When you bake a loaf of bread, you want it to turn out perfect. Part of this process is making sure that the bread is finished baking, the yeast has risen, etc.. It can be hard to tell without getting inside of the loaf, but cutting it open will ruin it. Fortunately, there are a few ways to tell if bread is baked just right each time you make it.
Look at it Closely
The first way to tell if your bread is finished baking is to take a close look at it. When you check on it, you want to see that the crust is dry, very firm, and it should be a golden brown color. It might have a few darker spots on it. If you see that the crust is pale, you should bake it for a little more time. Your recipe will probably tell you what your bread should look like when it is ready.
In addition, you will often see a large crack running down the center of the bread. The inside of this crack should also be dry and firm. If it is wet, it needs more time. You will see that the sides are starting to pull away from the pan as well. Even if you plan to use additional tips to make sure that the bread is finished baking, it should look the part as well.
Tap the Bottom of the Pan
When you think the bread is finished baking, take the pan out of the oven. Turn it over and let the bread come out onto a board or plate. You can tap the bottom to let it slip out. It should slip out easily and not remain stuck to the pan. Now you can tap the bottom of the loaf, and it should feel firm and be hollow. If it is not, you need to let it bake a little bit longer.
Take the Temperature of the Bread
For this method, you will need to have an instant read thermometer. You can take it and stick it into the center of the loaf. You might want to go in at an angle through the side or the bottom so that it doesn’t show. Normally, the bread will be finished when it is about 190 degrees Fahrenheit, and if it is enriched with milk, butter, or eggs, it will be closer to 200 degrees.
If you aren’t sure about it, you should bake it a little bit longer. You can keep an eye on it to make sure that it doesn’t burn, and it is better if it is a little bit over baked than if it is underbaked. If you have trouble with this method, you might want to check to make sure that your oven has an accurate temperature. You can use an oven thermometer to make sure. If it is off, you can make the appropriate adjustments, but you may need to call for service if it is off by too much.
Homemade bread is especially delicious when it is fresh out of the over, but it is important to know when it is ready. Once you have some experience, you will have an easier time knowing if it is ready by looking at it. You need to make sure that it is a golden color and the crust should be firm. It may have a crease down the center, but it should be firm as well.
If your bread is still wet or too soft, it is likely not finished baking. You can put it back into the oven and watch it to make sure that you don’t over bake it. Tapping on the bottom of the loaf should produce a hollow sound. This is another way to make sure that it is baked all the way through. If you still aren’t sure, you can check the internal temperature with a thermometer.