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Temperatures: Both the Oven and Your Bread

Brick Oven Temperatures

As a starting point, you should be loading your bread onto a hearth floor with a surface wood-fired oven temperature of about 500-550ºF; considerably lower than for pizza. It’s an approximation because ovens vary, and you’ll have to be prepared to adjust to what your oven tells you, just as you did with your pizzas. It is quite possible to bake at higher temperatures for things like a baguette, but you have to be very vigilant to pull it off without creating burnt offerings.

Also, make sure that your oven is fully fired with a clear dome and a great deal of retained heat before you rake out the coals and let the temperature fall. You cannot use heat you have not yet stored in the oven, so make sure you have done a good job of putting it there. For longer bread baking periods (if you are not cooking pizza before your bread baking,) you should fire your oven for 90 minutes or more.

Prepping the Oven for Bread

After fully firing your oven, carefully rake out the hot coals and brush out the oven. If you wish, you can swab the deck with a damp, not wet, towel. Your oven can now cook gently and consistently with the heat retained in the oven dome and floor, as the temperature falls. Using this type of cooking, you can bake either one fully-loaded batch of bread, or multiple batches of different types of bread, but with smaller quantities. Read our Creating Steam page for more information on how to bake better bread. Close the door tightly against the oven opening to hold in heat and steam.

Interior Bread Temperatures

We’ve already talked about the ideal oven temperature for fully kneaded dough, but not directly about the baking temperature for bread. Unless otherwise specified, the interior of your finished hearth loaves should register at least 205ºF. Tapping the bottom of the loaf is at best unpredictable. It’s far better to be sure with an instant-read thermometer than to guess. Don’t forget to leave time for cooling your bread before serving it, as it continues to cook as it cools.


Next, we discuss the Time it Takes for your bread to bake in a wood fired oven.

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