The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Keeping crispy crust after baking ??

kmcquade's picture
kmcquade

Keeping crispy crust after baking ??

As a home baker, I have tried all the tricks to getting good crusts for my breads: the sprayer, the pan of H20 , the covered breads etc... I have also tried the technique of letting breads cool in a turned off oven with the door open after baking -

For the most part my crusts are excellent out of the oven - (see Examples at https://picasaweb.google.com/107815389641751373566/KevinsBreadsAndPizza?authuser=0&feat=directlink)

...However ,  the problem is that when the breads fully cool,  the crispy crust softens right away. I cannot sems to get a crust that retains its crispyness.  I have bought bread from local bakeries fully cooled that have  nice crispy crusts for 2 days! - How Do they do that ??

Kevin

 

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

What kind of breads from the local bakeries that still have the crispy crust for days?

For me, even bread from the local bakery still needs to be toasted in order to have a crispy crust. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That may have a lot to do with the crust softness.

lizzybob's picture
lizzybob

Using an egg wash across the top, prior to baking gives a nice hard, shiny crust.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Many additions beyond flour, water & salt create softer crusts so this could be the issue.    When loaves leave the oven with a crisp crust, that crust then softens over time.  If left out to air in moderate to low humidity, the crust will firm up again.  This is assuming there are not other factors preventing this.

Jeff

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

"Dry it out" more. After the bread is done, turn off the oven, crack the oven door open a little, and leave the bread in the oven for 5 - 10 extra minutes(or more).

kmcquade's picture
kmcquade

Thanks so much for the replys.

In answer to comments.

I bake mostly lean breads - so its not because of other additions to the flour such as eggs and milk etc....  Egg washes are nice for enriched breads like Challah but not used with most lean breads such as Baguettes,  Sourdoughs etc..... I have tried the leaving the bread to cool in a hot open with door ajar.  The comment about humidity might just be the key - I live in seattle and weather is damp and cool most of the time - so that could be a factor.

Sure I can always put the bread back in the oven to crisp up the crusts - But I just expect the crusts to maintain their nice - just out of the oven  crispness for at least the  the bake day . Do your bread crusts soften as soon as your bread cools completely too ??

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

There's a well known restaurant chain the SF Bay Area that serves crispy bread crusts in their restaurant chain. I call the waiter over and have a chat with them every time about their bread - finally we get to the point where their bread is delivered from a central factory source and warmed in their "own" bread ovens.  "Gee" I say, "warmed over oven bread" - "I am impressed"...., 

Crusts will atemporate with local atmospheric conditions - the crust will absorb available moisture from the atmosphere - if you want really crispy crust bread I suggest trying it in Phoenix, Arizona [outdoors] in July.  No problem with crispy crusts then and there...,

Wild-Yeast

ninjacito's picture
ninjacito

probably humidity. I live in Tucson, AZ and my bread crust stays crisp without having to do anything to make it that way, but it's really hot here with almost no humidity.

lazybaker's picture
lazybaker

The baguettes that I made end up with a soft crust once they cool down. The moisture escapes from within the baguettes and softens the crust.

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

Well, I just tried the egg wash on my whole wheat bread with honey recipe that is discussed on this forum and I don't see that much change. As the loaves cool, they get progressively soft.

One thing I have done, since I bake 4 loaves at a time, is to take one out of the freezer; let it defrost over night and then blast it with heat at 400 for 15 mins. It does make it crispy but the loaf won't last as long with the creamy texture that I like....

In the original recipe it called for skim milk that it has been suggested I omit; so that is not part of my recipe.

Just the usual with bread flour, water, ww flour-30%, honey and eggs.

Everything is fine but no chewy crust at all....

cb

 

 

 

mattie405's picture
mattie405

Kevin,

    From one mcquade to another those are certainly some beautiful breads you have on your photo page. I only wish mine came out that good looking!

mattie

breaducation's picture
breaducation

You need to bake your bread longer. When I worked at a restuaurant baking the same bread every day I started out baking my bread at around 500 degrees for about 15 minutes and then at 450 for another 25-30. I thought the results were great. I got a nice thin crust. Then I went and got a loaf of bread at tartine and noticed that the crust stayed crisp the entire time I had it, probably 5 days. I realized my loaves were going soft probably an hour or two out of the oven!

I went on a mission to figure out how to get my crust to be nice and crispy and stay that way. After much experimentation I discovered that I simply needed to bake my bread longer. You need to get the right amount of moisture out of the loaf before it is done baking because later if that moisture is left in it will be passing through the crust and making it soft.

To bake longer though I needed to turn down the oven. I still would start my loaves at high temperatures, 500-550 degrees, but then I would gradually turn the oven down lower and lower to make sure the loaf got significant bake time before coloring too much. Finishing the loaf at 400 degrees is not uncommon.

For my 3 lbs. loaves my bake would  look something like this: 525 degrees for 15 minutes, 450 for 15 minutes, 425, 10-15 minutes, 400 for 10 minutes. This would result in a well risen loaf with nice color and a crisp crust that lasts. For loaves that are smaller than this you can reduce time.

Professional bakers with professional deck ovens have a slightly different method with similar results. With deck ovens they have the ability to vent the deck by pulling a lever as well as opening the front oven door. This creates an evironment for the bread that is extremely dry. A typical 500g sourdough boule would bake for 25-30 minutes with the vents closed to get the full benefits of steam and develop color(the bread colors a lot slower once the vents are opened) and then is vented for 9-10 minutes to bake out moisture and develop the crust.

You can simulate a similar venting process with a home oven by putting something in the crack of the door (I have used a wooden spoon for this) to keep it a jar while the loaf is baking. If you go with this process you probably won't want to turn the oven down much lower than 450 because you will be losing a lot of heat with a small home oven.

Hope this helps!

 

kmcquade's picture
kmcquade

Great suggestion. I generally do turn down the temp , but only if i see it starting to get too brown too soon. I will try your suggestion for a more serial reduction and a bit longer time.

Thanks

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

breaducation

thanks so much for the suggestion; i will definitely give it a try.

country boy

rozeboosje's picture
rozeboosje

I REALLY have to get over this fear I have to "burn" my breads... It always results in me taking the loafs out as soon as they appear to look well and when I take them out they DO sound "hollow" when I tap the bottom... but it looks like I still tend to take them out too early. I keep telling myself that, but then there's a bread in the oven and I look at it and I go ZOMG THAT'S GOING TO BURN BETTER TAKE IT OUT..... *sigh*

bblearner's picture
bblearner

My batard is around 650g, I preheat my oven with its baking tray at 480F and start baking at this temperature using the magic bowl method for 10 minutes.  Lower the temperature to 450F, remove cover at 20 minutes into baking.  Bake at 450F for 5 more minutes, change to convection mode and reduce temperature to 410F for the remaining time (total baking time 40 minutes), at the same time lift the batard onto a rack in the hope of having a crispier bottom.  Still, my pain au levain's crust is leathery the next day.  Can this be improved?

Enid

pageta's picture
pageta

How are you storing the bread? If you're putting it in a bag, the crust is going to soften. If you leave it on the counter (or a cutting board) cut side down, the crust will stay drier.

bblearner's picture
bblearner

I keep my bread in a plastic bag once it is cool.  I can't leave any bread on counter - the whole bread will become very dry and inedible.

breaducation's picture
breaducation

At 650 g I would say that you could probably extend your bake to at least 50 minutes. As long as the crust isn't coloring too much it likely won't hurt the bread. You could even try going to an hour. Just make sure the oven is at a low enough temp for those last 15-20 minutes so the bread doesn't get too dark.

If you do live in a very humid area then it may not be possible to keep the crust crisp over an etended period of time as others have suggested.

If you absolutely must have a crispy crust the next day then you can always stick it back in the oven at 350 for 5-10 minutes and that will rescrisp the crust. It will probably decrease the overall life of the loaf however.

bblearner's picture
bblearner

Thank you breaducation.  I'm not actually looking for a crispy crust the next day.  What I wish is a not so leathery crust from the next day on.  At first, I thought this was impossible but I bought a pain au levain from a small bakery which crust was, of course, not crispy all through the time but was easy to bite into for a few days from purchase.

So, I'll lower the oven temperature for the 410F part to 370F and extend the total baking time to 50 minutes on my next bake.

Thank you again.  Enid

 

rozeboosje's picture
rozeboosje

.... and ? Did that work for you, Enid?

mikeone's picture
mikeone

Dear Kevin

For a crispy crust. Just befor putting your bread or buns in the oven brush with cold water then  coat this with fine semolina I use gas 6 for about 35 mins for buns and 35-40 mins for bread. kind regards Mikeone ( Michael )