How to Tell if Bread is Done

There is nothing quite like the smell of homemade bread baking in the oven or bread machine (which, by the way, are a totally great investment if you’re an avid bread maker). But overbaked and underbaked bread can only lead to heartache and disappointment. 

That said, it’s pivotal that you know when your bread is done. The good news is that there are three easy ways to tell whether or not your bread is done. 

Checking with a thermometer is the best way to determine doneness, although you can also perform the “tap check” or look for visual cues like a golden appearance and pulling away from the sides of the pan.

Howdy, bread lovers! If we haven’t met yet, my name is Michelle, and I’ve been whipping up loaves of bread in my kitchen for years. It’s one of my passions – even though it can be a little tricky sometimes, especially when it comes to determining “doneness.”

Today, I’m going to share my top four ways to tell if bread is done.

5 Ways to Tell if Bread is Done

Bread-baking can be difficult in many ways, from the proofing process to the baking and everything in between.

But I’m here to help make your life easier. I’ve found four foolproof ways to determine whether or not your bread is done – you know, so you don’t end up chowing down on some under or overcooked bread; yuck!

Here are my four methods for success!

1. Reads 190F to 210F

I’ve said it once, and I will say it again – if you enjoy baking bread, you need a bread-baking thermometer. These thermometers are designed for instant read action, so you spend less time with the oven door open and more time getting results. 

To use your instant-read bread thermometer, simply stick it into the middle of your bread. Yeast loaves should be anywhere from 200F to 210F, while softer bread types will be slightly lower at 190F to 200F.

2. Golden brown crust

Another great way to check for bread doneness is to give it a good look. When the bread is done, it will have a delightfully golden crust with a few dark spots. You know what I’m talking about – that perfect, inviting hue that makes you want to dive right in! 

Tip: Most recipes will share how the bread should look when it’s done baking. Always rely on the recipe for the best results!

3. Pulls away from the pan

Take a look at the loaf pan. Is the bread still hugging the sides, or has it successfully pulled away? Bread that’s pulled away from the sides of the loaf pan has completed its baking cycle and is likely ready to be removed from the oven.

4. Sounds hollow

The final way to check if your bread is done is to use the “tap test.” This is a very accurate and pretty fun way to determine doneness.

To perform the tap test, simply give your loaf of bread a gentle tap. If it sounds hollow, then it’s done. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!

5. Bonus – clean toothpick check

Most people reserve the “toothpick check” for when they’re baking cakes or cupcakes, but it can also be used for baking bread.

The toothpick check is the same whether you’re baking cakes, cupcakes, or loaves of bread. Simply push the toothpick into the middle of the bread. If the toothpick comes out clean – or with just a few moist crumbs – it’s good to go!

How to Tell if Bread is Undercooked

Undercooked bread is not appetizing and will likely get thrown out. That’s why it is imperative to be able to tell if your bread is undercooked before pulling it out of the oven. There are two tall-tell signs that your bread isn’t entirely done yet. 

1. Still Looks and Feels Dough-y

Bread that’s not done cooking will have a dough-like appearance. It may resemble the bread dough entirely or have a few spots that still look wet and gooey. If you notice any of these wet spots, allow your bread to keep baking.

Not sure if your eyes are deceiving you? Then go ahead and touch your loaf of bread. A loaf that’s done will be firm. An undercooked loaf will be soggy, spongy, and generally soft.

2. Pale Color

A gorgeous crust is one of the perks of homemade bread. So, if your bread is still looking a little pale, it’s best to keep it baking for a few more minutes. While you don’t want to overbake your loaf, overbaking is better than underbaking. With that in mind, if you’re unsure, keep it in the oven!

FAQs

There you have it – the top four ways to tell if bread is done (plus a handy bonus technique you’ll likely use!). While I have likely answered your prying questions already, I wanted to add a few other frequently asked questions to help you. Here we go!

How do you know when bread is done without a toothpick?

There are many ways to check for doneness, as mentioned above. If none of those options interest you and you want to use something similar to the toothpick check, you can also use a thin, sharp knife. 

Plunge it into the center of the loaf and remove it. If it’s clean or only has a few moist crumbs, the bread is done.

How long should you bake bread?

How long you should bake your loaf of bread depends on your recipe. Most loaves will be done in under 30 minutes. Always follow your recipe closely to get the best results.

How long should bread rest after baking?

Much like any other goodies you bake, you shouldn’t rush to cut your freshly baked loaf of bread. Allow it to cool for up to 45 minutes. The longer you let your bread cool, the better results you will end up with. (I know it’s hard to be patient, but it’s worth it in the end – I promise!).

Why is my bread raw in the middle?

If your loaf of bread is raw in the middle but appears baked on the outside, your oven temperature is likely too high. The best thing you can do is to put the bread back in the oven. You can wrap it in aluminum foil to help fend off burnt spots.

It’s Easy to Tell When Bread is Done!

I recommend using an instant-read thermometer for the most accurate results. However, you can also check for doneness using visual cues or performing the tap test. 

How do you determine that your bread is done?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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