How To Know If Your Bread Is Properly Cooked

Homemade bread
It's so frustrating when you cut into a loaf of bread and discover that it is undercooked in the middle.

Yuck.

To avoid this catastrophe, it's worth having some know-how on the subject.

In this article, I share two very simple insights into knowing whether your bread is fully cooked, or whether you should pop it back in the oven for ten minutes.

Two Tests For Cooked-ness

There are two key things that tell you whether your bread is ready or not.

Please note, these two things are over and above the facts that:

  • Fully cooked bread will be beautifully browned
  • Fully cooked bread smells delicious.

If you haven't got the browning and the fresh-bread smell, you're not up to the stage of testing for cooked-ness. (Pop the bread back in the oven and be patient for another few minutes.)

When the bread is looking and smelling nice, and the allotted cooking-time has (near-as-dammit) passed, you can use these two simple checks.

1. Detachability

Properly cooked bread is easy to detach from the tray or tin.

Rolls that are fully cooked will prize off the tray with little effort.

A fully cooked loaf will tip easily out of the loaf pan.

If you can't detach your bread from its container without breaking it, the chances are it needs a bit longer in the oven.

Continue baking it for a further 5-10 minutes.

2. Hollowness

If only you knew how long I have spent trying to record the sound of cooked bread!
Cooked bread sounds hollow when you knock on its base.

I would love to post a couple of sound clips here, saying, "This is cooked... and this is uncooked!" but, alas, my recording equipment isn't up to the task - I only succeeded in producing a laughable demonstration that both cooked and uncooked loaves sound exactly the same. I wonder, if I get my recording-studio friends to tape the sounds for me, whether anyone's computer speakers would be up to rendering the difference?!

The best I can say to you is this: Compare the sound of knocking on a big, empty, wooden box with the sound of knocking on a small, cardboard box stuffed with cotton wool.

Cooked bread has a satisfying resonance, whereas undercooked bread produces only a dull thud.

Ready to try?

If you're still missing out on wonderful, homemade bread, and need any further convincing that it really is easy to achieve, read my guide to Freshly Baked Bread in 20 Minutes, which will show you how to make your own bread for lunch, even if it's 11.30 already and you've only just thought of it. 

3 comments:

  1. Hi
    The way I was taught to make sure bread was cooked after the allotted cooking time was to get the same hollow knocking sound when knocking your cooked bread as you would get if you knocked on your head. It has worked over and over again. My mom always made bread and I continued with that same formula to this day and my 3 children have flown the nest and know that technique.
    Hope that helps.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi
    The way I was taught to make sure bread was cooked after the allotted cooking time was to get the same hollow knocking sound when knocking your cooked bread as you would get if you knocked on your head. It has worked over and over again. My mom always made bread and I continued with that same formula to this day and my 3 children have flown the nest and know that technique.
    Hope that helps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that image of you all knocking on your heads! (I'm trying it now!) Thanks!

      Delete