I'm new to baking. I have been letting my dough rise in a linen lined banneton. After baking, the crust comes out on the pale side with a sandy texture. How can I get a more glossy mahogany crust?
that the wee beasties have eaten all the food available and there isn't enough sugar left to brown the bread. It could also mean that you are baking at too low a temperature.
When i want a mahogany color I cheat a little bit:-) I add in some diastatic malt (white malt) about 2-3 g per 800 gl of dough to make sure that the starches break down to sugars so the wee beasties don't run out of food. I also add in the same amount of non diastatic malt (red Malt) to promote browning.The real trick I have learned is to use some fruit juice. I like to use the soaking water for dried fruits going into the mix, as part of the liquid int he dough. This extra boost of sugar puts a mahogany crust on anything - just beautiful crust every time,
Happy Mahogany Baking
Since I bake in a Dutch Oven my Crust is beautiful every single time:)
I do bake with 90% Bread Flour and 10% Wholemeal Flour.
that I could be letting it rise too long?
If it were an overproofing issue, I'd be expecting to also hear a story about your dense crumb, flattened loaf, maybe overly sour flavor..etc. If one or more of these things are also the case, then overproofing is likely, but not yet certain.
Crust color can come from two things: caramelization and Maillard reaction. Generally there's some of both occurring on the surface of your baking bread. Maillard reactions are basically the denaturing of proteins which then also crosslink with some sugars. Caramelization is basically the browning of sugar. If most of your sugars are being eaten by hungry yeasts, there's not much left to cause browning, hence, dabrowman's suggestions above.
If you can post a picture of one of your loaves, someone might spot the telltale signs of...something!