The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How do I keep my crust crusty?

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

How do I keep my crust crusty?

I just had a complaint about my NY jewish rye.  Ugh. 

I use the dutch oven,  it comes out hard and crisp.  Perfect.  

I let it totally cool for 6+ hours.  I slice off some slices and stick them in a plastic bread bag.  Then I give the bagged slices to friends etc. 

This New Yorker friend just tried it,  loved it,  but said the only thing missing is a crispy  outer crust. I told her it was crisp when fresh,  but after slicing and sticking it in the bag, it got soft.  

How can I do this and keep that crust crisp? 

Thanks much! 

ds99303's picture
ds99303

The problem with baked goods that are crispy on the outside and and soft and moist on the inside is they don't stay that way.  Nature always tries to even things out: hot to cold, moist to dry, etc.  Putting the bread in a plastic bag is going to speed up the process of softening the crust because  the moisture from the inside of the bread has nowhere to go as it migrates its way to the outside of the bread.  Using a paper bag helps because its porous and allows some of the moisture to escape while at the same time absorbing some of it as well.  Another thing you can do, if you're giving the bread to someone, is leave the bread unsliced and then give them instructions on how to re-crisp it.  I usually re-heat things at 25° lower than what I baked them at so they don't start to brown too much but you'll have to experiment to see what works best.

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

That all makes sense.  I was thinking as I bagged it thar it would soften a bit,  but didn't realize she was a stickler for crust. Lol

David R's picture
David R

For the ultimate crisp crust: No wrapper of any kind, AND eat it ASAP. Without keeping both of those conditions, there's going to be a compromise. Some compromises are better than others. Paper bags are better for crisp crust than plastic bags, for example.

Or decide to live with the non-crispy crust.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

after it cools, sliced. Sometimes I slice mine when it's still slightly warm.

Label the reheating instructions on the ziploc bags, educate and convince your friends to freeze your bread, and threaten not to give them anymore bread if they don't follow your instructions--that's what I do. 

Yippee

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

That's a really good idea there.  Hmmm.... I thinki just may try that.  

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

I appreciate the tips.  Next time I'll just use paper for this person.  

ds99303's picture
ds99303

"Next time I'll just use paper for this person."

Or if they're that unappreciative, don't give them anymore bread, unless of course you asked this person to critique your bread.

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

I second that emotion!

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

I just this week had a similar conundrum. I usually try and save a few large paper bags for my bread. Yesterday I ran out. I contemplated leaving my freshly made fully cooled baguettes unwrapped on the countertop. Knowing just how quickly lean bread goes hard, I nixed that idea in favor of wrapping them in aluminum foil. Today when lunchtime rolled around, I was disappointed to find my nice crisp baguettes had gone soft! The good news is I can re-crisp them in the oven tomorrow. Alas, today I ate them soft.

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

Thanks for sharing! Gotcha. 

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

Welp, I gave them the bread with a great crust.  It was rock hard after cooling.  She said it was soft again and not like in NYC. Lol. But she said it tasted great.  

Heck,  I'm stumped.  Gave it to her in an open paper bag.i told her to reheat it in the oven.  

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

Welp, I gave them the bread with a great crust.  It was rock hard after cooling.  She said it was soft again and not like in NYC. Lol. But she said it tasted great.  

Heck,  I'm stumped.  Gave it to her in an open paper bag. I told her to reheat it in the oven. There's nothing more I can do on my end.