The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


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nowhereman's picture


Hi everyone, back again...hope you are all good and well...

I'm still having problems with overly tough crusts, I have tried the following so far...


Steam pan

Water spray at various points

Leaving the oven door open after baking

Putting the loaves outside to cool

Oil instead of floar coating

Flour instead of oil

Slightly higher hydration

Slightly lower hydration



Egg white only

Egg yolk only

water with salt in

water without salt

deliberate underbaking

deliberate overbaking

water spray before loaves go in

water spray during baking

water spray after baking

water spray to cool


anyone have any suggestions? I thought maybe its my oven routine rather than the dough. I have a fan assisted oven, usually this is my oven routine..


preheat with stone (middle bottom shelf) for an hour

load steam pan

loaves in at 250 celcius

water spray and close door

check after 10 minutes

if any browning then turn down to between 170 and 200

cook for round about 30 - 35 mins...

wire rack cool


cheers everyone



Nickisafoodie's picture

1) try lowering you initial temp to 218c (425F), then reduce to 204C (400F) after 10 minututes. 

2) Over steaming can result in a tough crust.  I recently made a sandwhich loaf style bread that would normally have a soft crust by design.  I steamed heavily the first 12 minutes - much more so than usual as I was focusing on ensuring good oven spring - which I achieved.  However I also got a tough crust on a recipe I made dozens of times before.  The inside was perfect but alas not my best effort.

3) After the loaves cool two hours and are barely warm, place in a plastic bag.  The redisual moisture from a loaf that is 98% cool will serve to soften the crust slightly.

I'm sure there are other ways to go too!

nowhereman's picture

Thanks for that - will try your suggestions out



nowhereman's picture

Havent tried (1) yet, but looking at (2) I stopped spraying and just used pan, seems to reduce toughness a little. So should I not leave the pan in all the way through, so that the loaf might continue to absorb moisture? (if indeed it absorbs anything, i'm not sure). (3) works very well to soften/moisten the loaf generally (i usually store in greaseproof paper wrap, then small, light re-usable plastic bags lightl tied...


Thanks for the tips will try (1) soon, also just tried underbaking, with unstable results! will look further into the matter;-)







StuartG's picture

I get thicker crusts when using a fan forced oven.  Are you able to run with regular elements?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think the bakers of the last few thousand years got along fine without them.  I'm always trying to block mine by baking inside a closed shape.

nowhereman's picture

I wish I could turn my fan off, its annoying and burns everything



nowhereman's picture

Hi there, no the fan cant be turned off or any other adjustments as it happens, so I nearly always get some burning to the crust on the area of fan blowing ...

Have recently tried backing off the baking time, seems to be working but underbaked some loaves on occasion ;-)


Will do a batch soon using lower initial temp, my normal is 250 c , might try 225, see what happens...