The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crust Recommendations

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LazySumo's picture
LazySumo

Crust Recommendations

Trying to improve my crust on my baguettes and thought I would ask here:


 


What techniques/processes/wisdom/sacrifices do each of you use specifically aimed at generating that crunchy/chewy crust that baguettes should have?


 


Thanks!

holds99's picture
holds99

Read Ms. Glezer's recipe and instructions for Acme Baguettes on pages 30-35 in her book Artisan Baking.  She explains the answers to your questions in great detail.  Her recipe and instructions for Acme baguettes produce excellent baguettes.


Howard

Radicalkat's picture
Radicalkat

Howard,


 


Which Maggie Glezer book would you recommend (or would you recommend both!):  Artisan Baking; or Artisan Baking Across America?


 


Thanks,


Adam

holds99's picture
holds99

The title is: "ARTISAN BAKING" with a sub-title (below) "ACROSS AMERICA" by Maggie Glezer.  Anyway, the Acme Baguette Recipe is on pages 30-35.  I thought I had posted a blog on Ms. Glezer's Acme Baguettes with photos, a while back, but I did a cursory search and couldn't find it.  I know I have the photos in my file but guess I didn't post them in a blog. 


Anyway, here's a post which shows the results jmonkey got with the recipe, which may be of help. 


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/5180/acme-baguettes-glezer039s-artisan-baking


Good luck with your baguette quest,


Howard

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== What techniques/processes/wisdom/sacrifices do each of you use specifically aimed at generating that crunchy/chewy crust that baguettes should have? ===



  1. Careful shaping to preserve as many bubbles as possible

  2. Overnight proofing in refrigerator

  3. Very high oven temperature for first 10 minutes (500 or 550 deg.F)

  4. Good amount of hot water vapor (I use a heavy cast iron pan preheated to the above-mentioned high temperature and pour in 1/2 - 1 cup of boiling water depending on how many I am cooking

  5. Removal of hot water pan promptly at the 10 minute mark so crust can crisp up


That's my 0.02 anyway.


sPh

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I agree with all of sPh's suggestions. I'd add these to the list:

1. Proofing on a linen couche. This seems to dry the skin better than other methods such as parchment paper.
2. Good scoring. If you can get good ears on your baguette cuts, they have the very best crunch.
3. Baking on a stone that has been heated thoroughly (at least 45 min. Preferably 60 min.). This enhances oven spring and opening up of the cuts.

Good scoring results in a slow opening of the cuts, but one that ends up very wide. If they open too fast, the exposed crumb hardens too soon and actually limits the total extent of the bloom. "Good" scoring, in this instance, means cutting with the lame/knife/razor at about a 30 degree angle to the loaf surface and cutting 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. The cuts should be close to parallel to the long axis of the loaf. If using multiple cuts (recommended), they should overlap for about 1/3 of their length.

One long cut, from end to end of the baguette, while not traditional (except for le flute gana), also can produce a pleasing result.

David

sphealey's picture
sphealey

I must admit I have never mastered the art of peel- or couche-proofing baguettes and transferring them to the stone; I use the Chicago Metallic perforated french bread pans to proof and bake mine. 


sPh

Eli's picture
Eli

Which brings to mind about the sought after crackled crust. David did you ever come up with a hypothesis on how to always achieve the crackle. Actually, I have't had one do that in a while. I want to think it is attributable with a hot bake and quick cooldown.


Eli


 


www.elisfoods.wordpress.com

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Eli.

I've got the crunch down, but the crackle continues to elude me. I think the crackle requires a thinner crust; crunch a thicker crust.

If you have any other ideas, I'd love to hear them.

BTW, I surfed to your food blog for the first time today. Very nice!

David

LazySumo's picture
LazySumo

Thanks all for the recommendations, I'm going to concentrate on the steam. Up until now I've been leaving it in the whole time. I'll burst the oven once with steam, just enough to dry out of the pan, and that's all. Let's see how that helps out.


 


Thanks again!