The Fresh Loaf

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How to intentionally get chewy crust?

texasbakerdad's picture

How to intentionally get chewy crust?

I am tasked with baking sourdough bread bowls for dinner tonight. The dough is already in bulk and here are the ingredients:

  • 280g sourdough starter
  • 100g spelt
  • 300g whole white wheat
  • 1000g AP flour
  • 35g salt
  • 85g oil
  • 85g honey
  • 1150g water

Most posts on tfl ask how to NOT get chewy crust. But, I want the crust chewy. Although, I'm not sure how to achieve chewy crust on purpose.. Any advice is appreciated.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I would extend the steamed bake and reduce the non-steamed bake... But maybe someone actually has tried that and knows for sure?

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Spelt, AP flour and oil will work against a chewy crust/crumb.  

Strong bread flour, unenriched and high hydration will help towards a chewy crust. Steam during baking will help as well. 

texasbakerdad's picture

Next time I will use bread flour. Unfortunately, I didn't have any bread flour on hand, I was forced to use AP or WW... I was worried WW would have made it difficult to get shape I wanted unless I executed perfectly.

You are right though, the spelt was probably not the right addition.

idaveindy's picture

One trick is to bag the loaves in plastic bags after about only a 20-30 minute (depending on size) cool-down.  

 While bagged, the inner moisture will still  migrate out to the crust but won't completely evaporate.  Some will condense on the inside of the bag, but some will stay in the crust, making it soft(er) and chewy.  

I'm unsure how long, minimum and maximum, the bread needs to remain bagged before serving.  I would guess a minimum of 1 hour in the bag is needed to soften the crust

The same effect can be had covering the loaves with a cloth towel.

Good luck.

justkeepswimming's picture

You may not have enough time for this with today's bake. FWIW, I have noticed when I put a cooled loaf into a ziploc bag, the crust gets chewy. Best wishes for a successful outcome!!  

Abelbreadgallery's picture

Stronger flour, less fermentation, shorter cooking time ...

texasbakerdad's picture

Stronger flour makes sense. Less fermentation makes sense. Shorter cooking time sort of makes sense, as the dough should be less crispy and chewier, but I as with everything, I guess the tradeoff would be the crumb might not be right.

wally's picture

Keep your oven steamed throughout the entire bake.

texasbakerdad's picture


Thanks for the advice. I had a feeling that might do it. Unfortunately, I don't have a steam oven and I don't enjoy the hassle of messing with steamed towels or rocks. Although, I would really love to buy a steam oven one of these days.

I do have a steam cleaner, and was thinking I would take a page out of DanAyo's book one of these days and play around with using it with the oven.

texasbakerdad's picture

Thanks for all of the suggestions. The bread bowls came out great. They tasted great, they had a great shape, they held the broccoli cheddar soup perfectly.

Alas, they were not the perfect chewyness or the perfect tartness, but truth be told, I am splitting hairs at this point. It was amazing even though it wasn't perfect. I was going to create a blog post for the bake, but I hit my daily post limit, so that will have to wait. Here are a couple photos.

The soup was excellent. This was probably my 7th attempt to make broccoli cheddar, this was the first time it tasted right.