Crunchy french baguette crust
Hello All: Dec 3, ‘22
I’m an experienced USA home baker of 7 years. Way back then I abandoned all earlier baking except for learning how to bake French Baguettes. I’ve never had a minute of help from anyone except I have watched most internet videos. Conquered all the problems except one.
I bake a satisfactory baguette with large olive/walnut size alveoli, good oven spring, and an ear once in a while, ... I use only proofed (good) store bought 7 g packets of USA usual supermarket yeast which is fully alive. (I’ve found that 75% of supermarket yeast is dead or half dead. Tried my own starter but it is cost prohibitive since I only bake 1 experimental baguette at a time.) Currently using a 50 lb sack of General Mills Trump high gluten bread flour – which is excellent. Tried most competitive bread flours but similar results.
Got one problem left that I am going crazy trying, unsuccessfully, to solve. I can’t get a crunchy crust. I bake under oven injected steam from a pressure cooker on the home stove top, fed via silicone plastic tube (high temp tolerant) thru the stove top vent into the oven. Tried recipe hydr from 100% thru 65%, bake temps from 470°F thru 390°F, bake times appropriate for optimum quality. No matter what I do, I can’t get that crunchy crust.
Possibly, I think moisture from inside the baguette when cooling, (after bake), is collapsing the crust but I don’t know what to do to avoid that – even @ 65% hydr. I believe even if I had a commercial bakery oven there is something I am doing or not doing causing the deficiency.
Anyone care to help? Email: cevicheman at gmail dot com