The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crunchy crust in high humidity

LYoung's picture

Crunchy crust in high humidity

I need some advice. I live in the tropics. Hot and high humidity. I’m also at sea level. I can’t seem to get a good crunchy crust on something like a French bread. I’m fine with artisan loaves and others that I bake in a Dutch oven, but that lovely French bread crust eludes me when hand shaping long loaves and baking on a stone or baking sheet. I’ve tried the ice cubes in the oven trick. It helps and the bread is better upon first removing from the oven, but while cooling all that lovely crispiness is gone. Any other tips?

kendalm's picture

are kinda bad idea - better to get some lava rocks in a cast iron skillet and splash then immediately before you shut the door.  If the crust is soft it probably means you need to release the steam afrer about 10 minites (or whatever works best after some tries) 

semolina_man's picture

You might be trying to find the impossible to find.  


Thin glass-like crispy crust is partly made possible by good gluten development, which means lots of kneading.  The dough needs to be very extensible, glossy and smooth before fermenting.  Do you develop the gluten? 


Even with well-developed gluten, high ambient humidity is working against you.   Have you ever eaten bread in the tropics, of the crunchy type that you envision?  For example, at a restaurant?