How To Control Bread Dough Temperature

Home 9 Principles of Baking 9 How To Control Bread Dough Temperature

Temperature is one of the most important ingredients when it comes to bread making.

The way we control dough temperature is by adjusting water temperature in most cases.

There are 3 variables. Air temperature, flour temperature, water temperature.

One more temperature that you must work out for yourself is the temperature added during kneading.

I know that kneading a dough by hand for 6 minutes will add 5-6C to my dough because I have warm hands. And that is almost 1C a minute. Knowing this you will be able to adjust for various mixing times! The only way you will find this out is by experimenting.

Mix your ingredients, take the temperature, then knead the dough for however long and measure again.

Keep in mind that the surface that you knead your bread on has an impact on the temperature too. A wooden table will be warmer than a marble one. Different surfaces will also act differently throughout the seasons. Some may be warmer in the summer than others and vice versa.

Working out the water temperature goes like this – (Desired dough temperature – mixing temperature) x 3 (air, flour, water) Take the resulting number and subtract (air temperature + flour temperature) = water temperature.

If you are using a preferment, that will add another variable. In that case you have to take the temperature of the preferment and add it to the equation and change the variable number from 3 to 4. I have made separate post and video on this. You can have a look at it here.

Once you understand the formula and try a couple of examples on paper you will always use this when baking. It will give you full control of the outcome.

Watch my video for a more detailed explanation.

Watch the video here

Understanding the principles of bread making will let you be in complete control every time you make bread. It will reduce the failure rate and turn you into an even more confident home baker.

I highly recommend you check out the Learning page where I have detailed, easy to understand explanations on each step of the bread baking process and the principles behind it. You can find all the equipment I use and recommend in the Shop (UK) & Shop (US) pages.

Show/Hide Comments (2 comments)


  1. StevieB

    Just a footnote: I have quartz worktops in my kitchen which overnight becomes the same temperature as the surrounding air. Being a 700kg mass of stone it changes temperature very slowly. This has a huge impact on final dough temperature. Even kneading with warm hands the temperature increase is only +2C as the worktop is a thermal sink. This is an issue as it is now mid winter.

    Mid summer the opposite problem will be true and the worktop at (say) 30C will act like an oven. So using a wooden board may be a good choice.

    • ChainBaker

      Good point! I have a different problem in that I have three large LED light panels when I’m filming my videos and they heat up the bread so much. I have to have the windows open in winter.
      A wooden surface is definitely the best option.


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