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Crust too hard, inside too soft

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amusedmonkey's picture
amusedmonkey

Crust too hard, inside too soft

I attempted two kinds of sourdough bread, one mostly rye with a small amount of wholewheat and the other mostly wholewheat with some rye. 

The starter was very successful, made out of rye flour and the dough rose beautifully. 

Both breads are based on Russian recipes, the first one called Borodinsky. My problem is that both had extremely hard crusts almost burned from all sides, but pretty moist on the inside. Now they are supposed to be denser than regular bread, but I wasn't expecting it to be this moist. When you press it between your fingers it leaves a doughy dent and has a slightly chewy texture when eaten. The flavor is superb though.

In both occasions I let it rise in the oven with temp set to 90 F because it's been a bit colder lately. Could that be the reason? Should I just let it sit with the light on and no heating? 

What do I do to make the crust much softer and the insider just slightly drier?

Ford's picture
Ford

For a softer crust brush the dough with melted butter before baking and spray water on it during the first 5 minutes of the bake.  When cooling the loaf after baking cover it with damp towels or just a sheet of plastic wrap.

To get a firmer crumb, bake until the interior temperature is about 200 to 205°F (93 to 96°C).

Ford

polo's picture
polo

Not sure what temperature or for how long you are baking these breads, but you might try lowering the temperature of your oven and baking a bit longer. It sounds like you are overbaking the crust and underbaking the crumb.

Like Ford said, 205 F internal temperature.

adri's picture
adri

"Not sure what temperature or for how long you are baking these breads, but you might try lowering the temperature of your oven and baking a bit longer"

No, it should be the exact opposite way: Rise the temperature and bake it for a shorter time. This way, the centre of the bread does get baked earlier and the crust as less time to dry. My oven unfortunately doesn't get hotter as 250 degrees Celsius (482 Fahrenheit).

liebe Grüße
Adrian

amusedmonkey's picture
amusedmonkey

It's been baking for 60 minutes on 410 F. I did sprinkle water on top before baking and the sides of the loaf pan were brushed with butter. I'm pretty sure the crust is getting overbaked, but how do I get it just right without underbaking the crumb?

polo's picture
polo

Start your bake out at 410 and after about 15 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 350 or so and shoot for the final 205 internal temperature. You may have to play with the temperature and time combination a bit.

If you are baking larger loaves of bread, you may benefit from cutting the size down a bit as well. I think my 60% rye loaves go about 900 grams.

MANNA's picture
MANNA

I would bake it at 350 till you get a nice color on the crust. Then remove and let it sit for atleast 12 hours to cure. Then check the crumb. If its still gummy reduce the liquid in the recipe and try again.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I often spray my German rye breads with water when they are still hot, right after baking, to soften the crust a bit.

Otherwise, I agree with Polo - the oven temperature is most likely too hot, if the crust almost burns, and the crumb is too wet. I would always check the internal temperature for doneness.

Karin

amusedmonkey's picture
amusedmonkey

Thank you! I will try all of your suggestions. I also have another question: I've been baking my break in an electric oven with heating turned on both top and bottom. I'm fairly new to this, and the breads I mentioned were my first. Should I keep it this way or have only the bottom element on?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

It was 1900g dough and baked in a ceramic mixer bowl.  Started out at 420°F and dropped it to 390°F after the first hour when I uncovered the loaf from it's double layer alu-foil tent.  This cover traps in steam and keeps the crust moist during the rising portion of the bake, then I uncover to help it brown.  When I checked the inside temp after 1:45 min of baking it was not up to temp, around 180° F so I tipped it out of the mixer bowl and set it back in, naked (except for a naughty layer of seeds) moving the rack up a notch.   The loaf was pretty round (thick middle) so it needed the time, a flatter loaf would bake sooner with the same weight.  12 hrs after the loaf had cooled to room temp, I put it back in the mixer bowl and covered with a plate.  This allows the moisture in the crumb to soften the outside crust.  24 hrs after baking, I cut the loaf in half and wrapped one tightly for the freezer.  The other half stays nestled in the mixer bowl with a lid.  

Cutting the loaf too soon might be part of the problem with the rye loaf.  Put the cut side down on a plate or board and let the loaf cool completely.  If the inside is still quite gummy this time tomorrow, you can wrap each half loaf in microwave foil and nuke it to set the crumb. Then cool well before slicing.  Save some of the dark crust slices to crumble into the next rye loaf. (freeze)

I'm baking using the oven setting (which I believe uses upper and lower heat) on the bottom rack for most of the bake.  Good to have lots of heat on the bottom.  As a rule, I try to place the loaves in the oven so that the top of the bread pan or finished loaf is dead center and go from there.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Almost all the Borodinski bread are baked in tins at 320 to 350 F either covered in foil or in a covered Pullmans for most of the low and slow bake.  Then when cooled they are wrapped in linen for 32- 48 hours before slicing so the moisture can be redistributed t soften the crust/

Varda's Double Chocolate Malt Borodnski is my favorite one that i haven't tasted but Andy's Hard Core Borodinski is my favorite I have tasted - He doesn't mention the wrapped wait at the end but he must assume everyone knows about that, here s his write up

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/23979/double-pains-de-campagne-olive-levain-and-%E2%80%9Chardcore-borodinsky%E2%80%9D

amusedmonkey's picture
amusedmonkey

This is the recipe I used

http://www.andreev.org/cooking/borodinsky-bread-recipe.html

You might need to use google translate because it's in Russian. 

adri's picture
adri

"Not sure what temperature or for how long you are baking these breads, but you might try lowering the temperature of your oven and baking a bit longer"

No, it should be the exact opposite way: Rise the temperature and bake it for a shorter time. This way, the centre of the bread does get baked earlier and the crust as less time to dry. My oven unfortunately doesn't get hotter as 250 degrees Celsius (482 Fahrenheit).

liebe Grüße
Adrian

Davo's picture
Davo

Adri, sorry but I disagree with you! Lower temp for longer is the way to bake the centre better. If the crust is getting grilled by the top element, try bottom only. And if that hardens the bottom too much, place a tray on a rack just below the loaf - this seems to deflect some of the direct heat from the element. Another thing would be to keep water in that tray for an extended period...

And I agree with the need for a long time for moisture to redistribute after baking. When I have baked 100% rye in a tin I have let the loaf sit in a plastic bag for 1-2 days before the moisture has worked into the crust so it can be sliced very thinly with a sharp blade. Cream cheese, gravlax and dill go pretty well on this!

adri's picture
adri

When the German farmer's rye is put into the wood fired oven the temperature of the oven is about 280 degrees Celsius. This is about 536 degrees Fahrenheit.
Of course the bread will be in the oven for a shorter period of time.

Or let's see it the other way around: imagine how dry the crust would become if you would bake a bread at just 100 degrees Celsius (373.15K or 212F).

DoubleMerlin's picture
DoubleMerlin

If you bake it at any temperature until the crust is done to your satisfaction and the inside registers at least 200, preferably hotter, then just let it sit 12-24 hours. Whole grains and rye breads especially need a while to cure, as Dabrownman said. I like to lay a flour sack towel over my breads on a cooling rack, and leave them like that over night. Residual heating is your friend.