The Bread Box-Blog

27
Jun

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Why is 350°F the Standard Temperature for Baking?

Have you ever wondered why your oven always has a starting temperature of 350°F when you turn it on? This actually became standard back in the 1940s, after recipe writers referred to it as the “moderate temperature.” A moderate temperature would fall right in the middle of the oven temperature range, allowing foods to cook thoroughly with a lower risk of burning. How do we explain this? Well, let’s start with an important chemical process called the Maillard Reaction.  

What is the Maillard Reaction?

This process got its name from Louis Camille Maillard. He was a chemist who discovered it back in 1912 while he was looking into the way proteins synthesize. When proteins and sugars are exposed to heat, they transform and create a “browning effect” that helps give flavor to food. To illustrate, let’s say you were baking a cookie. Once you put the cookie dough into the oven, the sugar molecules will start to reduce and interact with the proteins. As a result, the cookie will begin losing moisture and turn golden brown. Both the physical appearance will change as well as the actual taste of the cookie.  

Why 350 Degrees?

While baking, the surface of the food will always heat up before the inside of it. It is vital to control the rate at which the Maillard Reaction transpires at both the surface level and internal level. If the food is baked at a temperature that is too cool, the food tends to dry out. The opposite occurs if the temperature is too hot, and the food will burn. If food is cooked at 350 degrees, the Maillard Reaction will have ample time to take place throughout the food.  

Sometimes, Hotter Temperatures Are Better

It is important to keep in mind that even though 350 degrees is the standard and definitely a safe zone, it shouldn’t be used for ALL foods. Foods like bread and donuts typically rise and brown better when the oven temperature is higher than 350°F. So, when cooking at a higher temperature, be sure to pay close attention to the recipe instructions.

Baker’s Pride Loves Making Bread

Baker’s Pride has always focused on baking quality foods with simple, fresh ingredients right here in the U.S. And we are proud to provide our customers a variety of sliced and wrapped breads that compliment a wide range of preferences. Contact us today to learn more about our bread and donut products.