The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crackly Crisp Crusts w/o Steam

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maximusredlabel's picture
maximusredlabel

Crackly Crisp Crusts w/o Steam

In the BBA (p.276) there is a photo of beautiful loaves with crackly crisp crusts that were baked in the wood-fired oven of the Bennet Valley bakery. Yet, brick ovens like this one do not have steam-injection. Aren't we all introducing steam in order to achieve crisp crusts (in addition to ovenspring)? Does this mean that our steaming really only contributes ovenspring, and other conditions (perhaps the dry heat that remains after the steam evaporates) is what produces the crackly crust? Any thoughts are much appreciated.

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

The steam does not directly contribute to a crisp crust since its purpose is the delay of the crust formation. Indirectly one may argue that with steaming and more ovenspring you will achieve a lighter texture that dries 'better' to a crispier crust.

 

From my experience I can tell you that baking the loaf after the ovenspring in a dry environment (vented oven) makes the difference and gives you control over the extend of crust development (thickness and crispness).

 

 BROTKUNST

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 Baked under a cloche,,,,,,,,,,,, qahtan

Chausiubao's picture
Chausiubao

How did you bake that one? It looks rather crust crispy. Usually I bake a steam pan in the bottom of the oven and pour boiling water into it right after the dough goes in the oven. This in addition to 3 sets of misting the oven is how I try to get a crispy crust. But by the time the bread cools down, the crispiness also disappears. So how'd you do it?

qahtan's picture
qahtan

 I use a cloche, this was the first one I had, home made.

It's the largest flower pot I could find in Home Depot, about $8 it had to fit in my over, 30 inch convection.I put my finished dough onto a pizza stone, let it rise then put cloche over top and put it in a 400 oven.

 I never put water into my oven for steam nor do I spray the hot oven walls, My oven cost me too much to foul it up like that.;-))))

 King Arthur Flour Co sell La Cloche.     qahtan

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

I use exactly this when the shape and number of my loaves allow, and it works beautifully.

Susanfnp

http://www.wildyeastblog.com

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

 

I wonder if these would break if were soaked in hot water and then put in the oven?

I used Susan's sourdough under glass (stainless steel) method and was amazed at the results and then I saw her flower pot cloche and had to try it. I just returned from the hardware store with all the parts and the dough is rising. I doubt I'll soak the cloche or even spray the interior this time around. I will preheat it though.

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

 

I made two sourdough test loaves. The first is 70% Stone-Buhr bread flour and 30% King Arthur AP flour, 65% hydration, baked under a preheated home made cloche.

The second is 50/50 using the same flours but haven't cut into that yet. It couldn't be better than the first which is without a doubt the best bread I've ever made.

 

 

Flour Girl's picture
Flour Girl

qahtan, do you do anything to prep your flower pot other than a thorough washing?  Do you start baking in a cold oven or do you preheat pot in oven? 

I didn't to give the flower pot a try before putting out $50.  I have a 10" azaela pot and a 12" saucer.  I haven't been able to find an unglazed tile. So I intend to you parchment paper on the saucer.  Any suggestions for using your flowerpot baker will be grately appreciated.

Chausiubao's picture
Chausiubao

Sounds like having a pizza stone around the entire dough, except its the air that absorbs the heat rather then the dough.