What temperature do you bake bread at? While you don’t need a science degree to bake bread at home, knowing what the best temperature for baking bread is and how to choose the right oven temperature for your type of bread will help you achieve the best possible bake.
There is no right or wrong answer to this question because the temperature to cook bread is determined in part by how you like your bread – crusty, soft, pale, or crunchy – and in part by ensuring that the bread is baked through.
Based on this, the oven temperature (for a domestic oven) can range between 160 and 260 degrees Celsius (320 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit).
What distinguishes bread baking from cake baking
During my bread baking classes, I’m frequently asked this question because, in my opinion, people understand cake baking and cooking in general and believe that bread follows the same principles.
This means that you must be very careful when selecting the right temperature for cake, pies, and meat, or you may end up with a bit of a cooking disaster on your hands.
However, guess what?
Bread baking is a completely different animal, and some baking principles learned while baking cakes will not apply to bread baking.
What Temperature Do You Bake Bread At?
At what temp do you bake bread? My simplified response to the correct oven temperature for rustic bread usually goes something like this:
Preheat your oven to the highest setting, bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature depending on how quickly your bread browns (and how brown you want it) and continue baking.
See, not a very scientific answer, but I believe it gives people more confidence in bread baking and more trust in themselves to know what temperature their oven should be when they bake their own bread at home.
As I mentioned earlier, the oven temperature is partly determined by whether you prefer your bread crusty or soft, and partly by ensuring that the oven temperature is high enough to bake the bread through. The oven temperature for this can range from 160-260C (320-500F).
To reassure you, industrial baking ovens can reach temperatures of 350 C or 660 F, demonstrating that the top range of bread baking temperature is determined more by the manufacturer of your oven than by what temperature the bread should be baked at.
If you want your bread to be crusty, bake it at a higher temperature; if you prefer softer bread all around, bake it at a lower temperature.
You can bake the same bread dough in different ways and it will still bake as long as the oven temperature is at least 160 degrees Celsius (320F).
I think people get too caught up in testing and measuring temperatures at various stages of bread baking and forget about basic common sense and the fact that people baked decent bread without modern ovens and digital thermometers 100 or 200 years ago.
Quick tip for determining the proper oven temperature
The lower the temperature should be, the more ingredients you have in your bread recipe, so you don’t burn or overbake the extra ingredients (such as eggs, butter, sugar, dried fruit, milk, seeds, cheese, meat, sun dried tomatoes etc.)
To make a crusty loaf
If you want a crusty loaf, bake at a higher temperature for 5-10 minutes, then reduce to a lower temperature depending on the color.
To make soft bread
If you want soft bread, bake it at a much lower and consistent temperature (don’t start at a higher temperature and then lower it later).
To conserve energy while baking
If you already have something in the oven and want to bake bread at the same time (either because you don’t have time to bake separately or because you want to save time and energy), add the bread in and bake it at the temperature for your other dish (for example, if you are roasting potatoes at 220C, the temperature is hot enough for the bread to rise and bake).
All of that being said, let me walk you through a basic guide for oven temperatures for different types of bread that I’ve tested over the years of home baking bread.
Bread rolls – for crusty rolls
For the first 10 minutes, use the highest oven setting (240 – 250 C or 460 – 500 F) and then reduce to 180 C or 200 C (or 350 – 400 F) (depending on how brown you want your bread rolls crust to be).
Brioche, Hot Cross Buns, Panetonne, and other enriched doughs
While you can bake the enriched dough at higher temperatures like a regular artisan bread, the crust will be much darker than you prefer.
This is primarily due to the additional ingredients found in enriched dough (primarily sugar, butter, eggs, milk, and dried fruit), which do not tolerate high temperatures.
This means that baking enriched dough at a lower temperature (160 – 180 C or 320-350F) will yield better results, resulting in a beautiful golden soft crust when finished baking.
Bake for 5-10 minutes at the highest oven setting (250C – 260C or 480 – 500F) for a crusty thin base finish (typically Italian style pizza with thin base) or at the lowest setting (180-200 C or 350-280F) for a softer crust (usually American style pizza with thick base or cheese filled crust).
Non-yeasted breads, also known as easy breads raised with baking powder or baking soda, are baked in a slightly different manner than yeasted breads.
I always say that because we used baking powder or soda, we should treat these breads like a cake! This means using lower and more consistent temperatures in this case (usually around 180C or 350 F).
This also means that, unlike yeasted breads, you should not open the oven door while baking these breads because they may deflate.
Bread made from spelt, rye, or buckwheat
Because these breads are typically baked in a large bread tin, a slightly lower temperature of 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit is preferred.