The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need no knead bread with soft crust

rony_sha's picture

Need no knead bread with soft crust

Thanks to you all my wife (and kids and grand kids) likes the no knead bread (100% spelt) that I am baking.

But (why is there always a BUT), she find the hard crust too hard.

The bread is 100% spelt with 66.6% hydration following

What would happen if instead of waiting for the dutch oven to get super hot before putting the dough into it, I put the dough into it while the oven is warming up?

Will this make any changes to the crust?



lynnebiz's picture

I make a soft crust version of the no-knead bread all the time. In fact, I hope to post some photos on one I baked Friday - came out great.

What I do is this - instead of using a dutch oven, I bake the loaves on a cookie sheet. I find that using some parchment paper makes it much easier, too - after the initial rise, I spray a little oil on the paper (prob don't need to, but it doesn't hurt), and sprinkle flour on the dough in the bowl (generous). After I dump it on the parchment paper, I gently shape it into a ciabatta shape, then let it sit for a bit before I bake it (I never time anything - sorry).

Sometimes it comes out a bit flat, but this time it was near perfect.

Other things you can do to get a softer crust - you might experiment with the temperature, lower it to get a softer crust, butter the crust right after it comes out of the oven. Don't spritz the oven with water, too.

When I first started the no-knead technique, I found some videos online that showed someone even making it into baguettes. Forget where I saw that, though

hutchndi's picture

A common complaint is the opposite of what you describe, that is, the crust on this bread is soft and not crisp enough, how can one make my crust harder? It is often found that the baker is using steam for too long during the bake, allowing the crust to stay moist longer then needed. The answer for these people is to use no more than a cup of water to steam with at the very beginning. The opposite for you is  true then. If you steam for a longer time, say you put another cup in for steaming, your crust should therefore be softer.

cgmeyer2's picture

i have been using a clay baker for baking my bread. because of the soaking & possible cracking of the baker, i have to start in a cold oven. my breads come out brown & crusty but the crust is not hard. it wouldn't hurt to try this as an experiment to find out if it works.

my bread goes in a cold oven. i set the temp & when the oven reaches set temp it beeps. i then set the timer. i cook covered until the last 10 min. & then uncover. it works for me in a clay baker. it might work for other bread pans but have not tried it yet.


bobprobst's picture

The crust is formed by steaming the bread and the purpose of the dutch oven is to hold in the water as it is baked out of the bread, keeping the humidity high.  Just cook w/o a lid or take the lid off after 5 minutes.  Experiment to get the crust everyone can live with.


Warn them to stay away from my bread:  I cook mine at 500F  lid on for 30 minutes, off for 20 minutes ;).