The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Thick or Thin/Crispy Crust

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jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

Thick or Thin/Crispy Crust

I notice that the crust on most of my breads are thick and chewy.  It develops nicely, but I want to achieve a think and crispy crust,  this is my biggest complaint in the house.  Quite tough to chew.  Crumbs are developed well,  now I just need to work on getting the crust in the right texture.  Help?

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I'd like an answer to that question also.

Chausiubao's picture
Chausiubao

Explain your bread. Is it wheat, rye, sourdough, yeast leavened, do you steam, what is your steam time if you do?


Generally though, the longer you bake your bread the thicker a crust you will have, this is quite logical. However if you steam your bread, you will still be baking the bread through to the center without forming a crust. So steaming your bread as it bakes (or brushing it regularly) might get you the thinner crust you want.


Alternatively, rye and sourdough, tend to have chewier crusts, an intrinsic quality to the cultures they encourage I suppose.


 --Chausiubao

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

I was referring to the white breads, batard or baguette.  They tend to have thicker crust compare to what I like.  As for steaming, I usually spray water on the dough before putting in,  10 minutes prior to baking,  spray into the oven,  probably about 5 times,  every 10 minutes of baking, spray 10 minutes. My baking time is usually between 30-40 minutes, as my oven's temperature is off by about 10 -15 degree celsius. I'm usually able to get the golden colour,  with a little shine using the spray. 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi,


I wonder if you have any "skinning" of the dough during proof?


This will be a barrier to the thin and crispy crust you want.


good oven steaming is advisable, but looking after the dough during proof is essential, otherwise; the damage is done


Best wishes


Andy

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

that's interesting.  If I'm understanding you correctly, the skinning your refer to is a layer of skin forming after the final proof?  Most of the time yes,  I do, not thick though, a thin layer if I proof it just nicely. You mean the skin will thicken as it is being baked? I see.  But if I don't get the skin,  I won't be able to score very well I realise.  So,  what should I get upon final proof?

ZD's picture
ZD

Is skinning of the dough during proof from the humidity being too low? What is the ideal humidity for proofing? I think I have read 80%.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi ZD,


85% would be better.   A very minimal amount of skinning might be ok, but I'd do whatever to try and avoid it over prolonged proof.


Excessive skinning will always produce a horrible leathery crust.


Cheers


Andy

ZD's picture
ZD

1. Now for harder question, for nonprofessional home proofing do you have any humidity controlling advice or tricks?


2. Is a wavy cut when I slash at an angle for baguette from skinning?


Greg R

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Greg R,


Well, Andrew Whitley used to recommend a plant propogator, like so:



The temperature is set for c26*C; there is space for water underneath the green vented bases.


Large plastic boxes with tight ilds are great.   For more effect insert a bowl of warm water and fasten a light bulb higher up the box.   If that's too powerful, then house in a cupboard which is warmed with the use of lightbulbs, or a hot water tank.


The real secret is to keep the proving environment warm, but not hot, and to ensure no draughts, especially cold air, get anywhere near the proving bread.


also, try to avoid excessive final proof time.   Less than 2 hours is best; over 3 and the dough is more likely to be deteriorating.


Any good?


Best wishes


Andy


ps I don't understand question 2. sorry.

ZD's picture
ZD

What is the problem with too much humidity? Say 100% that might happen in tightly close proof box.


 


Question 2 restated. When I slash my baguettes before baking I am often getting a none straight line. It looks like a sin-wave or an ocean wave. I now think it might be from the dough drying or "skinning".


Greg R

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

What about throwing over a damp cloth, I do see a lot of instructions talking about that?  Although I guess there's very little control over the humidity level.  I do realise that even if I were to put in the fridge for cold retard,  I usually put a damp cloth over the clear wrap that covers the bowl, perhaps I was imagining,  but it seems to help the dough from skinning.  As my early days baking seems to create a thick skin like what you mentioned,  over proofing, and it dries out.  

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

I think if you try the Magic Bowl Technique, you will be closer to the crust you want.


Patricia

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

Patricia - tell us more about this tecnique?

LindyD's picture
LindyD

If you put "magic bowl" or "magic bowl technique" in the TFL search bar, you'll find tons of information on it.  Suffice it to say, the method was introduced by Susan of San Diego (not to be confused with Susan of Wild-Yeast).


Happy reading!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Eric is always stating that, calling it "Magic" but Susan got it from Martin's comment here.


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/296/baking-covered-earthenware#comment-753


This is the first thread on the subject in 2005.  Enjoy!

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

Does this mean the dough developes a dry crust while in the final ferment?


Thanks,


Patricia

ehanner's picture
ehanner

This I bought from Fantes. It works great for everything except pan breads and higher profile breads. Rolls and most of my rye free form doughs fit nicely under. If the temp is a bit cool, I position a small heating pad under the pan on Low.



Jelly Roll Pan with Plastic Lid, 13x18x1"

$17.99
#3622



Pan is 13x18x1" high,
Heavy gauge aluminum,
Lid extends 1" over the pan's edge,
Heavy plastic for transport and storage only,
5 year limited warranty
Made in  USA Made in USA
Also called a half sheet cake pan



ZD's picture
ZD

I will think about getting one.


Greg R.


 

geno4952's picture
geno4952

5.5 quart plastic storage container at Walmart for a few bucks and I use it all the time to proof my dough. Works like a charm and the dough doesn't skim over.  Just my $.02