I keep saying that baking is a science. Who doesn’t love freshly baked bread straight out of the oven? When I started baking bread, I had a hard time telling when it finished baking.
If you are having a hard time as well, you are not alone. No one wants gummy underdone bread. But how exactly can you tell your bread is done without taking a peek inside?
If you are not an experienced baker, telling when the bread is done can be a bit tricky.
However, some good recipes give you a little bit of guidance. As you continue to practice baking, telling when the bread is done will eventually get easier.
You can tell when the bread is done baking by a visual check, a sound test, and a temperature check when baking.
Baking bread is like arms control; trust but verify. You need to use your senses of sound, sight, and smell.
You also have to check the interior temperature of bread since it is the most effective way of checking the doneness of bread.
This article is specifically for yeast bread. For other quick bread-like muffins, you should use the cake method to check whether they are done. Simply dip a toothpick inside the muffin and if it comes out clean, it is done.
When it comes to yeast bread, there are a few ways to ensure that your bread is perfectly baked. One method is, in fact, absolutely foolproof. Here are a few ways to tell if the bread is done.
- The visual check
The more you bake, the easier it gets to tell when the bread is done. Normally, the crust should be very firm and have a deep golden-brown color. It can have a few darker spots here and there. If your crust is pale, let the bread continue baking for a few more minutes.
Some recipes may describe how your bread should look like once you are done cooking. It is completely okay to rely on the recipe until you become more familiar with the bread.
- The soundcheck
I know it sounds strange, but I promise it really works. Simply take your loaf of bread out of the oven and turn it upside down.
Using your thumb, give the bottom of the loaf a firm thump, the same way you would strike a drum. It is similar to tapping a watermelon when you want to find the right one.
If you hear a hollow sound from the center of your loaf, your bread is done. If you have never tried using this technique before, do it every five minutes towards the end of baking. You will realize that sound will change when the bread is done.
- The temperature check
You can tell your bread is done by using an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of your bread. You do not need an expensive thermometer for this.
Simply insert the thermometer into the center of the loaf. Most bread is done baking at a temperature of 190 degrees.
However, if you enriched your bread with milk, butter, or eggs, it will be done when the temperature is 200 degrees.
If the internal temperature says that the bread is done but the crust is still pale, you can put it back in the oven for a few minutes. When in doubt, you can cook the loaf for a little bit longer.
It is better than undercooking it. An extra five minutes won’t burn your crust. Your bread might be just a little dry, but I believe it is better it be a little drier than it is undercooked.
This method is foolproof. The oven temperature, size of the bread, and even type of bread is immaterial.
Thinking of how to know when your banana bread is done? Just try any of these three methods.
Why is my banana bread crumbly?
Bread is supposed to have crumbs, but if it becomes too crumbly, no one enjoys it. Crumbly bread is a common problem, so you are not alone. There are a few things that you may need to change in your recipe to ensure that your banana bread is not crumbly.
Here are a few possible reasons why your banana bread is crumbly and possible solutions.
- Your bread has too much flour
Adding more flour than is needed when kneading dough creates dry bread which will, in turn, produce more crumbs than it should. You should try to find a good balance between the flour and liquids in your recipe.
Always weigh your ingredients instead of just eyeing them and try as much as possible to stick to the measurements in your recipe.
When kneading, your goal should be producing bread dough that has some elasticity and at the same time is not too dry or too wet.
- Your bread has too much yeast
Adding too much yeast to your bread can throw off the balance of gluten, carbon dioxide, and steam needed to make your perfect loaf. Always use the recommended amount of yeast to prevent your bread from getting crumbly.
- Your bread doesn’t have enough salt or fat
These two ingredients are added to bread to control the yeast. Salts and fats specifically slow down the yeast and keep the bread moist.
Not adding enough of it will make your bread dry up. If your bread dries up often, try adding an extra teaspoon of oil and see if it improves the crumb.
- You did not knead your dough enough
Kneading is a very essential step in baking bread. If you knead by hand, try mastering the proper technique and time taken to properly knead your dough.
Most recipes require that you knead for at least 10 minutes. Kneading mixes the ingredients and creates a good structure for the bread.
- You baked the bread at the wrong temperature
If you bake bread for too long, it becomes too dry and this may cause a crumb issue. If your recipe suggests baking at a certain temperature but the bread turns out dry each time, you may need to make some adjustments.
Make sure your oven’s thermostat is not off as this may make you inadvertently overbake your bread. You also need to remember that preheating your oven before baking is crucial. So always pre-heat your oven.
- Your bread did not cool before slicing
When you remove your bread from the oven, it is most likely still baking inside. The crust traps enough steam inside the loaf which allows it to continue working its magic and create a great crumb.
If you slice the bread before it cools down, your bread will most definitely be drier than it would have been if you had let it cool down.
Allow your bread to rest for some time before slicing. Additionally, use the right type of knife to slice it in order to reduce tearing and crumbs.
- You did not store it properly
You need to keep in mind that homemade bread does not have preservatives like the ones we buy at the grocery store. For this reason, proper storage is very important. If you don’t store it properly, it will become dry and crumbly.
Store the bread that you will eat within a day or two in a bread box or airtight container. If you made more than you can consume in two days, freeze it. Simply wrap the bread in plastic and seal it inside a plastic freezer bag then place it in the freezer.
Bread thaws in approximately one hour and it will be just as moist as the day you baked it. However, do not thaw the bread in the microwave as it will make it dry out and produce a lot of crumbs.
How to fix wet banana bread
I’m pretty sure we have all made banana bread that turned out wet at some point.
Using too much banana than is required in your recipe can make your banana bread wet in the middle.
This makes your banana bread appear undercooked and unappealing. Additionally, not using enough flour will also make your banana bread wet.
In order to fix it you can try tenting it with tin foil and place it in the middle rack of your oven. Lowe the temperature to 330 degrees and let it bake for a few minutes.
Placing it in the middle rack will ensure that the top and bottom of the bread do not burn. It slows down the browning.
Why is my banana bread gummy?
We all want our banana bread to be light and fluffy when it comes out of the oven. The perfect batter is key to perfect banana bread. Once you add all your ingredients, you need to mix them so that all of them are incorporated. However, you need to be careful not to overmix the batter.
The more you mix the batter, the more gluten develops. Gluten is great for all yeast-risen chewy loaves but is not so good for banana bread.
If you overmix your batter, you will end up with dense and gummy banana bread. Do not spend too much time mixing your batter. Just stir until it is moist.