Sourdough Bread Baking - best settings


I am working on best settings for APO to bake classic Sourdough Bread. I have a fair amount of experience baking in the Dutch Oven and it comes out well.
First bake in APO - all good but the bottom is undercooked.

  • Rear Element only.
  • Preheat 30 min at 482F with 100% steam (and 16" x 12" baking stone)
  • Bake with steam: 20min, 450F, 100% steam
  • Bake without steam: 25min 400F

The results are pretty good in terms of oven spring and top crust but as mentioned above the bottom is undercooked. The stone is on the grate in position 1.

Has anyone tried using Top + Bottom elements for baking instead of rear? Longer pre-heat? Higher rack position? Baking steel instead of baking stone?



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For other type of oven, I have read and adopted advices from bakers suggesting to put the bread for another 3-5 min on a grid in the oven to better cook the bottom.

Does marvels for me, you could try it next time

Interesting suggestion, thank you. Do you also use rear heating element alone?

I found that preheating for 30 minutes was not enough to get the stone up to temperature. If you have an infrared temperature probe you should check to make sure the stone has reached 450F. I found I needed an additional 15 minutes of preheat time. At the 30 minutes my stone was only around 350F.

This is very helpful, I will try that.

I make baguettes daily (actually more like pane francese) and have the best results with a stone like yours but using top/bottom heat. I start at 460/100% steam for 5 min. and then continue at 460/no steam for 11-12 minutes. These are smaller loaves of course but I have not had a problem with underdone bottoms.

Great, thank you very much. I just tried Top/Bottom heat set at 482F and preheat for 1h20m. Then, as I started the bake, after 2min the APO shut down (without any warning) from overheating. It came back to life after about 10-15 minutes. The exterior of the APO was very hot. I think long pre-heat at maximum temperature is not a great idea unless there is a fan or other heat removal method. I will try 450-460F next time and and 1hr preheat.

I don’t think you need so long a pre-heat. My stone is up to temp after 30 min or so. Usually I start just a few minutes after the oven gets to final temp.

Because the baking stone seems to take a long time to preheat in the oven, I heat mine in the microwave then once It is at a good time temp add it to the oven

Interesting technique. I don’t think my microwave is big enough for that!

My ‘making stone’ is actually a clay /terracotta flooring tile :slight_smile: To allow for the different floor areas between the microwave and the oven it is cut into two pieces, so together they fit the oven.

I use a 5mm baking steel. Pre-heat for 1hour at 230c. Cook for 20m at 100% steam at 230 and then 15/20 minutes at 225c 0% steam.

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Top/Bottom heating elements or Rear heating element? Thanks.


I think heating up with the rear or rear/top is going to get the stone hot faster. I don’t think the top/rear has enough power to get the stone up to temp quickly enough.