"Over carmelized" Boules and Baguettes....
Long-time reader, with very few posts has been trying to solve a problem, and is humbly submitting to YOU, kind forum, for assistance. (I've searched the site, but haven't been able to find a similar post, so I decided to start my own...)
Whenever I bake the basic French bread from the King Arthur Artisan Bread Video, the bottoms get "over carmelized". (We don't like to call things "burned" in this household, thank you.) I follow the directions, use semolina instead of cornmeal, preheat to 500 degrees for a full hour, dump a cup of boiling water in the cast iron skillet on the top shelf, use a nice big stone, rise for the prescribed amount of time...the whole shebang. It's happened in both ovens that I've used, too, so the problem is, presumably, not simply equipment in nature. I just don't know what to do.
Is this common? Is there anything that I can do to fix it? The only thing that I've thought of, which i may have to try next time, is to ball up some pieces of aluminum foil and lift the bread off the stone and onto the "foil-tripod" after it's gotten a good start....Seems a bit radical and counter bread-baking culture, but I can't keep grating off the burnt bits every time I bake my favorite breads. It's truly causing a loss of face with my otherwise tolerant wife who has endured this new hobby of mine for many, many months, now.
For the record, my bagels come out BEAUTIFULLY, cinnamon-raison loaves are divine, but my main pursuit, the one that got me into all of this to begin with, is the ever-elusive French bread, the very same loaf that was to be found EVERYWHERE when I was growing up in Chicago, and now seems nothing more than food nostalgia for this expatriate from Illinois, currently wading through a life absent good baguettes in this distant Western suburb of Boston....
Please, do help if you can.