An important step towards a successful recipe is to use the right temperature for baking. These instructions never come with the oven user manual and are not always included in the recipe details, but we provide you with essential data about doughs, baking processes and oven temperature settings.
If you followed the recipe step by step, but the final product does not look like what you saw on the net, it means that somewhere between the ball of dough and the cake you put on the plate, that is, when baking, something did not go right. Find out below some essential information about baking and you will improve your results.
Types of dough
The results you rely on when baking various products can be obtained only if you take into account the type of dough you have on the table. Because many recipes are not accurate enough when it comes to indicating the cooking time or temperature, it is very useful to know what you are actually dealing with.
The simplest dough, a classic recipe that everyone can try, is bread dough. It is lighter than sweet dough, but it needs a high temperature to rise. At least in a first stage it is recommended to set a high temperature of 200-210 degrees, even more.
The pastry and puff pastry need about 190-200 degrees to bake well. This is also because during baking they have to release water vapor that lifts the crust and gives it a fluffy, light texture. At the same temperature you can put the biscuit dough in the oven, although some recipes can be completed at lower temperatures (160-170 degrees).
For cake tops, cakes, muffins or tart dough, it is generally recommended to bake at temperatures between 160 and 180 degrees, and this is one of the standard temperatures you will find on many of the oven settings buttons.
Because not all dishes must follow predefined recipes, but can be original and innovative, there are some rules you can use when you do not have a fixed recipe or you simply do not have it at hand.
You can estimate the minimum and maximum baking temperature depending on the proteins, starches and sugars that the composition contains. Loosers such as baking soda and baking powder can act from 70 degrees upwards, so you don't have to worry.
Eggs, with more protein, start the coagulation process at 62 degrees, but because the starch in the flour reacts with the liquids at over 90 degrees, this is the minimum point of the baking process. Sugar, essential in many of the recipes in the oven, begins to caramelize at 140 degrees, but the more abundant it is in the composition, the lower the maximum temperature, because otherwise the product burns. A bread dough, which does not normally have sugar or eggs, will require the highest baking temperature.
The number of processes that a baking dough goes through and, implicitly, the way you set the temperature, depend on the presence of the yeast. The dough that is produced with the help of yeast has an essential beginning stage in the success of the recipe: the increase in volume. In order for this to occur during baking, high temperatures are needed, with the help of which carbon dioxide is released.
Reducing the volume by evaporating the water from the dough results in the liquid passing into the hot atmosphere of the oven. The moisture thus created helps to bake, including through the 'steam' processing effect.
Protein denaturation is what creates the structure of the final composition, by gelling and coagulation. Likewise, the gelatinization of the starch causes the network formed with the preparation of the dough to be completed. Hence the spongy texture, the effect of returning to the original shape of fresh products.
Browning or caramelization gives the pleasant appearance of brown bread or beautifully baked top. Both types of processes (browning in the case of bread and other products, caramelization of sugar-containing pastries) take place at high temperatures, in a dry atmosphere. Microbiological reactions occur at over 90 degrees and consist in the destruction of microorganisms.
During baking, regardless of the heat you set in the oven setting, the internal temperature of the product will not exceed the boiling point of water (100 degrees). Usually, the maximum core temperature reaches 90-97 degrees, and this depends on the size of the piece of dough you bake.
Knowing these temperature differences, you can adjust the settings and baking time according to size and texture. The higher the density of the baking material and the quantity, the greater the temperature differences between the inside and the outside of the product.
Other variations that you have to consider are those given by the way the heat is distributed in the oven, whether it is the vertical distribution (placement at the optimal distance from the heat source), or the horizontal one.
Type of oven
Consider the type of oven to achieve the desired result. Electric ovens have different parameters than gas ones. In the case of electric ovens, the temperature is kept constant (with small oscillations) throughout the baking period. In addition, most electric ovens have an approximately equal distribution of power at the top and bottom. The air distribution system also contributes to the uniform horizontal heat distribution.
In the case of gas supply, whether it is gas cookers or built-in ovens , the temperature varies more and the distribution can be uneven. You will have a strong heat source at the base, but the heat reflected from the sides and ceiling will be less. Some gas ovens tend to accumulate more heat in the front. This creates an uneven environment, which must be controlled by rearrangement.
Move the tray higher and rotate it when necessary; In this way, the dough will penetrate in the same way and the browning / caramelization process will occur evenly over the entire surface.