The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Not a crunchy crust

will_raymo2000's picture

Not a crunchy crust

I have recently gone back to basics after a break from baking for about 6 months. I started on lesson 1 and was very impressed then moved onto lesson 2 and the result was amazing. A much tastier bread than I used to make and the crumb was lovely. The only issue was the crust. It was very chewy and was very soft. I'm thinking maybe I just didnt leave it in the oven for long enough?

I cooked at high temp (250*C) for 15mins with steam from a tray/icecubes and then lowered temp (200*C) for another 15mins.


Any suggestions?


Doc.Dough's picture

i suspect that your oven never got back up to 250c after you put the ice cubes in. calculate the total energy required to melt, then heat to boiling, then boil off the ice. then calculate how long the heating element in the oven would have to be on to do that. only after that will the oven have a chance to heat up to where you want it. and this ignores the energy that goes into baking the bread and evaporating the 15€ percent of dough weight that is lost during the bake.

so steam less and bake until the core temperature of the loaf is 195c  - irrespective of how long it takes.


Chuck's picture

Agreed, in my experience the "ice cube" method of generating steam that seems to work for some commercial bakers just doesn't work very well in a home oven.

If you want to steam the whole oven, investigate other alternatives such as "lava rocks" or "rolled towels" or "holey pie tin" or "old nuts and bolts". It seems to work just as well to steam just the bread rather than the whole oven, by covering the loaves for the first 10-15 minutes (cheap foil roasting pan from supermarket, or le creuset or dutch oven, or old-fashioned roasting pan, or search "magic bowl", or etc.). (I spray-mist the inside of my cover just before covering my loaves, but I'm not sure that's necessary.)

My response to your initial question: What was the internal crumb temperature of the loaf when you took it out of the oven? Did it "sound done" by the thump test? How did you know the loaf was done baking?

My experience is using the clock works the second time, when I already know just how long baking really takes. (Also, just in case it matters, my experience is that crust color is a very poor indicator of doneness:-)

If you try everything else and still have the problem, next try steaming only 10 minutes rather than 15 minutes. A "really thick" crust sounds to me like either too low a temperature or too much steam.