The oven is perhaps the most critical step in the baking process. So it’s important to get it right to avoid waste or a low quality product. For a precise bake, you need to understand the three crucial oven zones:
- Oven Spring: This must be manipulated to reach a yeast kill by 50% of the baking cycle. A fast yeast kill means the end of fermentation, so there is less oven spring. A quick yeast kill will give you more control over the height of your product.
- Critical Change: Starch gelatinizes and protein denatures in this zone, releasing water. It’s where your dough turns into delicious bread.
- Crumb Set: This one is all about baking out the water and creating the texture. Increasing time in this zone will dry up the crumb of your product.
How do you know if you’re hitting the mark of a good bake?
A thermal profile! Let’s look at a common problem experienced by bakers: over baking. It shortens shelf life and produces a crumbly product. You can prevent this by using a thermal profile to track your baking zones, and see if you’re achieving a crumb set of more than 85%.
Then, you can lower oven temperatures or shorten time in the oven to get the optimal bake!