The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crispy crust vs. brown rice flour

bestofabadoven's picture

Crispy crust vs. brown rice flour

Hi everybody, 

I've been baking a variation on Tartine's country bread (theirs is 75% hydration, mine is 70%; I do a 5-hour autolyse, 4-hour bulk ferment, shape and then retard ~15 hours in the fridge) and having some success with it. I bake in a Lodge combo cooker, preheated 20 min. at 500 degrees, then 25 min. with the cover on and 20 with it off at 450 degrees.

My question concerns the crust- I can't get it crispy enough. The other day I decided to experiment by doing the final rise/retard in a bowl lined with parchment (don't have my bannetons with me where I'm quarantining and at this point can't really get one) and although it stuck, I achieved the most satisfyingly crispy crust I've encountered in a long time:

The next time I baked it, to prevent sticking, I used my usual method of doing the final rise in a colander lined with a tea towel dusted with brown rice flour. No sticking, but soft crust as usual:

The brown rice seems to be causing the crust softness. Any suggestions for how I can achieve both a crispy crust and no sticking? I've tried spraying loaves with water before I cover them with the combo cooker lid, but if there's rice flour, it creates a dense wet mat of rice flour, which ends up as a soggy blackened mess.