The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pain Au Levain - Reinhart ABED - almost there, maybe needs more crust

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Pizza Fool's picture
Pizza Fool

Pain Au Levain - Reinhart ABED - almost there, maybe needs more crust

So I reduced the instant yeast by 1/3rd, got a banneton and lame, and I think I'm almost there.  The crust isn't very crusty though, so I wonder if it needed more baking time or less steam.

DavidEF's picture
DavidEF

What temperature are you baking at? Maybe raising the temp a little will help get a crispier crust. It looks like your bread is cooked well all the way through, and your crumb is beautiful. Changing the baking time might make it dryer inside. Raising the temp, and keeping the time the same, makes the outside cook faster, and the crust will be crispier. When I first started baking (a few short months ago) all of my breads had a crunchy crust and chewy crumb, even when I was trying to make a soft sandwich loaf for my family's daily bread. I reduced my baking temp, but kept the same time, and now my sandwich loafs are softer inside and out. You may be able to do the reverse with yours.

Pizza Fool's picture
Pizza Fool

Thanks, I'll try that with the other half of the dough I'm baking tonight.  475 instead of 450. I guess I should get an oven thermometer to measure the actual temperatures inside the oven.

BreadBro's picture
BreadBro

One of the best ways to improve oven spring is to make sure you're using an extremely hot baking stone. Heating the stone at 500 degrees for at least an hour is a good way to make sure that you get good heat transferrence, which helps your loaf spring up.

Pizza Fool's picture
Pizza Fool

I've been doing 45 minutes for my stone and steam tray, but I can try 1 hour, thanks.  The one thing I was curious about is how do you time when to put the dough in with how long the stone has to heat up for?  In other words, what if your dough is done proofing sooner than expected and your stone hasn't fully heated up yet?  (I've just been following Reinhart's 2 hr proofing direction, but I'm sure that it's highly variable depending on room temperature and whatnot.)

Also, do you eat the bread with that flour spiral pattern on top?  It's really pretty but that's a lot of raw flour.

Pizza Fool's picture
Pizza Fool

Ha!  It didn't rotate the photo based on EXIF-tag.  Oh well.  Anyway, reducing the yeast by 1/3rd worked fine for smaller loaves, but I couldn't get good oven spring the two times I tried it as a miche.  So I went back to the full 7 grams and it sprang beautifully.  I baked at 425 for an hour and at 500 for 10 minutes to brown the crust some more.  The crust is very nice finally.  I didn't mist the walls this time because my wife saw what I was doing and told me I'd shatter the lightbulb, but the steam tray seems to have worked fine.  My cuts kind of make it look like a smiling chimpanzee. Only thing I'm dissatisfied with is it's a bit too sour.  I had to refrigerate the sponge for a day and a half instead of mixing the dough immediately, and I guess that soured it noticeably.  I baked after retarding for 3 days in the fridge, plus the day and a half for the sponge so I guess it adds up.  Also, I think it was a very tight boule, but it definitely spread a lot when I carefully dumped it out of the banneton.  I'd love more height and less width.