The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hard Crust in hummid environment

bakingadict's picture
bakingadict

Hard Crust in hummid environment

Its been a while since I've created anything on the forum, but have looked and used many a recipe for breads from this site. I am living now in Arkansas in the Delta were its very HUMMID and have had wonderful luck with sourdough starter and sourdough bread, its soft and its different tasting everytime I make them because of the weather of course. I take these and sell them at the local farmer's market along with cinamon rolls and yeast bread.

The problem im having is getting the crust to be hard, i use he watet in the oven and it turs out great I even leave them out or put them in a paper bag for a couple days but its still soft-my clients have not complained. I did have a request for a hard crusted bread and I know that french bagett is hard crtusted, however i do not have a French Bread holder-if you know what I mean a cilinder to keep the bread round while rising. Anyone here have any suggestions on tricks on doing without this?

Appreciate answere in advance...

 

mido_mijo's picture
mido_mijo

The problem im having is getting the crust to be hard, i use he watet in the oven and it turs out great I even leave them out or put them in a paper bag for a couple days but its still soft-my clients have not complained. I did have a request for a hard crusted bread and I know that french bagett is hard crtusted, however i do not have a French Bread holder-if you know what I mean a cilinder to keep the bread round while rising. Anyone here have any suggestions on tricks on doing without this?

After cooling period, you have to leave hard crusted breads outside, and soft breads inside a bag.

You can purchase baguette pans for home use to get that rounded baguette shape. Otherwise you'd use a floured couche to keep the baguette shape.

 

 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

It's likely that if you look more closely, you'll find that the crust changes back and forth from hard to soft several times. The different changes at the different stages happen for different reasons, so it may not be very useful to try too hard to identify "the one cause".

I'd suggest trying to pin down more specifically if your particular problems are a) as soon as it comes out of the oven, or b) after an hour or two, or c) the next day, or... Maybe for example the baking is just fine, but the storage method creates problems later.

I think it's likely that the humidity is doing nothing more than exaggerating a problem that at root is due to something else. The amount of humidity in the air is a whole lot smaller than some of the other factors (including storage).

One trick for producing an "extra crunchy" crust right after baking is to turn the oven off, open the oven door several inches, and put the bread back in for another 10 minutes. (But the effects of making the crust "extra crunchy" like this right after baking will likey be "swamped out" by the root problem after a day or two.)

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

I live in SE Michigan and i can tell from on days with increased humidity, it does indeed affect the outcome of our breads.  on a day to day basis our breads turn out jsut fine, but when you have the days that are so humid the fog up the glass...you can bet a dollar or two your gonna get soft crust no matter what.  I have yet to find a way to combat this, its rather anoying!!!

bakingadict's picture
bakingadict

Thanks all of you. I have tried to leave the bread out for a couple days-and as soon as I put it in a plastic bag it turns soft again. I never had this problem in WV were there is very little hummidity.

I will be trying it maybe without the water in the oven? maybe this will help the crust harden? I will also be trying the french bagette this week, will let you know how it turns out.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

> I will be trying it maybe without the water in the oven? maybe this will help the crust harden? <

After you try this, let us know what happens; lots of folks (including me:-) are very interested.

My guess is that omitting steam will cause more problems than it cures. (My further guess is that it won't do very much toward crisping the crust anyway, because what you need is something near the end of the bake rather than near the beginning.) What I'd try instead is the extra ten minutes in the oven post-bake with the oven off and the door partway open.

Putting loaves in plastic bags always causes the crust to get a little bit softer than it already is, so if it's already borderline, the bagging will push it over the edge. Can you change your procedure to not bag until the last minute, so the crust doesn't have much time to soften, and make it work that way? (Also, try to keep bagged loaves fairly cool, as heat on a bagged loaf just makes the crust softening even worse.)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

selling them as a bread to pop into a hot oven for 10 minutes before serving.  Put a sticker on the bag (like the one that seals the folded over bag) with quick instructions.  Something like:

"We know our baguettes are good but if you like yours crust crispy style, remove the bag and pop them onto a hot (350°F) oven rack for ten minutes!  Careful when removing, Enjoy!"