AVOIDING TOUGH BAGUETTE CRUST
I know this topic has cropped up ad infinitum on this site and posted to the point of tearful yawn-inducing boredom but I am really REALLY trying to find an answer. Nothing seems to work.
PROBLEM: My baguette's crust is too hard. Would knock an intruder out cold with one blow! The crumb inside is beautifully soft, flavoursome and the mix of holes (high hydration) is ideal - I think. Yet, I've read on TFL that steam (within the 1st 5min) helps develop a crisp crust. However, I have ALSO read on previous postings here that to induce a softer crust one needs loads and loads of steam before the firming and caramelisation eventually takes over. A contradiction of intentions? Neither seems to work. To create steam in my 6ft single deck oven, I use a plastic cannnister pressure pump hose (the one used to spray chemicals in the garden - not the same one! - a similar one you understand!!!) I place the baguettes directly onto the pre-heated metal deck / floor of the oven at a temp of 280C (530F), spray for 10-15secs and immed. reduce to 250C (500F). I spray again (10-15secs) after 3 mins and I give a final 15secs spray after 6 mins. The temp is then reduced to 220C (425F) and the baked baguettes are pulled at 22mins. Should I be using more steam? This means a greater heat loss while I insert the nozzle of the spray hose. Less steam, perhaps?
The baguettes have a beautiful colour, lovely crumb but the crust ? oh-so hard!
Good crumb but very-very tough crust!
The watchman's "night stick" baton!!!!
Baked in a deck oven (the convection oven has to perch above - sorry, no space in the kitchen!)
And here is the formula (if that would help solve anything)
1,000g White Bread Flour
22g Fresh Bakers Yeast.