The Fresh Loaf

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WW Sourdough Questions

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home_mill's picture
home_mill

WW Sourdough Questions

Is it possible to get a blistered crackly crust using WW flour?

When I make sandwich loafs they come out great, but when I make a boule the crust comes out hard and tastes burnt.

I have been following PRs Whole Grains book for Hearth bread. He bakes this bread at 450, but even at 425 the crust still seems burnt.

Thanks. 

 

 

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I've spent a lot of time working to get a crunchy crust on my loaves. I've never gotten it as crunchy as a white loaf, but I've had better results when I used very fresh flour.

I'm not sure why, but it seems to help.

paddyboomsticks's picture
paddyboomsticks

Imho, there are a couple of things you can do.

 First up, pop it into the oven with that high heat, and then reduce the heat down the track - it will still be plenty hot enough for the bread.

 I assume you're using a fan-forced oven?

Secondly, and this is basically fool proof. Once you've reached a crust you're happy with, cover it. It doesn't matter what with (a teatowel is fine), but it will take the dry wind off the loaf, without softening the crust through trapping moisture.

I hope they work, they're a couple of tricks that have worked for me in the past with wholemeals...

home_mill's picture
home_mill

Not sure what you mean by forced fan, but the oven is fairly new and it does have a fan that runs when it is on although I don't think it is a convection oven.

 Do you mean cover while it is baking, or after it is out of the oven? I would not want to use a tea towel ina hot oven.

 Thanks

paddyboomsticks's picture
paddyboomsticks

In Australia we call them fan-forced - by which I mean convection.

If it's _not_ convection, I wouldn't be too worried about the covering option, though if you are still curious, unless you have a gas oven with a naked flame, your average cotton teatowel is fine in a hot oven, it's nowhere near hot enough to burn it (it will get plenty toasty, though). Heck, teatowels were made for holding hot stuff!

Other than that, I would try reducing the heat. I've also personally noticed the the longer the ferment, the more I get caramelisation/burn on the crust. I like it, but it's not for everyone, and it's particularly pronounced with ww loaves.

holds99's picture
holds99

Home_mill,

Which crust is burnt...bottom or top?  if you're not using a baking stone you may be getting too much heat on the bottom of your baking sheet and/or your baking sheet is too close to the bottom heating element in your oven.  Without a stone, during the baking cycle, you're going to get direct heat from the heating element when it cycles on to keep the oven temp. setting constant.  If you're not using a stone, it would be a good investment.  Also, check you oven temp. using an oven thermometer to make sure it's actually heating to the same temp. inside the oven as the oven temp. control is set for (yeah, I know I'm not supposed to end the sentence with a prep. :-)

Howard

home_mill's picture
home_mill

It is burnt on top and I am using a baking stone. I guess I am wondering if 425 or 450 is too hot for this kind of bread. I understandand that hearth does mean high temperatures. What is the lowest temperature that should be used with a boule on a baking stone?

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

there is a simple trick of baking the loaf about 3/4 done or when the crusy is a little lighter than you want and then cover the loaf with a piece of parchment or brown paper.  that will stop the loaf (or any food for that matter) from browning any more.

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

A few comments... many ovens are inaccurate. When people tell me they have baking issues, I suggest they start with an oven thermometer. You can get them for $5.00 in most grocery stores. See if you're really baking at the temperature you think you are.

Also, you don't know that the cookbook author's oven was accurate. Few people have their ovens calibrated. 50 degrees off is not uncommon.

 

Because of this, and may other issues, I hope you'll remember that a recipe is a guide, not a gospel. If you need to raise or lower the temperature, if you need to add more or less water, if you need to use more or less riser or whatever... that's OK.

Baking is a juggling act. Heat controls the crust. Time in the oven cooks the crumb as it takes time for the heat to penetrate the dough, raise its temperature and cook it,

If your crust is overdone, reduce the temperature next time. If the crust is under done, increase the temperature next time. (And yes, you can cover a loaf to stop browning and inccrease the temperature to increase browning on a loaf you are working on. However, my goal is to not have to play with the oven.)

 

If your crumb is overdone, bake the bread less time the next time. If the crumb is underdone, leave the bread in a bit longer.

However, these two things are related, so you may have to play with the time and temperature a few times to get it right.

 

How can you tell when the bread is done? Some people like to thump the bread. I've never found that to work for me. I prefer to use a chef's thermometer. Start by baking the bread to 205F, and then use higher or lower numbers to suit your taste on subsequent loaves.

A final hint... most of the flavor of bread is in the crust, and most bakers underbake the bread. Professor Calvel went so far as to say that bread could not be burned, and encouraged home bakers to increase the bake time by 5 minutes each time you bake a recipe until you've gone too far and then back off a bit. He overstates things a bit, but his main point is correct, most bakers underbake their bread. So.... go a bit further!

Good luck,

Mike

home_mill's picture
home_mill

Thanks Mike - good information

holds99's picture
holds99

Home_Mill

If your stone is in the middle or upper third of your oven, where the heat rises to and stays, then the top of the loaf will get a larger dose of heat and maybe that's burning the tops.  I keep my rack with the stone in the rack slot directly above the bottom rack slot with the sheet pan on the rack directly under the stone where I pour the water to create the steam.  If the tops are getting scorched and the bottoms are o.k. it sounds like the rack may be too high in the oven. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

home_mill's picture
home_mill

Howard, 

Yes it is in the upper third of the oven partly because like you I have a sheet pan in rack below it to pour water in for steam. I will try lowering the rack next time. I wonder why my sandwich loafs don't have the burning problem though?

holds99's picture
holds99

Home_mill,

Re: your sandwich loaves, only thing I can think of is that the sides of the sandwich loaves are protected by the bread pan you're baking them in and perhaps they don't rise as high, during oven spring and therefore aren't as vulnerable to the heat that accumulates in the top of the oven.  If the dough is the same and the height of the rise in the oven is the same, with the rack in the same postion for both type of loaves...well, I really don't know.  Just keep adjusting and trying things.  Recently I've been baking my boules in a pre-heated Dutch oven which eliminates the scortching problem.  I recently posted a blog with some pics of Rustic Country Bread (boule) that I baked in a Dutch oven and it came out fine.  Just take the lid off the Dutch oven during the final 10 minutes of baking so the top gets nice and brown. I just placed the Dutch oven on the stone, which was on the next to lowest rack setting in the oven and it worked out fine.  Hope you figure it out.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

home_mill's picture
home_mill

Oops forgot - I bake the sandwich loaf at 350 and the Boule at 425 so there is a big difference right there.

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Glad you figured it out and it was nothing having to do with your oven thermostat.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL