The Fresh Loaf

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getting the loaves brown enough

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Truffles's picture
Truffles

getting the loaves brown enough

I just  tried Susan's (wild yeast) poolish baguettes where she recomends diastolic malt for browning. I followed her recipe, I did use KAF's European baguette flour, and was really pleased with the feel and condition of the dough as I put them in the oven. The only change I made was to start them on 500 degrees F instead of 475 an I left them on that for 7 minuets instead of turning the temp down to 450. I then turned the temp down to 475 for the 10 minuets she recommends. At that time I checked the color when the idea was to turn off the oven,door ajar, but there was really no color so I turned the oven back on at 475 for 10 minuets and took them out, still almost no color.

Any suggestions.  By the way  Ive had the oven temp checked twice an was told it was running a little hot. I have no idea how to get the nice dark brown.

BobS's picture
BobS

Does your oven have a convection mode? I use that to get my loaves brown. 

Truffles's picture
Truffles

Thanks Bob I do have convection on my oven. I haven't tried it but now that you mentioned it I think I read somewhere that it might help. I'll try it.  Herb

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but diastatic malt might work better.  

Truffles's picture
Truffles

Thanks Mini, I'm glad you are still around for we hackers. Guess what? I thought diastatic was a misspelling. Herb

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

like crypt and cryptic,  sort of.    I also trip over the "static" part of the word. (every time!)  :)

Anyway a form of Amylase.  That's how I remember it and keep it straight.  

Think: Diastase (Amylase) --->  diastatic malt  (the enzyme active one) 

Xenophon's picture
Xenophon

The browning is due to the Maillard reaction, that usually kicks off at 150 centigrade and at the temperature you're baking at it should certainly have happened.  Both methods above would help, the convection always works like a charm for me in case a loaf doesn't brown quickly enough.  

I assume your baguettes are fully baked inside and that your oven is not full of steam at this point?  Asking because what *could* be happening is that if you bake at high hydration, evaporative cooling from the interior prevents the crust from reaching the appropriate temperature for colouring.  Steam, even hot, will also inhibit the reaction.  But frankly I think it's unlikely.  Despite the test that was done, I'd still think it's due to a defective thermostat.  If you have an  IR-temperature reader, measure the dough surface temp a couple of minutes before the bake is complete. In my case, in a 200 centigrade oven, it usually measures about 160 centigrade at the surface (no convection, conventional heat).

Truffles's picture
Truffles

Thanks Zeno, I think you're on the right track ( I hope) about the moisture. I've been unclear as to what is meant by regular steaming. There have been various ways and times put forward. The texture of the bread was that of a nice sandwich bread.

What I have been doing for steam is a tray at the bottom of the oven filled with lava rocks. I've tried pouring boiling water on them a couple times but I found it a bit awkward so I usually use a garden sprayer(reserved) for this and spray the rocks at various times. I've tried different timing but this time I I sprayed every minute for 7 minuets including  above the bread. So the bread would probably be pretty wet.

If you can clarify the steaming for me I would really appreciate it.     Herb

leucadian's picture
leucadian

If you open the oven every minute for time to spray the rocks, you've probably cooled the oven significantly. The rocks will help hold the heat, as would a baking stone, but you are spraying relatively cold water on them. Some people use two stones, one above and one below to ensure even heat. Check with an oven thermometer or an IR thermometer.

The usual recommendation to lower the temperature from 500 to 460 is, I think, to avoid having the heating coils come on and harden the surface when the bread is so tender and oven spring has not occurred. The temperature will fall with the insertion of the shaped dough, and if the thermostat were set at 500, the heating elements would come on.  The humidity at the beginning of the bake gives the bread a glossy, hard crust due to gelatinization of the starch. I'm not sure it has a lot to do with promoting browning. When my bread overproofs, it doesn't color as well.

I suggest that you go back to your rocks-in-a pan, but instead of misting them, pour boiling water in the pan before putting it in the oven, then let the empty oven steam up before inserting the dough. Keep the door closed until you remove the pan. Or try a batch with no steam, keeping the door closed, to see if it browns. 

Good luck.

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

then put the lava rock pan half full of water on eh bottom rack over the coils when the oven beeps that it is at 500F. Since your oven runs a little hot, the stone is about 15 minutes behind, (lagging),  the oven air temperature.  In 15 minutes the stone will be at temperature and the lava rocks will be boiling away making mega steam.  Throw 1/2 cup of water onto the bottom of the oven when you close the door for instant steam and in 2 minutes turn the oven down to 450 F.  After steaming you want to pull this apparatus out and turn the oven down to 425 F convection this time. The bread should brown well if there are residual sugars left in it after proofing.  The diastatic malt with an autolyse of at least 30 minutes for a white bread, should ensure there are residual sugars left to brown,.

Happy Baking

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

baking is due to pyrolysis an the resulting caramelization.  Maillard reaction works to brown proteins in the presence of amino acids and a reducing sugar but an acid environment inhibits it - Like in SD bread.  It works fine for meat but there is little protein (12%) in bread with it being mostly carbohydrates.  At temperatures over 350 F  where most bread is baked, most of the browning is carbohydrates that are browned through pyrolysis.  So both the Maillard reaction and pyrolysis are at work but most of the browning in bread is because of pyrolysis. 

Water inhibits pyrolysis so when you steam bread or bake it in a DO, the bread springs in the heat but there is little browning taking place.   But, as soon as you remove the steam or take the lid off the DO. the water inhibiting pyrolysis is gone and then pyrolysis can take over at these high temperatures to brown the bread very quickly.

Here is a list of temperatures concerning the browning of food,  Enzymatic browning is the 3rd kind of browning when it comes to food.

  • Above 400F - mostly caramelization, with the possibility of burning with prolonged heating
  • ~330-400F - increasing caramelization with higher temps, which uses up sugars and thus inhibits Maillard at the high end of this range
  • ~300-330F - Maillard progresses at a fast pace, causing browning noticeably within minutes
  • ~212-300F - Maillard gets slower as temperature goes lower, generally requiring many hours near the boiling point of water
  • ~130-212F - Maillard requires water, high protein, sugar, and alkaline conditions to advance noticeably in a matter of hours; generally can take days
  • Below 130F - Enzymatic browning is often more significant in many foods than Maillard, but Maillard will still occur over periods from days or months to years, with progressively longer times at lower temperatures

Happy baking

 

Xenophon's picture
Xenophon

If you give a pronounced bake then the crust will indeed brown nicely.  But -and this is very much a matter of taste- for me, many of the loaves I see in pics here are not just browned, the crust is over baked and too dark or, undiplomatically put, in my eyes they're simply burned to a crisp.  A matter of taste and there's no arguing about that but it's not something I like in my bread so I go out of my way to avoid this.

Truffles's picture
Truffles

Than ks Bob, I agree.  Herb

Truffles's picture
Truffles

I got the name wrong. I guess that says a lot about why I have problems with making bread.  Herb

BobS's picture
BobS

You might want to look at this, sorta related thread: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18026/consistent-crackly-crust-conundrum-conquered.

My regimen for 750g bâtards/boules is usually:

  1. Preheat to 500 F
  2. Bake at 460 F for 20 minutes, 7 minutes of which is with steam
  3. Bake at 425 convection for 20 minutes
  4. Turn off oven, open door and let loaves dry our for 5-7 minutes or so.

Step 3 puts a nice brown on the crust. Like this:

 

 

Truffles's picture
Truffles

Thanks Bob, I will try the convection method.  Herb

Truffles's picture
Truffles

I was getting paranoid about the color thinking people  putting the bread under the broiler. Pretty desperate right? Herb

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven
Truffles's picture
Truffles

I never cheat! How much malt?

Truffles's picture
Truffles

Great pictures. I saved the web site.  Somebody saved her mothers  turkey roasting pan. I wish I had.Thanks Mini

breadface_killa's picture
breadface_killa

recently I have been working with a no knead dough and have had the same problem with browning-I have been telling myself it's more of a sourdough style to keep from getting depressed.  Coming from a strictly amateur/no science view I have to think that the lack of added sugars and milk might be responsible for the pale color.  On the plus side-I've gotten an incredible crumb from this dough.

I'm thinking the cheat mini oven suggested might do the trick.