Sourdough recipes cooked without Dutch oven never develop brown crust
Hello! I’m new to the fresh loaf, but I have been baking sourdough for a while now. I’ve had great success baking loaves in my Dutch oven. I get a nice blustery, deeply browned crust and light airy crumb. Recently though, I’ve tried my hand at focaccia and fougasse, (neither of which, based on their shape, can go in my Dutch oven). In both cases, I got a blistery crust, but no matter how long I cooked it, the crust remained pale and dull. Both recipes were baked at 450F (I have an oven thermometer, so I know this is accurate). Neither recipe contained any sugar which I’ve recently read can help with browning.
Could this be a different issue with my oven? I live in an apartment with probably the cheapest oven the landlord could find. Alternatively I wonder if I’m underprooving the bread? I used the poke test in the past, but I purchased a proofing container today so I can verify the actual volume of the bread next time. Sounds like a 50% rise is a good indicator using this method?
Curious to hear other thoughts on what could have gone wrong and tips to fix. Thanks in advance!