Are you thinking about baking sourdough bread in a toaster oven?
Perhaps you're travelling and using a toaster oven in an RV. Or maybe you're baking in summer and don't want to use your main oven to keep the house cooler?
Whatever your reasoning for baking toaster oven sourdough, you want to ensure that you get the best possible outcome for your bake.
This blog will help you with tips for baking sourdough in a toaster oven to ensure you get optimal oven spring, crust and crumb.
What is A Toaster Oven?
A toaster oven is a smaller size oven that is designed to sit on a counter top.
Toaster ovens are useful appliances for smaller kitchens and apartments, RVs and travellers.
They are also a great back up oven to have on hand in case your main oven breaks or is too hot to use over the summer months.
Toaster ovens are designed to reheat, toast, brown and bake small amounts of food very quickly.
They are designed to heat up fast, but have lower maximum temperatures than a conventional wall or under counter oven.
Why Use A Toaster Oven for Sourdough Bread?
A toaster oven can be a useful appliance when baking sourdough bread, particularly if you are travelling with your sourdough starter.
The truth is, while it's always better to bake sourdough in a larger oven with higher maximum temperatures, sometimes, you might only have a toaster oven available.
Perhaps you're travelling an RV. Maybe you're living in another country where ovens aren't always found in a kitchen.
There are so many reasons that you might find yourself with only a toaster oven to bake sourdough bread.
This should not stop you from being able bake delicious sourdough bread.
With some tweaks and a little know how, you will be able to bake amazing sourdough bread in a counter top oven.
Best Tips for Baking Sourdough Bread in Toaster Oven
Ultimately, you want the best sourdough possible from baking in a toaster oven.
While you may not get the lofty highs of baking in a conventional oven, there's no reason you cannot bake quality sourdough bread in a toaster oven.
Here's the best tips for baking sourdough bread in a toaster oven:
- Know the size of your oven - if you can't fit a larger loaf in successfully, consider breaking the dough into two pieces and shaping two smaller loaves or use this small batch sourdough bread recipe.
- Use a Dutch Oven inside the toaster oven if it's possible. This will ensure you're able to trap steam inside - which is essential to great sourdough oven spring. A 2 quart Dutch Oven is a good size to try for this purpose.
- Use a thermometer to accurately measure the temperature inside your toaster oven. Knowing the actual temperature will allow you to make adjustments to cooking time and give you a better result.
How To Navigate Temperature When Baking Bread In Toaster Oven
Toaster ovens do not always the higher maximum temperatures of conventional ovens.
Once you know how hot your toaster oven actually does get, you can adjust your cooking time to suit.
Ideally, you want to bake your sourdough at the maximum temperature your oven will reach (hopefully 230C/450C) for around 30 minutes. During this time, it should ideally be in a closed vessel like a Dutch Oven.
After that, you want to brown the crust and finish the bake with the lid off the vessel at a lower temperature.
This should take around 10 minutes, however could take up to 30 minutes in a toaster oven at a lower temperature.
Disadvantages of Baking Sourdough Bread in a Toaster Oven
While it is absolutely possible to bake sourdough bread in a toaster oven, there are some disadvantages or pitfalls that you need to be aware of.
Once you're aware of these, you will be able to create solutions to overcome them.
- Smaller size - toaster ovens are generally much smaller than conventional ovens, so you will need to adjust the size of your loaf to accomodate for this. Dividing your dough into two and using a smaller Dutch Oven is best.
- Heat loss - these small counter top ovens are not always made with the same precision as larger, under bench ovens. There may be a gap around the door where heat is able to escape. This is why it's so important to use a thermometer to measure the actual temperature of the oven.
- Uneven Heating - due to the nature of the heating elements, there may be uneven heating inside the oven. It's a good idea to rotate your loaf during cooking time to ensure even cooking.
- Lower Temperature Range - if you are cooking in a newer toaster or counter top oven, chances are you will have a much higher temperature range (up to 230C/450F). Older, less sophisticated toaster ovens may pose an issue as they will not get to high enough temperatures.
Safety Precautions for Baking Sourdough In A Toaster Oven
While baking sourdough in a toaster oven is absolutely possible, there are a few safety precautions you should take.
You need to be aware that the toaster oven may not be as robust as a regular wall or under counter oven and needs to be treated with care.
Here are a few safety precautions for baking bread and sourdough in a toaster oven:
- Do not use glass or pyrex bake ware in a toaster oven - ever!
- Parchment paper and baking paper should not be used inside a toaster oven. This is a little annoying, since parchment paper is a good way to transfer your sourdough to a Dutch Oven. But safety comes first.
- Handle the glass door to the toaster oven with care. It can get extremely hot, so using heat proof oven mitts is a good idea.
- Do not leave the toaster oven unattended while you are baking in it.
- Do not let your sourdough or any item inside the toaster oven touch the heating elements. This means that you'll need to ensure your sourdough has room to rise inside, without touching the heating element.
Recipe for Baking Toaster Oven Sourdough
You don't need a special recipe for baking sourdough in a toaster oven.
You can use this simple sourdough bread recipe and make some simple changes to ensure you have ultimate success baking it in a toaster oven.
You will need to make sure you have a super bubbly and happy sourdough starter before you start.
If your toaster oven is smaller, you will need to divide the dough into two smaller loaves for shaping.
Other sourdough recipes you could baking in a toaster oven include:
- Soft Sourdough Dinner Rolls
- Crusty Sourdough Rolls
- Sourdough Crackers
- Sourdough Iced Buns
- Easy Sourdough Discard Sandwich Bread (split into two smaller loaves)
Toaster Ovens for Sourdough Baking: Which One Is Best?
If you are looking for a counter top or toaster oven for a small space, which would allow you to bake sourdough bread, these are the functions & features that you need to look for:
- Larger size interior (to fit in a regular sized loaf and or Dutch Oven).
- Higher temperature range (to ensure optimal oven spring). This one goes up to 230C/450F).
- Proofing function (can be handy for keeping starter and dough warm during fermentation)
The Breville BOV900BSS Smart Oven Pro has all of these functions and more and would be the top choice for a counter top oven to bake sourdough bread in.
It is larger in size than a regular toaster oven and will actually fit a regular sized Dutch Oven inside, making it a perfect choice!
Frequently Asked Questions
Baking sourdough in a small oven does pose some issues - the main one being how to fit the dough inside the oven, allowing enough room for rising dough. You may need to split the dough into two smaller loaves in order to bake successfully in a small oven.
The secret to the best oven spring while baking in a toaster oven is to ensure that you are able to get steam into the oven while you are baking. You can do this by using a more modern toaster oven that has a steam function. Alternatively, using a Dutch Oven (that you've checked fits inside the toaster oven) and spraying the dough liberally with water before placing it inside the Dutch Oven and then into the toaster oven.
Yes you can bake sourdough sandwich bread in a toaster oven. You will need to ensure that you have a loaf tin / pan that fits inside the toaster oven. You may need to source a smaller loaf pan for this purpose (you can see an example here). Do not use a glass loaf pan inside a toaster oven for safety reasons. Something else to note when baking sandwich bread inside a toaster oven is that it is an enriched dough with fats and sugar - this means that it can burn easily so you will need to bake the bread at a lower temperature, but for longer inside the toaster oven.
Yes, but you'll need to make sure that you have a long slot toaster to accomodate the longer length and width of sourdough and artisan bread. You'll find my guide to the best toasters for sourdough bread here.
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