In recent years, more and more people have begun making their own bread, and this is a very popular activity now – but it’s still one that has a lot of pitfalls, especially if you are inexperienced. Have you found that your bread has burnt on the bottom?
If your bread is burning on the underside, this almost always means that your bakeware is too thin and is transferring too much heat to the bottom of the loaf. Sometimes, it will mean your oven temperature is too high, although this tends to result in burning all over. Fortunately, there are plenty of fixes, like using different bakeware or adding a silicone mat to the oven.
In this article, we’re going to look at what causes bread to burn on the underside, and what you can do to prevent this from happening. This should help you to prevent this from happening in the future!
What Causes Bread To Burn On The Underside?
In almost all cases, if your bread is burning underneath, it’s because it is getting too hot in the oven. There can be a few different reasons for this, but it’s almost always the fault of your bakeware, which may be too thin or too dark for use in your oven. Dark colors and thin metal absorb and transfer heat very easily.
If this is happening, there are quite a few things you can do that will fix it, so let’s look at those next:
- Use lighter bakeware
- Use multiple baking trays
- Use a baking stone
- Lower your oven temperature
- Make notes on how your oven works
- Consider your ingredients
- Add cornmeal to the tin
- Use a silicone mat
- Use parchment paper
- Preheat your oven thoroughly
- Take the bread out of the bakeware as soon as it has a crust
Use Lighter Bakeware
A lot of people favor dark bakeware because it doesn’t show the stains as badly – but it will absorb the heat of your oven more quickly. This can be a problem, because it will then transfer this heat to the bread dough at the bottom of the tin, and will eventually cause it to burn.
You need to avoid this, so you should opt for light-colored bakeware whenever you can. Some people opt for stainless steel bread tins because they don’t conduct heat particularly well, and they therefore keep the bottom of the bread cooler. This can be an effective way to prevent it from burning.
If you are buying a new baking tray, choose one that has a thick base for the same reason. It will conduct the heat more slowly, and this should prevent it from burning too easily.
Use Multiple Baking Trays
Sometimes, you can mitigate problems with a thin baking tray by putting several baking trays together and using these. It will take longer for the heat to transfer from the outer tray to the inner one, which will significantly reduce the risk of your bread burning.
This can make a surprising amount of difference and will prevent overbrowning. However, you should be aware that the trays will hold onto the heat for longer after coming out of the oven, so you will need to handle them with some care.
This technique works well if you have multiple trays that are the same or a similar size, and will make it easier to adjust how quickly your bread bakes. Remember that the more trays you add, the longer the bread will take to cook at the bottom, so you need to be a little careful about this.
Use A Baking Stone
If you don’t have a baking stone and you want to get a beautifully even crust, a baking stone may be a worthy investment. Baking stones will behave much like layered baking trays, but they are generally more effective. Like multiple baking trays, they will trap the heat and release it gradually.
Not everybody wants to buy special gadgets for making bread with and you certainly don’t have to if you would rather not, but it’s definitely worth getting one if you’re invested in making the best bread you can.
Baking stones are very versatile, and you can use them under baking trays or even in a dutch oven. You do need to make sure you don’t let your bread stone get too hot or it will still burn your loaf.
Lower Your Oven Temperature
One of the simplest ways to reduce the risk of your bread burning is to drop your oven temperature by a few degrees, and to use an oven thermometer. It’s surprising how inaccurate an oven’s internal thermometer can be, and it’s very easy to end up cooking your bread on a setting that is too high.
If your oven is too high, there’s a greater chance that your bread will burn underneath or even on top, so you should drop the temperature by a little. This will also save power and money in the long run. Oven thermometers don’t tend to be expensive, so get one of these to make your bread baking more accurate.
Make Notes On How Your Oven Works
Every oven is different, and paying attention to how your oven works can make a big difference to how likely your bread is to burn. Not knowing your oven is often a recipe for disaster.
You should test different parts of your oven for particularly hot areas and cold areas, and figure out what the best baking area is. Think about where the heating elements are and where the fans are, and use this information to determine where to put your bread.
You should almost always experiment with putting your bread into different parts of the oven and seeing how well it bakes. You will probably find a certain area makes a much better loaf than any of the other spots, so knowing your oven really counts for a lot.
If your bread is consistently burning on the bottom, you might want to try lifting it higher up, especially if you usually put it low down. This may be enough to solve the problem.
Consider Your Ingredients
It’s important to bear in mind that your bread may brown more quickly if it contains more sugar. Sugar tends to caramelize quickly in the oven, and it will burn if it’s exposed to hot temperatures for too long. You therefore need to make sure you drop the temperature or the cooking time if you put extra sugar in the dough.
Add Cornmeal To The Tin
Sometimes, putting a bit of cornmeal in the baking tin will help to prevent the bottom of the loaf from burning. The cornmeal will reduce the amount of contact between the dough and the hot metal, so it can minimize burning.
This doesn’t work for everyone, though, and it can take a bit of practice to get it right. You may want to experiment with one loaf before making this your go-to option.
Use A Silicone Mat
Silicone mats have a wide range of uses in the kitchen, and they can help to insulate the bottom of your bread tin and slow down the heat transfer. This is great for preventing overbrowning. They are also really easy to use.
All you have to do is place the bread tin on the mat, and it will reduce the transfer of heat from the oven to the tin. This will protect the bottom from burning. The downside is that it won’t stop the sides of the loaf from getting burnt if they also get too hot, but it’s still worth doing this if you’re struggling with a burnt base.
Do check that your silicone baking mat is oven-safe before you put it in, however, as their temperature tolerance can vary.
Use Parchment Paper
If you want to line your bread tin with something, parchment paper can be a great option – but you will probably need a few layers of it to make a difference. Like the silicone mat, it will slow down the heat transfer and reduce the risk of the bread burning, but it sits inside the tin instead of underneath.
That means it can also stop the bread from sticking to the inside of the tin, which some people find helpful. Simply cut some pieces of parchment paper to the right size and fold them into the tin, and then tip the dough in on top.
You may want to experiment with more or less layers of parchment paper to get the perfect browning, but this is great for fine-tuning your loaf’s brownness.
Preheat Your Oven Thoroughly
Making sure that your oven has come up to temperature before you put the loaf in is key to getting a good loaf. Many people recommend letting it preheat for at least an hour to ensure that there are no cold spots in the oven. Give it at least 30 minutes. If the oven is an even temperature throughout, the bread will heat more evenly.
If you don’t let your oven heat properly before you put the bread in, there’s a high risk that it will cook unpredictably, and this could lead to burning on the bottom of the loaf.
Take The Bread Out Of The Bakeware As Soon As It Has A Crust
If you’re really struggling with the bread burning, you can tip it out of its bakeware as soon as the crust has started to form. You need to wait until it has a thick enough crust to hold its shape, but this will work as long as you’re careful. It will prevent the bottom from getting as brown, and can reduce the risk of burning.
Place the half-baked loaf on a sheet of aluminum foil and put it back in the oven until it is fully baked. This increases the airflow under the loaf and stops it from getting too hot.
Is burnt bread okay to eat?
Burnt bread isn’t particularly good to eat. Cut these parts off and compost them.
How long should you bake bread?
Most bread should be baked for about 20 minutes, so don’t leave it for longer or it may start to burn.
There are lots of things you can do to stop your loaf of bread from burning at the base, including using bakeware that doesn’t conduct heat well, and using extra baking tins or a silicone mat to reduce the transfer of heat.