The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crust on baguettes

Lilpastrysplashy's picture

Crust on baguettes

I am extremely excited because yesterday I made 4 baguettes that had a wonderfull and open crumb.  I decided to go against the grain (no pun indended), and just not knead the dough.  Instead I made an extremely wet dough (about 80% hydration) and did the stretch and fold method. I would then let the dough rise for 45 mins. and repeat the stretch and fold method again.  I did this five times.  Afterward I shaped and baked and they turned out great!!! I wish I had a camera that I could take pictures with...but I don't.

Although I do have just one question, My baguettes came out pretty small and the crust was crispy, but had a very pale color.  I think it might be because I had no sugar in the dough, or I just had too much yeast ( I used 2 Tsp.)  But I am really not quite sure, but other than the crust problem, I loved the way the bread turned out.  

So if anyone has any recomendations or hints on the crust, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


judsonsmith's picture

Without knowing how much flour is in your formula I'm not sure if 2 tsp is too much but often poor crust color does result from an over-active fermentation - too much leavening or too high dough temp, that sort of thing- where the yeast consume too much of the available sugars in the dough, leaving too little to give your crust that wonderful color from the maillard reaction. 

It could also simply be an oven temp. that is too low, in a commercial oven 450 F up 480 or so is (usually) best for baguettes. 

If all else has been taken care of, some bakers add diastatic malt (in relatively small quantities, from .1 to .5% of flour weight is common) to their baguette dough to help facilitate a deeper crust color (amongst other things)

Hope that was helpful,


Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

I second the temp thing, it could be the culprit.

But iw ould also like to add higher hydrations doughs often need a bit more time in the oven than lower % doughs to get that extra boost in color, but often have less of a shiny finish.

dghdctr's picture

Briefly -- you need to make certain that no papery skin forms before loading the loaves in the oven, and then there must be ample steam to avoid creating that skin during the first 10 minutes or so of the baking cycle.

-- Dan DiMuzio