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Because bread is basically brick sized and shaped, it'll take a long time to get cooked properly.

Assuming I don't care about the shape, does it make sense to cut the bread dough into small pieces and then place them all separately on the baking sheet?

How much cooking time reduction should I expect? Do I need to take care of anything else in this case?

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3 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Smaller breads are usually called rolls or sometimes buns. There are also a lot of names for specific kinds of rolls, beyond obvious things like "sourdough rolls".

You can certainly take an existing recipe and just form in to more, smaller pieces, and reducing baking time. They'll look funny if you just cut it into pieces, though; you should reform them into something rounder.

It's hard to say exactly how much less baking time it'll take, since it depends on exactly how small you make them. It might be anywhere from roughly a quarter to half the original baking time, and especially for smaller rolls with shorter baking times, you'd probably want to increase the temperature so they'll still brown by the time they're done. Very small ones will be on the low end of the time range, and need more increase in temperature; larger ones will take longer and not need as much temperature increase.

Given all that, you might want to just look for a recipe for rolls that suits you. Simpler, less chance of messing up!

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Thanks for mentioning the new words "rolls and buns". Will look in Google. But anyways, if I make them the size of cup cakes, can I assume the "time" for cupcakes? Means 10 minutes? Or in any case it is going to be baked for a long duration as compared to cup cakes? –  TheIndependentAquarius Feb 28 '13 at 5:42
    
@AnishaKaul If they're that small, yes, maybe ten minutes and increase the temperature by 50-75 degrees, but I'd really recommend just finding a recipe and avoiding the uncertainty. To some extent you can get away with it by just checking on them until they're done, but still, it'll just be a lot easier with a recipe. –  Jefromi Feb 28 '13 at 5:46
    
Ok, I should keep cake temperature "plus" 50-75 degree. –  TheIndependentAquarius Feb 28 '13 at 5:48
    
When both of you are talking about 50-70 degrees, are you meaning Celsius or Fahrenheit? –  J.A.I.L. Feb 28 '13 at 9:10
    
@J.A.I.L. I am talking about Celsius. :) –  TheIndependentAquarius Feb 28 '13 at 9:29
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The precise time when any (wheat) bread is done is when its center reaches 94℃ (~201℉). That works independently of its size and shape.

The longer a bread needs to be baked depends mainly on its shape: a dough with its center farer from its surface will need more time for the heat to go over that distance. The heat from the oven will need more time to heat the center up to those 94℃.

Baking time also depends on the size, albeit less than on the shape. If you put a 1 kg dough in a hot oven it will need more time to heat it than a 1/2 kg one.


Please don't get offended if I disagree with your statement: "bread is basically brick sized and shaped". But there are really many different sizes and shapes for stuff people understand as bread. Just two examples on French common ones:

  • Boule

    enter image description here

    (Source: Wikipedia)

    Boule, which means ball in French, are traditional French bread round shaped, and are not strange to weight something between 1/2 and 2 Kg.

  • Baguette

    enter image description here

    (Source: Wikipedia)

    Baguette, which means little rod in French, is probably the most well known French bread but, surprisingly is not traditional: it was invented less than 100 years ago as a mean of making bread quickly.

A 1 kg boule needs something about 1 hour baking, while 4 baguettes of 250 gr need less than 1/2 hour (despite been the same mass in the oven).

I chose those two because they are extreme examples: a sphere can be proved mathematically to have its center farer from its surface than any other solid of the same volume. Rod shaped or flat breads will have it's center closer to their surface than other shapes. So shape matters more than size.


You can use both variables to bake bread in less time: small (I.E: 100 gr) and not round buns will need least time to be ready. Probably less than 15 minutes. But notice they will also go stale faster once out of the oven, as air will also reach the center sooner, and dry it quicker.

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"Please don't get offended if I disagree with your statement: "bread is basically brick sized and shaped"." There isn't any reason to get offended, the brick shaped bread is the only bread that me and my family have seen in India. –  TheIndependentAquarius Feb 28 '13 at 11:38
    
+1 for math :-) I should point out that I do have some recipes for yeast raised breads (from reputable sources--King Arthur Flour) where the final internal temperature is 195 F (appx 90.5 C), but these are probably the exception rather than the rule. Baking most yeast raised breads to 198-200 F internal temp AS @J.A.I.L indicates is probably a good bet, if the recipe does not give you more specific guidance. I never liked the "thump test" myself, where you thump the bottom and a "hollow" sound is supposed to indicate doneness. –  SAJ14SAJ Feb 28 '13 at 12:52
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@AnishaKaul I would think nan is also a good example of a bread that's not brick shaped. If you combine both approaches, making your bread in smaller, single serving sizes, and also modify the shape for faster baking, the ultimate result would likely be similar to nan or pita bread (or, I suppose, bread sticks, if you go with a baguette shape). –  Theodore Murdock Mar 2 '13 at 2:05
    
JAIL Thanks for the detailed answer. –  TheIndependentAquarius Mar 2 '13 at 4:00
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It'll work fine. The only thing is that if you just cut the dough into random chunks, your finished rolls will look irregular; you might want to look up some instructions on how to shape rolls (it's easy enough to do but a bit difficult to explain).

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While this is true and, actually, a good comment on the question, it should've been posted as that (a comment), and not as an answer. –  J.A.I.L. Mar 1 '13 at 7:36
    
@J.A.I.L. I don't see why this should be a comment. Yes, the other answers give much more information (and it is your right to downvote if you think this answer is wrong or does not bring any new information). But the OP asked whether it would work and the user answered "yes", so it is an answer, even if its quality is not stellar. –  rumtscho Mar 1 '13 at 10:33
    
Agree. +1 for not deserving -1. –  Henrik Söderlund Mar 1 '13 at 13:20
    
@HenrikSöderlund Rumtscho in fact said that you should downvote if it's wrong or doesn't add new information, i.e. it's not useful like the hover text says. –  Jefromi Mar 3 '13 at 1:00
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