The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crust very thin and quite soft on SF Sourdough from Reinhart's Artisian Breads Every Day - suggestions or alternative recipes?

Hank Gurdjieff's picture
Hank Gurdjieff

Crust very thin and quite soft on SF Sourdough from Reinhart's Artisian Breads Every Day - suggestions or alternative recipes?

I was starting to post this and decided to search more before asking. Seems this was covered in the past in the following thread a while back:

The OP in that thread had exactly the same issue with the same recipe: thin, soft crust. Anyone try this recipe and get a thicker, crisp and crackly crust?

I got wonderful crackly crusts using the same steaming setup with the first couple of recipes in the book: Lean Bread and Classic French Bread. I don't know enough to understand what causes the differences in recipes, so I don't know what to change.

It is a 68% hydration (according to someone online, didn't check)* and baked at 450 (preheated to 500).

I don't have a stone, and my steam comes from pouring boiling water in a large, deep stainless steel tray (a water tray from a caterer's warming tray thingy that was at the office). I get a huge boiling rush when I pour the water in, have tried spraying by hand w/ sprayer before pouring boiling water in.

I'll try lower temperature for longer as suggested in the older thread, but still wanted to ask if it is something noticable about the recipe.

dabrownman's picture

has a great SF SD called SFBI from his time a the San Francisco Baking Institute, that he perfected over many bakes.  He has the crust you want but yo will need to do different steaming, I recommend Sylvia's method of putting a rolled up kitchen towel in a half filled Pyrex loaf pan of water that is heated in the microwave - I use 2 of them plus a 12" iron skillet that I throw a cut of hot water in when the bread goes in.  You need a stone to get a great crust too.

Go to dmsnyder blog though the search function.  He is a fine baker and a great teacher.  He has all kinds of fantastic breads to try.  We love the Pugliesi Capriosso too.   Very similar to SF Sourdough.  He also has hos pown vewry good steaming method he developed.  Make sure to bake the interior to 205 F too.  Davind likes to leave his bread on teh stone woith the oven off and door slightly ajar for 10 minutes after it finishes baking to get the crust just right. 

Ocelaris's picture

I know you said you don't have a baking stone, but I think it's been a great addition to my breads. But I think the key is just really hot like 450-500* if you really want it crispy. I use a 12" iron skillet in the bottom of the oven for steam, and have the oven on at least 30minutes, preferrably an hour before bake. Then I put a cup or two of as hot as the tap will make water in the iron skillet and it takes about 25 minutes. Although I don't like it too crispy, so 25 is tops. 

I do a 

Hank Gurdjieff's picture
Hank Gurdjieff

Beautiful bread!

OK, looks like I need to break down and get a stone sooner rather than later. I hadn't seen dmsnyder's blog - LOTS of well presented recipies. I actually didn't know to look in the blogs. There is a lot more here than I knew. I'm about to start another loaf, I'll try the Pugliesi Capriosso for a change. I have the duram flour from pasta making. Then back to the sourdough quest.

I also need a banneton. Stone first, though.



dabrownman's picture

some others of note but not all; txarmer, pips, ananda, varda, franko, mebakes, hanseata, isand66, sweetbird, zolablue, mwilson, breadsong,  shaio-ping, Juergen Krauss, hansjokim and so many others I will remember later.  When you see a post you like,  search under their handle followed by blog and up it comes.  This is one of the best things  about TFL.  Many others  that no longer post much are a wealth of nowledge too.

You will also like David's San Joaquin Sourdough too.  Besides the two sheet pans for a stone you can use a collander ore anyu bowl lined with a lint free kitchen towel cloth that is sprinkled well with a mix of Ap and rice flour.  I use cheap baskets found at Goodwill for a buck or less. Buy Dutch Ovens and bread machines there all the time too.  You don't need a lot of fancy stuff to make good bread but they are nice to have eventually.

Happy baking

joyfulbaker's picture

But in the interim, doubled baking sheets preheated in the hot oven will work nicely.

Any relation to G.I. Gurdjieff the philosopher?

Hank Gurdjieff's picture
Hank Gurdjieff

Thank you dabrownman  and joyfullbaker! Took me a long time to get back to the computer, as often happens. Doesn't mean I don't appreciate the help!

I tried picking up some fire bricks or a large plant pot and tray from the local garden and home store yesterday, but they were closed for some reason. I'll try the doubled baking sheet tonight. A real stone is definitely on my list!

I also have some cloth in the wash on their own that I hope will work, hadn't thought about the collander. I was eyeing a bunch of perfect baskets lining the top of the cupboard at my mother-in-law's house... shame that they're only sitting there decorating (and collecting dust! probably that, more than scruples, kept me from borrowing them... though I do adore her).

No relation (say my username three times fast, it was just something easy to remember)