The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crispy, not-so-chewy crust for my sourdough.

Ric Snapes's picture
Ric Snapes

Crispy, not-so-chewy crust for my sourdough.

Hey you guys!


I'm just this second new to TFL, and I really would like to know how the hell to get a long lasting crisp crust rather than a-couple-of-hours-down-the-line leathery crust on my basic sourdough loaf. I'm actually pretty happy with what I bake, but I want perfection damn it! 


I use a very strong canadian red wheat with 10% strong whole wheat at 75% hydration. Is the key to go softer with my flours? Would a coating of wheat bran also give me extra crisp?







DavidEF's picture

When considering whether to use paper or plastic, choose paper. Plastic bags and other containers hold in moisture, allowing the moisture that is still evaporating from the crumb of the bread to migrate to the relatively dryer crust. That causes the crust to soften somewhat, leaving it leathery. Paper bags allow the moisture to evaporate out, so the crust stays dryer, and crispier.

If you're not storing the bread inside plastic, yet it is still losing its crispiness, and turning leathery, it might be that you have undercooked it a bit. You can always stick it back in a pre-heated oven for a few minutes to get the crisp back.

Ric Snapes's picture
Ric Snapes

Thanks. I do store in a paper bag, but it maybe an under baking issue. I did some 'market research' the other day, trying other peoples bread, and mine did take longer to toast, so, that would suggest under baking yes. I'll give that one a shot. 



adri's picture

A thinner but crispier crust I usually achieve by more steam, more heat at the beginning but less time at baking.

I'm not sure if that is what you meant. If your bread is fine after baking and it is a storing issue, then that's how I do it: The side where I cut the bread I put on the surface of a cutting board. Then I just loosely cover the bread with a piece of cloth. (Mostly cotton, sometimes flax).

nicodvb's picture

I used to get a leathery and compact crust before I switched to the new method with a lot of steam. According to Emily Buehler a compact crust traps water inside the bread, while a porous crust permits evaporation of excess water. With a lot of steam the crust comes out really porous and crackly.

Ric Snapes's picture
Ric Snapes

Thanks. I'm using a dutch oven, so i'm not sure if steam is the issue. But maybe i'm not keeping the lid on for long enough. I usually take it off after 15 mins. I'll try 20.  

lsnguyen7's picture

Hi Ric Snapes. Did this solve your issue? I'm currently having the same issue with my crust turning leathery the next day after cooling. I bake in a dutch oven w/ lid on for 20 minutes and 35 w/ lid off both at 450 degrees. I'm not having any success with the crust staying crisp.