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Problems with my Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I bake all my loaves in bread pans. I have always had problems with my lemon poppy seed loaf where some of the loaves don't always bake all the way through. I bake them for roughly an hour and 20 minutes at 350 until the tops are dark, puff up and crack. All the other loaves (orange cranberry and spice carrot) are fine.
It is a moist batter that gives an amazing moist crumb. I always test the loaves getting right to the centre, I use double action baking soda, I rotate the loaves in the oven after 40 minutes. I am wondering if the bread pan is causing this problem where the internal temperature can't get to where it needs to be.
Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 9
Probably just the amount of moisture and fat in the batter. Try lowering the baking temperature to 325F and baking longer -- probably something like an extra 20 or 30 minutes. Sorry I can't be more exact offhand. You're looking for a clean toothpick, and the sides to begin pulling away from the pan. If you get a little surface cracking, it's not the end of the world. Although, at the lower temperature you should same some cracking and get a better color -- about one shade darker than GBD.

Lower the temperature, lengthen the time is a general rule of food for anything which cooks too fast on the outside -- too slow on the inside. Could be fried chicken, barbecued brisket, cakes or darn near anything else.

You'll get better texture and color on the bottom and sides, and a nice clean release with glass loaf pans. Glass is too heavy and expensive for commerical baking, it's a home cook's luxury.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 


I'll give it a try.
Normally I do look for the crack at the top as a sign of doneness. I use a wooden skewer slide in on an angle to the, shall we say, "sweet spot" making sure no batter is left on the skewer when I run it through my fingers. My carrot spice batter has more fat and I would think more or the same amount of moister and I never have a problem with it.
Glass pans would not work for me. I am just starting up a business supplying local businesses so my batches are about 8 loaves at a time.
Again thank you.
post #4 of 9
Didn't notice your "owner/operator" designation. Glass pans are certianly impractical for a professional set up. One of the few pieces of cooking equipment where the home has a real advantage over a professional kitchen.

My advice wasn't centered around the idea that there was anything wrong with your testing. Not only are you doing it right, but a combination of early cracking and a too soft center is pretty much dispositive that the "bread" is cooking at too high a temp, or in too deep a pan. Pans represent a lot of things, among them portions and investments. Easier to deal with the temperature than suggest you only 3/4 fill.

If we still can't make this batter behave, the next thing we'll try is making cupcakes and see if lower volume does the trick. Not that I'm trying to get you to sell cupcakes. It's just that if you can get something to work in one way, you can usually stretch the technique to make it work in another.

If you were just learning to bake, I probably wouldn't mention a couple of other doneness tests that are part of the gestalt of baking, because they're subtle and uncertain. Moreover, they're really better "not done yet" tests. But you want to feel the surface of the "bread" and check it for softness with your palm, and watch the "jiggle" as you pull the pan or the rack. I can almost always spot an underdone cake without taking it from the oven. It's made my life more difficult, because my wife is the cake baker in our family but insists I do all the checking.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
All your suggestions have been spot on and I appreciate that. It's sometimes difficult to communicate via text as you don't have the free flow of ideas like a verbal conversation.
I will try your suggestion of a longer bake time at a lower temp which I think is the best solution, if that doesn't work then I will try tweaking the recipe a little to get a slightly dryer batter by reducing the amount of fat. I have made muffins with the batter and they come out very well so that's why I was questioning the loaf pans. My next step would be to speak to the client about a longer loaf that's not as high. He would like to see all the loaves at the same size for counter appeal for his clients and shipping/storage.
I have been baking at home forever, but with a career change I am just starting in doing large batches. I was trained at a culinary school and have been doing work as a personal chef. I fell into the baking end of things by accident when I started to supply biscotti to a small coffee house that is now growing into several outlets. I have several items I supply them with and I am working with them to come up with more non standard, savoury pieces. Coming from a graphic arts and music background the artistic and creative aspect of baking, and the culinary arts in general, is very appealing to me.
Now if your wife the cake baker has you do all the checking then your credibility is off the charts.
Again thank you for your time. Your insights have given me food for thought on more then just an undercooked lemon loaf.
post #6 of 9
Dayum. Shucks.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well didn't mean to offend you in any way and I sincerely appreciate your help.
post #8 of 9
I'm sorry. I wasn't at all offended, just incredibly complimented.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
My mistake, again text verses verbal communication. I owe ya a beer buddy.
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