The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Achieving a Deep Brown Crust Colour

matt291's picture

Achieving a Deep Brown Crust Colour

I'm turning again to the mecca of bread knowledge for some help. I'm quite happy with how my bread has been turning out lately, especially in my new RackMaster RM2020 oven, but I'm still struggling with getting the ideal crust colour. 

I'm very much inspired by Pollen Bakery in Manchester, and this is a photo of one of their loaves:

As you can see, the colour is a nice, golden brown, even on the part of the loaf outside of the score opening. In many ways, the whole loaf has an even colour. 

Here's a picture of one of my loaves:

The outside crust is quite charred and blackish, almost burnt looking, while the part inside the score opening is golden brown. 

Any advice for how Pollen (and many other bakeries) make their loaves have that nice colour? Is it more steam in the oven? Less? A lower baking temp? I preheat to 270C, down to 220C for the first 20 mins with steam, then up to 250C. I've also tried using diastatic malt powder and that has helped, but not as much all I'd like. 



Hobz Bakery, Edinburgh 

idaveindy's picture

(Ah,... the ol' %C2%A0 bug.)

Generally, it's a matter of tweaking the top heat in relation to the bottom heat, both in terms of temp setting, and when and for how long you turn the top heat on.

A burnt top is usually a result of too much radiant (direct, as in sunshine) heat coming from above.


It depends on your oven configuration.  One possible solution some bakers found is to leave the top/upper element at a lower setting, or off entirely, until the latter portion of the bake.

tssaweber's picture

I'm convinced that the color of the baked bread is greatly influenced by the type and brand of flour you are using.

Pictures below: Different all purpose flours everything else was the same!


semolina_man's picture

The Pollen photo looks as if a glaze was applied prior to baking.   Your loaf, while very attractive, appears to have a dry surface.  Not undesirable, it simply appears to be unglazed while the Pollen photo appears to be glazed.  


As mentioned, oven type, configuration and temperature regime have an effect. 

happycat's picture

Do you autolyse?

Do you spray dough before loading into the oven?