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Crackly crust surprise

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Crackly crust surprise


I baked a couple boules of Susan from San Diego's "Original" favorite sourdough today.



I used BRM Dark Rye and KAF Sir Lancelot high-gluten flours. The bread was delicious - even better than usual - with our dinner of Dungeness Crab Cakes and a green salad with mustard vinaigrette. My wife even cut herself an extra slice after she'd finished her dinner. I gotta tell you: That's unprecedented. Still, not surprising. The bread was exceptionally yummy.


The surprise was that the crust, while fairly thick and wonderfully crunchy, developed crackles like crazy.



I'd convinced myself that this kind of crackly crust was achieved (at least by me) only when using lower gluten flour. But there it is. Another theory shot to heck!


I wish I knew how I did it. 


David

Comments

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

G'day David.


The crust must have been yummo, but what's got me going looking at your pics is the CRUMB! Oh my my...

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Yes, indeed. The crust was exceptional. Very sweet.


David

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

David,


How much rye is in the recipe?  That cracking is reminiscent of the crust seen on many rye breads.


Jeff

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I used the same recipe I posted previously. See http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/11321/susan-san-diego039s-quotoriginal-sourdoughquot


I don't think the rye can be credited with the crackling crust. 


David

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Now I am confused....there is no rye listed in the recipe.


Jeff

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Sorry. My mistake. (Excuse: Too many posts on the same bread with minor variations.)


Substitute dark rye flour for the whole wheat flour. Substitute hi-gluten flour for the bread flour. Everything else is the same as in the linked post. (I think.)


David

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I agree, not nearly enough rye in there to bring about that wonderful cracking.


Jeff

ehanner's picture
ehanner

What a great looking crust David. I have attributed this look to the crumb being well baked and the crust being properly dried (a trick learned from you). My belief is the crumb is contracting as it cools after baking, pulling inward and cracking the exoskeleton structure. If the crumb isn't well done and gummy or moist, it won't contract as well.


Your crumb image confirms a well baked loaf and nicely caramelized crust. Really beautiful bread. Bravo!


Eric

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I agree regarding the mechanics of crust crackling, except I think it's just the crust that's contracting, not so much the crumb.


I just don't know exactly why I got it this time and usually don't. I didn't alter the procedure, oven temp., etc. The only difference might be that the effective dough hydration was lower than usual - same hydration as usual but with high gluten/more absorbent flour. Thus, less moisture is moving from the crumb to the crust as the loaves cool.


Any other thoughts?


David

apprentice's picture
apprentice

I've been experimenting with this for the last 3 years, trying to duplicate the light rye bread of my youth (Winnipeg Rye, I'm told something like Milwaukee because the bakers came from the same region in the old countries). A crackly crust was part of the magic - just one part but an important one.


Crackle happened for me in February this year. Couldn't have been more excited than if I'd won the lottery, so I documented everything that might be the cause. Have been repeating these steps ever since with good results. Not sure which is the true factor. Maybe all of them?



  • cornstarch glaze (Glezer's) after slashing, not before

  • oven at 450 first 10 minutes, lowered to 420 for balance of bake

  • preheat cast iron fry pan on lower shelf, add 1/2 c boiling water for steam, small pie pan of 5 or 6 ice cubes bottom of the oven for humidity, good spray of oven above loaves at the start

  • spray again briefly after 3 or 4 minutes

  • at 10 minute mark, open oven briefly to remove fry pan & ice cube pan (also rotate sheet pan at that time)

  • resist lowering oven heat towards the end (I always want to!)

  • resist adding too much extra water in the mixing/shaping process

  • make sure bread's really done! Not just internal temp but how much the sides "give" to slight pressure

  • occasionally turn off the oven, prop it open and let the bread dry off another 5 minutes or so.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thanks for sharing your experience.


Your procedures are very similar to mine where they matter IMO. I don't think the glaze is a factor. I'm not sure about the extra spraying after 3-4 minutes, but I'm wondering. Sometimes I do this. Sometimes I don't.


I'm sure that some of your factors are important: Initial hot oven. Good steaming. Low hydration. Drying the loaf after it's done baking.


I'll have to implement these next rye bread bake.


David

Susan's picture
Susan

Sourdough presents you with highs and lows in your breadmaking.  Yeast is sorta like an antidepressant, it takes off the highs and lows and keeps you safely in the middle with consistently pretty bread.


NICE bread, David!  A real high.


Susan from San Diego

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

With nice feedback like yours, who needs Prozac?


And special thanks for the recipe! Of your various "favorites," this one remains mine.


David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

How about that crust and the crumb looks devine!  How is your kitchen temperature/humidity?  It's getting ready for an absorbsent one here : ) we are long overdue!


Sylvia

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My kitchen was probably in the high 60's and dry.


Rain is forecast for here next week.


David

kutzeh's picture
kutzeh

Our Polish Bakery, now extinct, made sour dough rye and 1/2 rye breads. I grew up with this bread and home made kielbasa, smoked with fruit wood.


The loaves were long, had a shiny, very crackled thin, dark crust and tasty, fine, light, not dense crumb, with or without caraway seeds. I spoke with one baker and he said they used white, rye flour. I found the flour made a recipe I found on line and used a cornstarch wash as per recipe, but it wasn't shiny or crackled and not as good.


I have never seen this bread anywhere else. It was yummy...if anyone has seen this anywhere or has a recipe, let me know, I will buy it and even try baking it...even if if does take several days!!!!

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

Hi David,


Great looking loaves!


I saw your photos yesterday, and they got me thinking about what could be the source of your impressive cracks in the crust. The first thing that came to mind, is that you perhaps steamed these loaves better/more efficiently than previous breads? As far as I know, more steam during the initial part of the baking, results in a thinner crust formation. One would think that a thin, crispy crust is more fragile and more susceptible to cracks when cooling (due to the quick fall in ambient temperature). Less steam would make for a thick, robust crust.


What do you think?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Well ... In the first place, my steaming method was unchanged from recent practice. Second, the crust on these boules was on the thick and crunchy side not thin and crispy.


After considering all of the variables I can imagine impacting crust cracking, the one I did vary was hydration - It was lower than the breads I've been baking for a while.


I'm thinking of making a bread I'm very familiar with, say Greenstein's Jewish Sour Rye, with a lower hydration than usual. This bread should have a thin, crispy, crackly crust, and I've never gotten it. Maybe also bake it under cover for the first part. That usually gives me the thinner crust, as you say.


Stay tuned!


BTW, can I assume your thesis defense is now history?


David

hansjoakim's picture
hansjoakim

I see!


Hmm. So... perhaps a high hydration dough, with higher moisture retention, keeps the crust somewhat softer and more flexible after baking, inhibiting cracking?


Your experiments are truly interesting, David.


PS: Yes, it's history! *phew* And I'm still alive :)

kutzeh's picture
kutzeh

David,


If you can figure this out I will take the time to bake it. The crumb was not dense and I'm assuming the white rye in the 1/2 rye bread, as they called it, might account for a lighter texture. But thinking back, the whole rye was not dark and dense either. I can get the recipe but it is for bulk dough. The baker is my cousin and hopefully he remembers. Perhaps you can downsize it.


Patti


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

If you can get the formula in baker's percentages, scaling is a snap. Otherwise, it's still just math.


David

kutzeh's picture
kutzeh

I just spoke with the elderly baker. He has the recipe for 100 loaves in the attic and if he finds it, he will share.


I questioned him and this is all he remembered. ..Sourdough was started nite before with 1/2 white rye flour, added more water & white rye flour in morning just before using. They used yeast.


For 1/2 rye...They used "clear flour" addition, ..never heard of this. Did not slash. Used starch glaze (dosen't remember if it was cornstarch) before putting in oven and once more.


For whole rye they used pumpernickle flakes, white rye and baked as above. Did not use steam.


Both were with or without caraway seeds.


Not much info, hopefully I will get more as he remembers.


How do you upload pix? I ddon't see a link.


 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

From what you've related so far, the formula sounds standard. First Clear flour is also known as "Common Flour." It is the traditional wheat flour for Jewish Sour Rye bread and Jewish pumpernickel. You can order it from King Aruthur 'Flour.


David

kutzeh's picture
kutzeh

got the pix  link


thanks


 

kutzeh's picture
kutzeh

Thanks David...You do so well uploading pix. I tried and got a square with a red dot and no pix. What did I do wrong?


 


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

What you describe usually means the photo is too big.


The photo uploading FAQ does talk about resizing photos for uploading.


I almost always upload from my own computer (although I do have online storage options). I personally use Photoshop Essentials for editing photos, including resizing. But any photo editing software (and there are several free good ones) that has a "Save for the web" option will do the trick.


Although TFL posts can accommodate 800 x 600 pixel photos, I never upload photos larger than 640 x 480.


Note: If your digital camera allows you to set the image size and resolution (pixels/inch), taking your bread photos at the settings you want to upload saves you from having to edit them further. 


Hope this helps.


David

jlevinmd's picture
jlevinmd

Been doing the no-knead thing for a while and got it down pretty much. Loaves come out beautiful with a crisp crust but after cooling for 20-30 minutes  on a wire rack the crust loses its crunch. Is there a way to keep the crunch? Any advice?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, jlevinmd.


I don't make "no-knead" bread à la Lahey, but I understand it is a high-hydration dough. There is a lot of moisture in the crumb that is going to migrate to the crust as the bread cools.


One solution is to uncover the bread earlier in the bake to get a thicker, crunchier, darker crust. Another is to leave the loaf in the oven, uncovered, with the oven turned off and the oven door ajar for 10 minutes after the loaf is fully baked. This will allow more of the moisture in the crust to evaporate. It will stay crisp longer.


I don't know whether you will get a "crackling crust," but it should not get soft as fast.


Hope this helps.


David

jlevinmd's picture
jlevinmd

thanks much. will try it soon.