I followed the basic recipe from the Good Housekeeping Cookbook for basic bread. After the first proofing, I baked it in a loaf pan at 400F for 30 mins. The bread turned out flat and burnt at the bottom. What am I doing?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Mien, KatieK, user18453, SAJ14SAJ, derobert Apr 10 '14 at 16:58

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  • 1
    Without knowing the recipe, it is hard to know what has gone wrong. – razumny Feb 10 '14 at 8:12
  • Measuring by time is basically wrong. The error is frequently not large enough to matter (especially with breads), but it seems that this time it mattered. The answer "how long" is "until it is done", this can be recognized by sight, sound or internal temperature, and the actual time will vary for each loaf. – rumtscho Feb 10 '14 at 11:19
  • possible duplicate of How can you know that your bread is done? – Mien Feb 11 '14 at 9:45
  • What is the main problem? That it is flat, that it burnt or that you don't know how long to bake it? – Mien Feb 11 '14 at 9:45
  • 400F is too high for most breads, it will burn the outside before the inside cooks. Try 350 instead. – GdD Feb 11 '14 at 11:09

There are a few rules I follow - but sadly bread does vary depending on water content, room temperature etc.

  • If making smaller loaves or rolls - the time is greatly reduced.
  • Making the oven extra hot before loaf goes in and then reducing heat helps get a nice crust.
  • Adding a cup of boiling water into the oven also helps with the crust
  • I use generally use a fan oven and rotate the bread part way through cooking

  • Take bread out early - tap the bread - it should sound hollow if cooked.

  • Cook in the middle of the oven not on the bottom shelf.

Sorry I can not offer more detail - but it does tend to be a more of a trial and error process - and I am not sure what type of oven you are using.

I was advised by a baker - trial and error and take notes - do not change to much ant any one time!

  • Interesting ... I was taught the opposite about when to put the bread into the oven. Insert before the oven is up to temp (+ boiling water or ice cubes) gives the yeast a little more time to do their thing, leads to more rising, and then at the end a nice crackly crust. I'll have to try it this other way now. – zoned post meridiem Feb 10 '14 at 1:29
  • Regarding the water - i think ice will also work well - it is simply creating a burst of stream that helps create the crust. On bakers ovens they seem to have a button that sends a jet of steam into the oven once the door is closed. – BillyBigPotatoes Feb 10 '14 at 10:48

Assuming this recipe is for a basic US style sandwich loaf--white bread slightly enriched with butter and milk--then it is going to be done when the internal temperature, as measured with a probe thermometer through the bottom crust (so as to avoid marring the appearance with the thermometer hole) is approximately 190 F.

In comparing to what I imagine is a similar King Arthur recipe, the baking temperature of 400 F seems quite high, which may explain your burned crust.

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