I can't brown in my oven.

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by reyesryanmjaube, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. reyesryanmjaube

    reyesryanmjaube

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    Ok, I searched 'artisan bread' recipe in the net. I have tried to do so far but aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalways, I can't seem to brown my bread. Twice this had happened. Also on pizza doughs, they all look pale. I tried cooking em longer but the bottom crust just burns even if I put them in the middle rack. I want to make some good bread for my mom but I cant seem tog et it :( 
     
  2. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    It's hard to say, without knowing your procedure and recipe. But at a guess, I'd say you're probably working at too low a temperature.

    Browning is actually a caramelization process. Natural sugars in the dough rise to the surface, and the heat caramelizes them.

    You can also promote browning by brushing the dough with various ingredients: milk, olive oil, egg wash, etc. Each of them brings a different depth of color and tone to the crust, so it pays to experiment.

    Anyway, if you let us know exactly what you're doing we might be in a better position to help.
     
  3. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Whats the total volume of your oven chamber.  When my oven at 5500 cubic inch capacity was swapped out with one having 8500 cubic inch capacity, foods never browned as well and I needed to increase the bread baking temperature from 450F to 550F (for part of the bake time) in order to get things to brown properly.  This assumes an electric oven.

    Methinks that with a smaller oven capacity, browing improves.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2011
  4. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Did you stop and wonder if in fact your thermostat is not off or broken???
     
  5. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    It's not a bad idea to check your oven temperatures. Easy and cheap to perform; get yourself an oventhermometer and check.

    Don't use a meat thermometer like I did... yeah, I did.
     
  6. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    I agree on the oven temp check. Our oven was giving us problems and we adjusted the temp.
     
  7. siduri

    siduri

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    Either the oven is not heating enough (thermostat broken) or possibly you aren't pre-heating enough.  you need to preheat enough to get the oven to the temperature you need for the recipe. 

    One way to get a nice crust, in any case, is to use the cast iron pot that you heat up in the oven an hour before baking - put the bread in it and cover, and it makes a wonderful crackly crust. 
     
  8. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Put some sugar on a piece of aluminum foil, put in oven at 400*  see if it carmelizes or burns in 7 minutes.
     
  9. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    I've read at TheFreshLoaf.com that there as some home bakers who bake their loaves in a Romertoff (sp?), sort of a ceramic dutch oven and it gives a very delightful crust.
     
  10. reyesryanmjaube

    reyesryanmjaube

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    This is the only example I have. I have another one but the picture is very dark. 

    [​IMG]

    Those are actually cream puffs. I didn't brush them with anything. The bread I made was paler than this. The recipe I used for the bread I was talking about was 300g flour, 3/4 cups water yeast and salt. Baked until brown in 220c but... it didn't brown. The flour dusting on top of the bread did not brown at all but the ones on the pan DID brown and almost burned. 

    The size of our oven is 90cm. There's no digital thermostat, just a knob that indicates the temp. I'm actually eying on buying an in-oven thermometer but so far, all of my baked goods turns out fine, except for browned breads. 

    If someone can give me a recipe for a good bread (just a small yielding recipe please) then please go ahead. I will try it ASAP and post here the results.
     
  11. dcarch

    dcarch

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    How to check oven (or refrigerator) temperature:

    Get a few identical glass or metal containers and fill them up with equal amounts of oil. Place them in different locations inside your oven.

    Set the temperature. Wait about 30 minutes and check the temperature with a thermometer of each of the containers. You will find out how accurate and how even your oven temperature is.

    Or get a remote read IR thermometer ( some are about $35.00). You can read surface temperature from a distance.

    dcarch
     
  12. apprentichef

    apprentichef

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    Those look tasty. It could just be a case of not cooking them long enough, or as mentioned above, not preheating enough. You will always want to heat your oven for at least 20 minutes before dropping in your bread/pizza/whatever. I normally go 40+ minutes. Always use a seperate internal oven thermometer because ovens will lie to you.
     
  13. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    When I pade pate a choux (cream puff dough) that were baked in a gas oven, the puffs turned out much yellower/browner than yours.

    Also which kind of flour did you use:
    1. high in starch/low in protein?  (like cake/pastry flour and also Swan's Down?)
    2. low in starch/high in protein?  (like AP or bread flour)? 
    Dough/s browning can depend on starch content.  And low protein flours are usually high in starch, like cake and pastry flour.  Here in America you can get either one including a high starch flour that's called Swan's Down.

    Here in the deep south, southeast Georgia, I get a flour that's really high in starch and low in protein: White Lily Flour, the light baking flour.  It's protein content is 2g/serving whereas all-purpose flour usually clocks in at 4g/serving.  The former being higher in starch than the latter and the former seems to brown better.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
  14. reyesryanmjaube

    reyesryanmjaube

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    I think it doesn't have to do anything to do with the flour I'm using cause it happens almost every time. But yeah, I used plain bread flour :)
     
  15. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Trust me It's not the flour.
     
  16. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I vote with Ed on this. It's not the flour.
    [*]Reyesryanmjaube, tell us more about the pate choux. Was it cooked through, light, and airy? Only the color being off? [*] [*]Pate choux is typically baked at high heat, both to affect the puffiness and to create a beautiful golden-brown color. A typical baking procedure would be to start at 425F, then, after a period of time, lower the temp to 375F. If your oven isn't reaching, and maintaining those temps, lack of color could easily be a result. [*] [*]Brushing the puffs with milk before baking will help the color develop. But, at base, I really think you need to check your oven temperatures. In home ovens the actual temperature vs. what the knob says can often vary by as much as 25 degrees. Add another 25 degrees for the cycling range, and you could be significantly off. [*] [*]Ideally, you'll get a couple of oven thermometers (they're only a couple of bucks each) and measure the temperature in several places, as there often are hot and/or cold spots as well. [*] 
     
  17. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    I partly disagree.  IT COULD BE THE FLOUR.  Why do you think that white bread toasts faster therefore easier that whole wheat flour/bagel flour when placed in the toaster??????

    And yes, it could be the baking temperatures as well.
     
  18. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Does it really, Kokopuffs? It's not something I ever paid much attention to. I imagine if there is a difference, though, it's just a matter of seconds??

    I have a bagels setting on my toaster, which automatically effects the strength and direction of the heat, so that wouldn't count in making a comparison. One of these days I'll have to put a slice each of white and wheat in mine to see if there's a difference.

    However, assuming your point is valid (and I have no reason to believe otherwise), we aren't comparing various finished breads. The expressed problem is that no bread browns in that particular oven. And the OP is using standard bread flour each time. Being as all other things are effectively equal, there are only three ways to increase the crust color: 1. Brush on a coating (milk, egg wash, oil, etc.); 2. increase the heat; or, 3. increase the length of baking time.

    Numbers 1 and 3 can have other effects on the finished product, beyond merely darkening the surface. And, from what I gather, proven recipes are being used each time. If that's true, the breads should brown with no problem. Which is why my best guess is that the oven temperature is not what the OP thinks it is.

    Choice of flour can certainly affect the finished product. For instance, we wouldn't want to use bread flour for making biscuits. And all-purpose usually is a better choice for pate choux. But those have other effects. The final products should still have a browned surface. For instance, using bread flour to make biscuits would result in a beautiful, golden-brown hockey puck.
     
  19. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    I respectfully disagree with the temperature variation. In my experience as a personal chef, residential oven can vary as much as 150°F from the thermostat setting, whether gas or electric, 25°F is optimistic at best!

    Part of my initial assessment for a new client is creating a calibration chart for their oven(s) and it is a RARE situation that the thermostat and actual oven temperature are close, let alone spot on.

    Before attempting any changes to recipes, ingredients, or techniques, spend a few $$$ and get an oven thermometer, generally they cost around $3 to $5 at the outside.

    Once you have an oven thermometer, make a calibration chart  so you can quickly determine what setting will result in the desired temperature
     
  20. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    150 degrees, Pete? I'd suggest that if an oven was that far off there's more than calibration involved. Either the thermostat is broke, or something else is out of whack.

    But even if you take my figures as a "best case" scenario, a typical oven can still be way off. Let's say it's running 25 degrees cool. That means at the bottom of its cycle it will be 50 degrees low. Quite ironic when you hear people arguing whether 325 vs 350 is the best temperature for a particular dish.

    The important point that we're both making, however, is that any resemblence to the theromstat setting and the actual temperature is purely coincidental. Using thermometers that measure the real temperature should be the first thing a baker does. And, as I noted above, because most ovens have hot- and cold-spots, several thermometers make sense.