The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

100% whole wheat sandwich bread, crust too soft where in contact with the pan

brazilbaker's picture

100% whole wheat sandwich bread, crust too soft where in contact with the pan

Howdy! This is my first post here. Been reading this forum for some time now and found a lot of great information that really helped me on my new bread baking obsession.

I'm from Brazil and good information about bread baking here, especially sourdough and whole grains is very scarce, so a source like this one here is pure gold.

I've been baking all the bread my family eats for some months now and I don't think I'll ever get back to buying commercial bread. Mine, even when it goes wrong somehow, tastes better than any supermarket bread.

90% of the bread I bake is 100% whole wheat. On weekends we get to indulge on some white breads, though.

I've baked many breads following Laurel Robertson's instructions, which gave me a better understanding of the whole wheat and the fermentation processes, but now I'm using Peter  Reinhart's whole grains book's instructions, which issue a tastier, more dependable bread, without the hassle of kneading for 600 strokes!

Anyway, let's get to my actual question. This is the latest bread I baked here, been out of the oven just now:

I'm pretty happy with it, it had a nice rise while proofing and a very good oven spring. However, it has, as my latest breads, a crust that is too soft in the parts in contact with the pan. I bake it for 45 minutes in an oven heated to 350F, and left the temperature constant. I used no steam and my oven is a common, gas oven.

It seems to me that only these latest PR WGB breads (100% whole wheat sandwich bread) have this soft crust (btw, the top crust is fine). What could be causing this?

I took it off the oven and measured the temperature inside and it read 200F, so I know it's fully baked.

I used the wild yeast starter instead of the biga.

Could any of you help me with that?


Mebake's picture

Hi, Brazilbaker, and welcome to TFL!

I get soft crusts on my panned loaf bases, too. This happens when either one, or all of the following happens:

- The loaf pan is deep.

- The Initial baking temperature is not high enough. (You would want to start with a 420F oven, and reduce temp when you load the bread to 350F). Furthermore, it is very important to preheat the oven for 1/2 hour at least, even if it takes less time to reach the desired temperature. 

- The dough's hydration is higher than usual (>75%).

- The rack level at which the pan is placed (Higher is softer base, lower is better cooked base)

If the problem persists, then you could simply de-pan it after 30 minutes of baking time, and continue baking it bare, tipped on it's side (remember, the base is soft).

I , and many TFL members bake from those books you mentioned above. I salute you for making such a healthy choice by feeding your family wholegrains.

best wishes,


dabrownman's picture

Khalid's take on soft crust where it hits the pan.  I have to admit that I bake my loaves de-panned the last 5 minutes in its side or de-pan it turn the oven off and palce the loaf back in the oven with the door ajar for 10 minutes to crisp the crust.  Both seem to work.  We also bake nour loaves to 205 F but don't know if that will make a difference.

Nice baking!   Your loaves look very nice indeed for 100% whole wheat.

brazilbaker's picture

Thank you for the insights and for the cumpliment. I'll first try starting eith a hotter oven preheated for at least 30 min and if it doesn't work I'll give the de-panning a try.

brazilbaker's picture

Mabake, dabrownman, I just baked two breads, starting on a 425F oven, preheated for 30 min and then lowered the temp to about 350F. The crust is now the way I think it shoud be. Thanks a lot!

Mebake's picture

Glad to hear that, brazilbaker. you seem to have nailed it, Nice work!