The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

bread song

petercook's picture
petercook

bread song

I would like some input on ideas concerning getting a shattered crust. Some call it ¨alligatoring¨. The bread I´m making is called  Po'Boy bread in New Orleans. I have read much about ¨bread song¨ and it seems to me that getting that ¨song´is all about rapid temp change. Anyway, this is my question, It seems to me that when REMOVING the baked loaf from the hot oven if there is a tremendous temp change, like from 450 F rapidly down to maybe 40 or 45 F, the super rapid temp drop should shatter the hot brittle crust.  If this is true, I shoud get that bread song and a ¨shattered alligator crust¨.  What say you ? 

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

In Germany, we called it "fenstern" - the shattered crust will look like a stained-glass window. Yes, you need a good, crisp crust. When removing the loaves from the oven, the inside will cool off and shrink, therefore causing the brittle crust to shatter.

It's not always easy to achieve the desired crust for a home baker - steam and the right ingredients are crucial for the process.

Good luck,

Stephan

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I don't know about shattered crust but I know I didn't get a loaf to sing until I discovered I needed to have a certain level of dryness to the crust when I put it into a steamed oven. I usually spray my loaf during the final proof so it doesn't dry out and skin over ( and so the sesame seeds stuck better) but I discovered when I dusted with a light dusting of flour as it proved, I got singing! These were always loaes put into a HOT oven-450-500F. I also discovered that the last 5 minutes(but no more) if I propped open the oven door so any moisture could escape, it was more likely to give me a crackly crust. I didn't let it go too long because the temperature difference also played a role in that.

Amazing what you discover by accident and observation-serendipity.

petercook's picture
petercook

Wow, those are some great ideas. I never would have thought about having a "dry" skin on the loaves BEFORE placing in the oven. I have been baking at about 460 F, with a good amount of steam,  and only toward the end turning the temp down. Also, I have been venting the oven by cracking open the door during the last 5 minutes of baking. I can't wait to try this out. I'll follow up soon. Thank you.

petercook's picture
petercook

I just finished baking several Po-Boy loaves and I'm reporting that I had great succes with the method of covering the loaves with an inverted aluminum turkey roasting pan (the disposible kind). I preheated my oven to 460 F and I had a heavy skillet on the floor of the oven. When oven and skillet was up to temp, I placed the loaves, which were proofing in a baguette pan, into the oven, quickly covered them with the Aluminum roasting pan, and quickly tossed boiling water into the skillet and rapidly shut the door. Even with me pressing hard on the door, steam rolled out (i also had plugged up the vent). at 15 min into the bake I removed the roasting pan. The water had completly evaporated and the loaves had just a hint of browning. At the same time I lowered the temp to 400 F. At 25 min into the bake I cracked open the oven door to vent the oven and I continued the bake for 5 more minutes. Bake was a total of 30 minutes. I removed the loaves to a cooling rack and, I am pleased to say they are still, 45 minutes later still super crisp. At long last I have a super brittle, paper-thin crust. Thank you all for your help.