The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Tough Crust

BarbaraSch's picture

Tough Crust

Happy Birthday to me. At 70+ years i am doing R&M on my teeth. . I love my sourdough but i would prefer a softer chewy crust or softer and  crispy crust. On directions i have been baking at 425 deg for 15 min and then turning down to 400 deg. If i baked bread at 325 and cooked longer would the crust be softer?

bread1965's picture

First off - happy birthday to you!

My experience tells me that flour choice affects crumb "hardness". As does length of bake - how long are you baking down at 400 deg? And lastly are you using a dutch oven or stone - how dry the environment is affects the crust.. Tell us more and we can help find the way..


BarbaraSch's picture

I am using unbleached white flour. If flour is the culprit, i have a bunch of spelt flour. Wonder if that would help as spelt is said to be "cake-ie" as it has less glutin.

I am an unstructured cook which doesn't always work. I baked last time 20min at 425 and then 35 min at 400.  I do have a dutchoven, but this time i rose it in bannanton basket and baked on a flat enameled round pan and covered with aluminum foil for all but last 15 min.

These antique pans were from army navy store in Calif in 1969. They do cook a great pizza but the crust is harder than the same pizza when cooked on stone

My ideal crust would be like San Francisco bread in SF.  Crispy but thinner than the 1/4" hard crust I am getting

Maybe I am cooking my bread too long? But I would hate to do all that and have the bread undercooked .

leslieruf's picture

makes a thinner crust. I almost always use a DO. I don't know length of cooking at those temperatures, normally I bake 800g loaf for 30-35 minutes about half with lid on DO at 425 - 450°F. Bread is always baked, but heavy grains, rye etc may well take longer, as would a bigger loaf. 

good luck and bake happy


Arjon's picture

Adding some form of milk and/or fat is likely to help soften the entire loaf, including the crust. Less steam and baking at a lower temp tend to encourage a less chewy crust. And you can also try brushing your loaves with a bit of butter (or maybe oil) after they're baked. 

Danni3ll3's picture

My friends complained of the crust being too tough on my breads until I started adding some yogurt into the dough. It doesn't need to be much; I put in 30-50 g in 1100 g of flour. It comes out of the Dutch oven hard but as it cools, it gets this lovely thin crispy crust. Once completely cooled, I put the loaves into a plastic bag and no one has ever complained about the crust since I have been using this method. Hope this helps!