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How to cook home made bread in the oven

Your dough is kneaded and has risen and your oven is hot: it´s time to put the bread in the oven! Here are some tips for successful home-made bread.

Your oven must be hot. Generally cooking takes place at around 250°C or gas mark 8 for small loaves. The bigger the loaf of bread, the lower the cooking temperature. It should not burn on the outside before the temperature inside the bread is high enough to cook the dough.

Preheat your oven long enough for the walls to have accumulated enough heat to be able to restore it. Keep the fall in temperature due to opening the oven door to a minimum. If you are using a stone floor, it must also be very hot, and depending on its thickness, it can take longer to heat than the oven.

In practice
When the temperature at the heart of the bread reaches 50°C, the enzymes are killed.
At 80°C, the gas bubbles form and the bread rises.
Once it reaches 100°C, the inside dries. The crust is close to 200°C and caramelises.

To get a nice crust, you need to moisten the atmosphere in the oven. Steam plays an important part in this. Professionals inject it before putting the bread in the oven, but in a household oven, you can place a wide dish of water at the bottom of the oven to make steam. This moisture prevents the surface of the dough from drying out. It delays the formation of the crust, making it thinner and shinier. A surface that remains soft for longer will not tear. The steam limits the water evaporation at the heart and your bread will keep for longer.

A few more tips:

The slashes
By making incisions on the top of the bread, it prevents it from bursting and allowing the gases to escape. This crusty ridge gets baked more and it has a nice taste of toast.

Adjust the temperature
Preheat your oven to a high temperature: yes. The bread must brown at the start of the cooking. However, when you taste it, if you find that it is too cooked on the outside and not enough inside, then the oven was too hot. Adjust your thermostat the next time, turning it down by 10 degrees. If, on the contrary, it is well cooked, but the crust is not golden enough, do the opposite. It is inadvisable to open the oven to check the baking by putting the tip of a knife into the bread, for example: you will make the temperature fall too quickly and disturb the baking process.

Cut off the fan
Fan-assisted or other ventilation systems can have negative effects on cooking bread. Firstly, because they dry out the surface and tend to make the crust burn and secondly because there is a thin layer of air that is less hot than the air in the oven that ""insulates"" the food. With fan ovens, the air that touches the bread is the same as that in the oven: the surface cooks more quickly.

Leave it to sweat after cooking.
If you put your bread in the oven on a flat surface that does not let air through, then the crust may become stiff. The same thing happens after cooking: stand your bread on a grill so that it can ""sweat"".
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