Desired Dough Temperature (DDT): The Basics

In many bread recipes, a target temperature, or DDT (Desired Dough Temperature) is often specified for the dough for the end of the mixing process. Is it important? Mixing the dough in a specific temperature range encourages proper gas production during fermentation, resulting in the ideal loaf volume for the final product. The DDT may be influenced by factors beyond the ambient temperature. For example, if the water is too cold, it might take longer for the bread to properly rise. On the other hand, if the water is too warm, it will accelerate the fermentation process. By taking DDT into consideration, we can eliminate some of these variables and will achieve more consistency in fermentation, final dough and timing.

What is Desired Dough Temperature (DDT)?
Desired dough temperature is the temperature that the dough should reach at the end of the mixing stage just before bulk fermentation.

What is the ideal DDT?
The ideal DDT for most dough is between 23°C/74°F and 25.5°C/78°F.

What are the factors that affect the DDT?
There are a few factors that affect the temperature of the dough: air temperature, flour temperature, friction temperature and water temperature. The air and flour temperature is pretty straightforward: the temperature of the environment in which you are making the dough in and the flour temperature of the flour in its storage container. Typically, we don’t have a lot of control over these variables.

Friction temperature comes from the heat generated by the mechanical movement between the dough, agitator and the bowl. As the stand mixer continues to work the dough, the dough’s temperature will increase considerably. We need to take this into consideration in determining the temperature of the water that we’re going to use.

For instance, if you mix the dough for 1st speed for 4 minutes, and 2nd speed for 3 to 4 minutes, a rough estimate is that there will be a 24°F to 28°F increase in temperature due to friction temperature. In another source “The Modern Cafe”, Migoya states that the dough will increase 2°C/3.6°F for every minute of mixing. On the other hand, Modernist Bread, specifies that the friction temperature increase ranges from 6-9°C/ 10-17°F, and an estimate of 8°C/15°F is used. These are really just rough estimates, as the friction temperature will vary depending on the the size of your dough, the stand mixer, the type of mixer, the length of time in mixing and the speed at which the dough is being mixed at.

If you want to be more precise, there are two ways that you can calculate friction temperature for your machine:
1) Set the friction temperature to 26°F (in the middle of that range), and mix based on your instructions. When gluten development is achieved, take the dough temperature and compare it to the DDT as instructed. If the dough is cooler, then decrease the factor  by that, and if it’s warmer then increase the friction temperature by that. Another way to determine a more accurate friction temperature is to prepare a sample trial dough. We begin but .

2) You can even use a probe thermometer to measure the temperature of the dough every minute to see.

OK, so how do you calculate the water temperature?
To determine the water temperature, you start by taking your desired dough temperature and multiply by the number of factors. If you are not using a pre-ferment, you would multiple the DDT by 3, whereas if you are using a pre-ferment (additional temperature factor) you would multiple the DDT by 4. You then subtract the result by the different factors’ temperatures. Once the temperature of the factors has been determined, the required starting temperature of the water can be calculated.

For instance, if your DDT is 23°C and you are not using a preferment, you would multiply 23 x 3 = 69°C. Then you would subtract 23°C (air temperature) + 23°C (flour temperature) +  friction temperature of 8°C (mixing time) from 69°C to figure out the water temperature to use.

Step 1: Multiple DDT by 3:
23 x 3 = 69°C
Step 2: To determine water temperature, subtract Step 1 by all the factors:

And if you are using a preferement, you would do the following: if your DDT is 23°C, would multiple 23 X 4 = 92°C. Then you would subtract 23°C (air temperature) + 23°C (flour temperature) + 23°C (preferment) + 8°C (friction) to figure out the water temperature to use.

Step 1: Multiple DDT by 4
23 x 4 = 92°C
Step 2: To determine water temperature, subtract Step 1 by all the factors:


Myhrvold, Nathan and Migoya, Francisco. (2017) Modernist Bread. Bellevue, WA: The Cooking Lab.
Hamelman, J. (2012). Bread: a bakers book of techniques and formulas. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Hitz, Ciril. (2012). Baking artisan pastries and breads: sweet and savour baking for breakfast, brunch, and beyond. Beverly, Massachusetts: Crestline.
Migoya, Francisco. (2010). The Modern Cafe. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Reinhart, Peter. (2010). The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the art of extraordinary bread. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press
Reinhart, Peter. (2009). Peter Reinhart’s artisan breads every day. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press
Hitz, Ciril. (2008). Baking artisan bread: 10 expert formulas for better bread at home. Beverly, Massachusetts: Quarry.
Reinhart, Peter. (2006). Crust and Crumb: master formulas for serious bread bakers. Hong Kong: Ten Speed Press


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