What is Oven Temperature?
Oven temperature is one of the key baking parameters. It can be measured, modified, and controlled in order to influence process conditions directly, thereby affecting a product’s final characteristics.
Heat in transferred from the oven to the baked good by the following mechanisms, depending on the type of oven:
- Conduction heat
- Convection heat
- Radiation heat
Why is oven temperature important?
Oven temperature causes physical transitions and chemical reactions to take place in the dough/batter. The following stages are temperature-dependent, and participate in the sequential transformation of bread dough.1
1. Development (also known as oven spring)
As temperature increases, the free water/alcohol mixture in the product vaporizes, fermentation gases (CO2) dissolved in the liquid dough phase become less soluble, and are released into the cells, causing them to expand in response to the rise in pressure.
As a result, cells increase in volume by retaining gases due to their deformable nature as these are surrounded by the continuous gluten/starch soft matrix. This results in a large reduction in the density of the dough as the product gradually develops an aerated structure. Note that the size to which the gas bubbles can grow is limited by the ability of the gluten/starch film surrounding them to stretch without rupturing.
In this stage, the product undergoes a series of irreversible chemical and physical transformations. Oven spring is accompanied by the following changes and conditions:
- Killing of yeast cells at 50–60°C (122–140°F)
- Maximum enzymatic activity at 60°C (140°F). The enzyme-driven reactions that convert starch into sugars and break proteins into amino acids increase with heat, so they increase most near the dough surface.
- Starch gelatinization. It starts at 55–65°C (130–150°F) as granules become fully swollen with local free water.
- Denaturation of gluten proteins at 50°C (122°F) and coagulation at 70–80°C (160–180°F). As a consequence, gluten becomes increasingly tough and stiff as it irreversibly forms a gel.
- Above 85°C (185°F), starch looks glassy, and gluten looks rubbery. This is the start of the dough-crumb transition process (setting).
- Inactivation of naturally-occurring and added enzymes inside the dough (70–85°C) (160–185°F).
2. Drying (reduction of dough/batter moisture)
- Under the action of the heat transfer mechanisms, high temperatures develop inside the baking chamber (200–300°C) (390–570°F), and water molecules at the dough surface absorb latent...