The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sourdough Bread Crust

EvaGal's picture

Sourdough Bread Crust

My first question on the forum is what to add to my sourdough bread to tenderize the crust.  I've made some progress in the right direction by adding 1T olive oil to the dough, and to the first rising bowl. Why? A sensitive filling.  It's a six month long saga off-topic!


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, EvaGal.

Welcome to TFL!

Enriching your dough with milk (substituting for some of the water) will result in a more tender crust and crumb. You can also add some potato to the dough. You can soften the crust by brushing it with milk or butter right after it comes out of the oven.

Now, my advice would be to find a recipe which is tried and true and has a tender crust. It may not be a sourdough bread, but you can convert just about any bread that calls for commercial yeast to sourdough.

I'm a crispy/crunchy crust guy myself, but others may nominate favorite soft crust breads. 

I sure hope your dental issue gets resolved. 


Aussie Pete's picture
Aussie Pete

Hi, EvaGal.

I use about a third of my flour mix with semolina flour. I find it provides a softer chewy crust and crumb effect on the my final result.

What Mr Synder has said about using milk is very correct as well from my short time bread baking. You can also brush your dough with milk just prior to placing in a hot oven. This provides a brown soft crust also. Maybe it's my very old electric oven but I have trouble getting a well tanned crust so I brush with milk.

Enjoy the recomendations...............Pete

EvaGal's picture

Thank you for the suggestions. Today's loaves contained 1/2 cup semolina flour.  I and the family like the creamy taste and tender interior.  I need a still tenderer crust, so Saturday's loaves will have a bit of milk in the liquid as well as my 6 year old semolina flour. (I was going to make noodles with it back then, but discovered lack of counter or table space was an insurmountable obstacle.)


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Is that whole grain semolina? How have you stored it? I think that would be making it's way to my garden to feed plants.

I just threw out some whole wheat white flour that was about 3 months old. I don't have large freezer space right now so it was pantry stored. I won't keep it past 2 months in the pantry as I can taste the difference.

Just got a mill and now I'll really be able to tell the difference. The smell when I was fermenting my breads yesterday with freshly milled flour was incredible.

There really is a difference in performance and taste. Even white flour is better when fresher. I replace that about every 6 months if it hasn't been used up.

EvaGal's picture

6 months--wow! And it was stored in a double plastic bag in a damp & moldy travel trailer that entire time.  Since I only have about 1 1/2 cups left, I'll buy more this week. So, the crust will be more tender with newer semolina flour? 


Jolly's picture

Eva Gal:

I'm having the same problem, I'm a very slow healer.


I had to stop baking chewy artisan breads and finally made the switch to soft sandwich breads. I bought Peter Reinhart's latest book "artisan breads everday"


I converted Reinhart's soft white sandwich bread and his everday 100% whole wheat loaf to sourdough. These two recipes produced nice soft crust it wonderful to chew bread again.


His recipe calls for 2 oz. vegetable oil, or 56.6 grams, 1 whole egg, honey or sugar, and milk. any kind of milk such as whole, skim, buttermilk, or powdered dry milk.


I decided to mix up both recipes and selected the dry powder milk from (Bob's Red Mill). The winner was the everyday 100% whole wheat sandwich loaf.


Sourdough Starter---I used 166% hydration sourdough starter for each of Reinhart's recipe, about 170 grams. Should you have the book use this amount of starter.


Flour---I used Montana Milling Natural White All Purpose flour, which is 100% whole wheat but looks like all purpose flour.


I also wanted a different bread to eat besides a sandwich bread. So I decided to look for an English muffin recipe. Found 4 recipes baked up all the recipes, the muffins were to hard to chew.


I said, "OK!...I know what I want, the English muffins will need to be light so when I bite into the muffin it won't hurt my teeth. And I want flavor so I'll use sourdough.


Then I decided to check through my Laurel's Kitchen bread book and on pages 259-261 she explains how to make the perfect English muffins. Previous to that I had already baked up 4 different recipes of English muffins.


By the time I got through baking 4 more batches I finally developed my recipe and produced a light, slightly chewy English muffin with scads of hole. You can cut these muffins with a knife all the way through and see all the nooks and crannies for butter and jam to fall into. You don't need a fork to help create the nooks and crannies for these muffins.


My New English Muffins recipe---produced huge muffins 1 1/2 inches in height, width of the muffin 4 1/4 -inches. Since the muffins are filled with scads of holes, the holes help lighten the muffins considerably. I'm a happy camper when I can bite into an English muffin and can actually chew without my teeth hurting.


English muffin sandwiches are awesome.


Eva Gal, I had one tooth crowned and it never healed properly. Decided to go and have it checked out. I learned I had an infection in my gum where the crown was located. I took tinctures of Oregon grape to kill the infection, astragalus to promote healing, and white willow bark for the discomfort. It's amazing how fast herbal tinctures work.





EvaGal's picture

Thanks Jolly for the ideas.  I'll learn how to make a tincture.  I was trying to avoid adding too many calories to the bread.  The recipe starts to sound like a rich brioche with eggs and milk and oil and sugar. Shaping English Muffins sounds intriguing, and they are very popular with the family.