationship is best illustrated with what’s known in the industry as thermal profiling, or the S Curve. Here’s the break down:

  • The product goes into the oven.
  • As the oven goes through it’s mechanisms of convection, conduction and radiation, the internal temperature of the product increases.
  • Within the critical change zone, the temperature changes more dramatically, starting with the yeast kill and ending with the crumb set towards the end.

The key with using the S Curve to quantify a quality product is in manipulating the crumb set (or arrival). A faster crumb set may dry out the product, while a delayed crumb set, may be opening the door for microbial spoilage.

The Sweet Spot

A common problem experienced by bakers is over baking. Over baking shortens shelf life and produces a crumbly product. You can prevent over baking by using a thermal profile, and achieving a crumb set of more than 85%.

This can be done by lowering oven temperatures or shortening baking times. If molding is a big issue, use the thermal profile to achieve less than 85% crumb set. This can be achieved by increasing the end zone temperatures or baking time.

Discover how else a thermal profile improves your product!


About the Author:

Lin Carson, PhD
Dr. Lin Carson’s love affair with baking started over 25 years ago when she earned her BSc degree in Food Science & Technology at the Ohio State University. She went on to earn her MSc then PhD from the Department of Grain Science at Kansas State University. Seeing that technical information was not freely shared in the baking industry, Dr. Lin decided to launch BAKERpedia to cover this gap. Today, as the world’s only FREE and comprehensive online technical resource for the commercial baking industry, BAKERpedia is used by over half a million commercial bakers, ingredient sellers, equipment suppliers and baking entrepreneurs annually. You can catch Dr. Lin regularly on the BAKED In Science podcast solving baking problems. For more information on Dr. Lin, subscribe to her "Ask Dr. Lin" YouTube Channel, or follow her on LinkedIn.

One Comment

  1. Waqar Ali March 26, 2017 at 5:38 am - Reply

    Hi Lin,
    I regularly read your posts on Linkedin. I always found your post full of knowledge and very precise.
    I work in a Bakery. I am writing comment here to say you thanks for sharing your knowledge for people like me young learners.
    I wish you all the best for your all project.


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