3 Ways to Tell When Homemade Bread Is Done

updated Dec 18, 2023
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How can you tell if something is done if you can’t take a peek inside while it’s actually cooking? When it comes to bread, there are actually a few ways to make sure your lovely loaf is perfectly baked, every time!

Quick Overview

What Temperature Is Bread Done?

Most breads are ready at 190°. Homemade bread with butter, eggs, or milk is finished when the internal temperature is around 200°.

3 Ways to Tell When Homemade Bread Is Done

Take the Internal Temperature

To see if your bread is done, insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the loaf. (If you go at an angle and through the side or bottom, you can minimize the visual evidence!) Most breads are finished baking at about 190°. Breads enriched with butter, eggs, or milk are finished when the internal temperature is closer to 200°.

Tap the Bottom

Take the loaf out of the oven and turn it upside down, taking it out of the pan if you’re making a sandwich loaf. Give the bottom of the loaf a couple firm taps with your thumb. The bread will sound hollow when it’s done.

If you’re new to this technique, try doing this every five minutes toward the end of baking and you’ll hear how the sound changes.

Color

The more you bake, the more you’ll be able to gauge how a loaf of bread should look when it’s nearing doneness. For the most part, the crust should be dry, very firm, and a deep golden brown color (depending on the variety of bread) with darker spots here and there. If the crust is very pale, give it a few more minutes.

Recipes usually describe how the bread should look at the end of cooking (the good recipes, anyway!), so you can use that as a guide until you’re more familiar with the loaf.

Doneness Tips for Breads

If you’re ever in doubt, it’s better to cook the loaf a little longer than to undercook it. An extra five minutes isn’t going to burn the crust, and the worst that will happen is that your bread will be a bit on the dry side. But better dry than unbaked!

Also, if you’re consistently having trouble with over- or under-baked loaves, check the temperature of your oven with an oven thermometer. If your oven temperature is off, it could be affecting the cooking times of your loaves. You can adjust the temperature gauge yourself, but call a professional if the temperature is inconsistent or off by more than 50 degrees.

How to Tell When Quick Breads Are Done

Got a banana, buttermilk, or other quick bread in the oven? Look for edges that are pulling away from the sides of your pan, a golden color, and internal temperature of 190°. A crack running vertically in the middle of the bread is absolutely okay, but be sure it doesn’t look too wet or runny inside.