The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Chewy Crust

AdelK's picture

Chewy Crust

Hi everyone

I'm really new to this amazing website/forum so not sure if this the right place to post my question. I've just recently started baking breads and I keep having this problem: My bread normally comes out crusty and sings back to me as it cools but after half an hour the crust starts to soften and become extremely chewy (in an unpleasant way). This is normally resolved by heating it up on a hot oven for a couple of minutes after which they turn into pleasantly crusty 'toasts'. My latest experiment saw me using steam for only the first ten minutes after which the steam source was removed and I left the oven door ajar for the remaining 25 minutes of baking. Whilst the crust was not as chewy as my previous bakes it still unfortunately turned fairly chewy after it cooled down. I don't think I could've baked it any longer as there were bits that were starting to turn dark brown and had a bit of a bitter taste to it and I don't want my bread burned. Could I have lowered the temperature and left it in the oven longer? Or should I have covered the top with a foil? (student flat ovens in the UK have a heat source at the top only)

Anyway I'll post a picture of my loaf here so all of you could assess what's wrong with it. I will add a crumb shot tomorrow when I get the time.



Grenage's picture

While I generally roast my bread to the point where most would call it burnt, I've had success leaving the bread in the oven, with the door left open a little.  How 'little' you can leave it open depends on the door mechanism, but 10 minutes there with the oven turned off does continue to dry the crust.

Ultimately, if the enironment is humid, it's a losing battle.

cranbo's picture

If you have a high hydration bread shaped in large, voluminous ways, it will retain moisture once it's fully baked. I've found this to be especially true with sourdoughs. 

There is no good way around this, but there are some options to help "cope". Your best bet is to reheat the loaf (or slices thereof, as you suggested) to help regain some of the crispiness after the initial bake. Also, you can also try some other bread shapes (baguette, etc) that are narrower and provide a higher ratio of crust-to-crumb than a boule. This should help with creating a drier interior and keeping the crust crisp. Another option is to simply reduce the hydration of your dough (although this will affect the crumb). 

AdelK's picture

Thank you both for your replies. I think I will certainly try drying in the oven for 10mins after baking next time and/or try a different shape like a baguette. There are no artisan bakeries in my area so I'm not sure if my bread's crust is supposed to soften and become chewy after leavig out for a while. I live in the UK by the way so the air is pretty dry.

Sencha's picture

I live in the UK and would say the air is fairly damp actually. Its really noticable when you come back from being abroad. 

Bake out a little longer with door open though. You'll notice its not as bad in the summer.