The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I always get rubber-like crusts.

Shibodd's picture
Shibodd

I always get rubber-like crusts.

Hello,

I have tried lots of different recipes for bread, of multiple types: french bread, whole bread, whole and rye bread, with different hydrations (60% - 75% for normal flour, 70% - 80% for whole flour) but in all of my finished products, i always get a chewy, rubber-like crust. The crumb is also a bit too dense, and sometimes a bit sticky.

In my pizzas (65% to 75% hydration), i always either get a hard crust with a hint of browning (baked at max setting (<250°C (482°F))) or a pizza a soft crust and no browning at all (baked at 180°C (352°F), both in a static oven (not ventilated).

What i'm trying to achieve is a crisp "red" crust with an open crumb (baguette-like), without using enrichments.

In my most recent bread (and the best i made so far), after letting the bread cool down i got a slightly chewy but very crisp crust, which after 2 hours lost all of its crispness and after some more hours became a rubber-like crust.

Here is its recipe:

~~~~

Summary: Baguettes with Poolish, Tipo '0 flour,  ~65% Hydration.

Poolish:

  • 120g Flour (Tipo '0 flour with 12.1g of protein content, which in the US is unbleached bread flour i guess?)
  • 120g Water
  • 0.12g Fresh Compressed Yeast

Bread:

  • Poolish
  • 276g Flour
  • 138g Water
  • 1.8g Fresh Compressed Yeast
  • 7.8g Salt

(Weird quantities because i scaled down a recipe, both in baguettes length and quantity. Everything is 12% of the original quantity).

Process:

Mix (frasage) the ingredients of the poolish, and then leave it overnight, covered.

(17h later, i let it a bit too long, the poolish started to collapse, but not too much)

Mix (frasage) all the ingredients and the poolish, then let it rest for 10/15 minutes to hydrate evenly.

Slap and fold, incorporating air until i get a dough that passes the windowpane test (25 minutes).

-- At this point i have a soft, elastic dough, which when i slap it bounces a bit.

I let the dough rest for 1h30m.

I divided the dough in equal parts, made small loaves, let them rest for ~10m, then elongated them by rolling, and put them to rise on a cloth, one next to the other separated by folding that cloth. The usual baguette shaping, basically.

I now let them rise for about 1h30m.

In the meantime i preheated the oven at 240°C (464°F) with a baking stone in and a steel pan on the bottom.

I then slashed the baguettes, put them on the stone all together and filled the pan with boiling water.

I baked them for 25 minutes, static (not ventilated), then let them cool down vertically on a rack.

~~~~

 

I noticed later that they were too close to the top heater because the top of the baguettes was brown while the sides were not. Maybe i didn't preheat the oven for long enough, either. Not sure, but i doubt it's the cause of the problem, because i get the rubbery crust even when i get a really nice colour on my bread.

 

I think i am doing something wrong during baking, but i don't know where my misunderstanding is.

Thanks for taking your time to read.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Would you be able to turn off the top heating elements in the oven?  I am guessing that the top heat is browning the top and crust too soon and the inside is not cooking properly.  I believe we usually want to bake with bottom heat only for bread. (maybe some top heat at the end to get more color). But i personally never use top heat when baking bread. 

The rubbery crust might be caused by too much moisture still inside the bread and it is steaming the crust after cooking.  Thus gummy (under cooked) crumb and rubbery crust.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in the steam pan.  Instead of filling it (too much water) measure out one cup of boiling water and pour into the pan.  Remove steam pan after water is gone or ten minutes or when rotating the loaf in the oven.

Preheat stone without the steam pan blocking the heat to the stone, and/or move the steam pan to the top of the oven.    

Many things to try. :)

Restoring the crust to crispy can be done by just popping a slice into a toaster or loaf into a hot oven for a few minutes.