You’ve worked in the kitchen all day, making what should be a gorgeous loaf of fresh bread. The last thing you want to discover is a loaf with a raw, doughy center! It’s a disaster that could cause anyone’s emotions to rise (pun intended). Fear not, there’s a way to salvage your undercooked bread.
Why Did My Bread Not Cook in the Middle?
When bakers find that a loaf of bread is underbaked, the issue is usually due to one of the following factors:
1. Improper Flour Measurement
For best results, measure all ingredients by weight, not volume. You can purchase a basic food scale at most kitchen supply stores or on Amazon.
If you undermeasure the flour, your dough will be too wet and result in a soggy, undercooked loaf. Moving forward, convert all flour measurements from cups to grams for greater accuracy.
2. Not Preheating the Oven
For most recipes, you’ll want to make sure the oven is fully preheated. If your oven is too cool, you may end up with a loaf of bread that doesn’t rise as high.
Editor’s Note: This is especially true for recipes that call for a baking stone. You may want to let the oven preheat for as long as an hour to make sure the baking stone reaches the ideal temperature before placing your loaf on it to bake.
3. Setting the Oven Temperature Is Too Hot
Even though your oven may say it’s preheated to 350° F, tests have revealed that oven temperatures can be off by as much as 75° F in either direction! If your oven runs hot, your bread is likely to brown and bake up on the outside before the center has a chance to fully cook. Invest in a simple oven thermometer to help verify the temperature.
Make sure you have other bread baking essentials in your kitchen, too.
4. Not Testing for Doneness
The most accurate way to test bread doneness is to use a digital thermometer like this. Gently insert the thermometer into the center of your loaf. For most bread recipes, you’re looking for a temperature of at least 190° F. If you’re making a bread recipe that is enriched with butter, eggs or milk, then aim for a temperature 200° F.
There’s a less scientific way to test your bread, too. Just remove the loaf from its pan or baking stone (once it’s cool enough to handle) and firmly thump the bottom of the loaf with your finger. If the bread sounds hollow, then it’s most likely cooked all the way through.
5. It’s Not Cool Enough
Hold on a sec! It’s possible that your bread may not be undercooked at all. We know it can be hard to resist cutting into your loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven, but try your best to hold back. Most loaves of bread should cool for at least 2 hours before cutting. When cut too soon, bread can appear soggy with a heavy, dense texture. This is because the stream trapped inside hasn’t had a chance to dissipate. Be patient with your bread. It will be worth the wait—we promise!
How Do I Fix an Undercooked Loaf of Bread?
In most situations, an undercooked loaf of bread can be fixed by returning it to the oven for a few more minutes. This is true for loaves where the outside of your bread may look fully set, but the inside of the bread is still gummy. Place the loaf back in a preheated oven at 350° F for 10-20 minutes. You can tent the bread loosely with foil to prevent it from browning further, if that’s a concern.
Is It Okay to Eat Undercooked Bread?
You may not have the time or energy to try and remedy your sad little loaf. You may be ready to throw in the towel and try eating your bread anyway—but please don’t. Breads made with flour and/or eggs can contain dangerous bacteria. It’s best to play it safe and not eat the undercooked bread.
After you master this step of the baking process, keep learning with these baking tips from Paul Hollywood.