The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Color balance

pjkobulnicky's picture

Color balance

I have been fooling around with a general purpose focaccia dough turned into pull-apart rolls. You simply put whatever savory filling you like on the top of the stretched out dough, cut the dough into strips, roll the strips into twists and then put the twists into a roasting pan lined with parchment to rise. They then get baked at 475-500 for 20-25 minutes. I usually take them out at 20 minutes, brush with butter or olive oil, sprinkle with a seed or sea salt and then finish for a couple more minutes. They are terrific, with lovely dark brown crusts and stringy, chewy white interiors. Now, here is my probelm for which I would like some creative suggestions.

I can also turn these into wonderful sweet rolls. Instead of a savory filling, I do cinnamon, sugar, currants and chopped walnuts (or make up your own sweet filling). Every thing else is the same ... except I brush the top with butter and sprinkle raw sugar crystals on top. They come out with beautiful dark brown crusts, creamy white insides and nearly burnt bottoms ... the outcome of sugar and high baking temps.

I want to keep the dark brown crusts but minimize the sugar burning. If I bake below 400 the bottoms are not as likely to burn but the tops are paler. I have thought about putting the pan on top of another upside-down jellyroll pan to lessen heat transfer to the bottom and/or to put the pan up higher in the oven.  Any other thoughts? I want to bake at as high of a temp as I can and still minimize burning on the bottom.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

flournwater's picture

Color balance?  You must have some experience with photography.

Four ideas:

1.  Wait until the internal temperature is about five degrees below what you'd expect to call "done", sprinkle with sugar and sip under the prheated broiler for a scant few (perhaps less) minutes or so.

2 Sprinkle with sugar and return to the oven with a piece of foil resting on top and leave just long enough to melt the sugar crystals.

3.  Wait until they're done, sprinkle with the sugar and used the creme brulee method of torching the sugar with careful flame control.

4.  Make a simple syrup with the sugar, allow it to brown (caramelize) to the degree you like and brush it on the finished sweet rolls.

pjkobulnicky's picture

Sorry ... I am fine with the tops at the high temps. I want tips on keeping the bottom a bit cooler when I bake at higher temps.

flournwater's picture

I guess I misunderstood "I want to keep the dark brown crusts but minimize the sugar burning."

xaipete's picture

Double-panning should solve your problem. You don't need to turn the pan upside down. Just put one on top of the other.


BNLeuck's picture

My oven seems to generate a lot of heat on the bottom versus the top (it's ooooooold) so I always put my baking pan of choice on top of two old, heavy muffin pans nested together. I think any thick metal pans would work fine, though. It's kept my bread from burnt bottoms many a time.

pjkobulnicky's picture

Ok consensus is that I focus on double panning. I'll do that and see how close I can get to 475 with double pans and not get scortched bottoms.

BTW ... just to clarify ... baking at high temps works REALLY well for savory buns (no problems at all), gives me great oven spring, gives me a wonderful and flavorful dark crust and gives me a terrific stringy crumb. I just have to keep the bottoms of my sweet rolls from scorching.


SylviaH's picture

The double layer cookie sheets..many brands are available..some say you can bake up to 450F without the bottoms scorching or overbrowning.  I have even seen them in the grocery stores!