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Struja

Losing My Crispy Crust

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I have been making this "country" artisan bread recipe and this weekend I did it a third time and the last two times, the bread is losing it's "crispiness" while it is cooling and I am not sure why.  The first time, I ever made it, it came out a bit more dense than recently but never lost ANY of the crispy shell.  However, the last two times I have made it, it is become much softer externally and I am missing the crispy crunch which I really desire.

 

Here is the recipe and here is what I have done...

 

  • 560 grams of bread flour
  • 190 grams of whole wheat flour
  • 600 grams of water
  • 17 grams of Kosher salt
  • 3 grams of active dry yeast

 

I bloomed the ADY in water at 100F for about 6-10 minutes.  Added all of my other dry ingredients and slowly added the water/yeast.  This is a no-knead recipe.  I incorporated everything by hand and let rest after all incorporated for 15-20 minutes, covered with a damp towel at about 78F.

 

At 15 minutes I came back and folded (and stretched) the dough onto itself about 6-8 times.  

 

Cover and let rest for 60 minutes.  After resting, folded (and stretched) again 5-6 times.  

 

Let rest for 2 hours or until about it has tripled in size.  After two hours, I flowered my work area and my dough and folded it 4 times.  Shaped into a ball and placed it in a benetton for 1 hour for the final rise.  During this one hour, I heated my Dutch oven to 475 degrees.

 

After one hour, I place the dough inside the dutch oven (on parchment paper) and baked it at 475F for 30 minutes covered.  

 

After 30 minutes, I removed the lid, removed the parchement and baked for about another 6 minutes, until the top of the bread was deep dark brown (this time, it almost was too dark but still acceptable - sorry no pics).  

 

After 6 minutes I pulled it out of the oven and the dutch oven and set it on a elevated stainless steal rack to cool.  I have tried cooling the bread on the rack while on top of my granite counter top and over a wood cutting board with the same "softening" of the crust happening. 

 

After about 30 minutes the outer shell lost a lot of it's crispy texture.  It was still somewhat crispy but NOTHING like when it first came out of the oven.  It almost seemed like as it was cooling, moisture was escaping from inside the bread and that moisture was softening the exterior.

 

In terms of the interior, yesterday's loaf was super airy and had a wonderful internal taste and texture.  If it retained the outer shell, it would have been perfect.

 

Any thoughts?

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55 minutes ago, Rob_grill_apprentice said:

It has to do with condensation during cooling at room temp,   

 

The King Arthur flour blog has blog about keeping bread crispy.   Link to blog below.  
 

https://kingarthurflour.com/blog/2015/09/15/keep-baking-crispy

 

 

Brilliant!  Thank you.

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Also, if you want a crispy exterior, steam during the bake is what you need. Those nice loaves of crusty French bread and Chicago style hard rolls are all cooked in a steam oven. I learned this as a baker’s apprentice at Publix Supermarkets years ago. 

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8 hours ago, Mr Cue said:

Also, if you want a crispy exterior, steam during the bake is what you need. Those nice loaves of crusty French bread and Chicago style hard rolls are all cooked in a steam oven. I learned this as a baker’s apprentice at Publix Supermarkets years ago. 

 

So, one of the reasons I bake my bread in a covered dutch overn, is that I thought it created that "steaming" effect?  When my bread comes out of the oven, it is always super-crispy but it's in the cooling phase where I seem to lose that exterior.  I'm tempted to believe in the post above with my cooling technique being too fast.  

 

I'm going to give it a shot this weekend by cooling the bread in the warm oven to see if that helps.

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On 10/28/2019 at 4:39 PM, Rob_grill_apprentice said:

It has to do with condensation during cooling at room temp,   

 

The King Arthur flour blog has blog about keeping bread crispy.   Link to blog below.  
 

https://kingarthurflour.com/blog/2015/09/15/keep-baking-crispy

 

 

Back to the drawing board...

 

I did another loaf this weekend.  Same recipe as last time.  Bread finished and the crust was AMAZING.  Like, maybe the best ever.  So, I decided to "cool it" in the oven (that I had just baked it in at 475).  I let the oven come down from the super hot heat and then put the bread back in and "cracked" the oven door open about 10" to retain some of the heat and hopefully allow for a slow cooling of the bread.

 

I did notice it soften (somewhat) but what I really noticed is that the entire top fo the bread "cracked" during the cooling phase and even a bit of the crust seemed to collapse a bit (not the crumb - it stayed light and fluffy).  I am thinking my recipe has too much water (it's 80%).  Maybe if I decrease the hydration to 75% it will lose less of the crispy crust?

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I follow Tartine’s sourdough recipe, which is a bit more involved, but calls for about 78% hydration, at the end.
 

I’m thinking you need some more uncovered cook time, perhaps with some hydration lowering, but I’m no authority. 
 

thefreshloaf.com is a good resource (no affiliation, just a user)

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I bake for for 20-25 min in a preheated DO@ 550 F, followed by removing the loaf from the DO and setting the oven to 475 for 15 min. 
 

note:  I have added heat deflectors to the floor of my oven to prevent the bottom from burning in the DO.  

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14 hours ago, Struja said:

Back to the drawing board...

 

I did another loaf this weekend.  Same recipe as last time.  Bread finished and the crust was AMAZING.  Like, maybe the best ever.  So, I decided to "cool it" in the oven (that I had just baked it in at 475).  I let the oven come down from the super hot heat and then put the bread back in and "cracked" the oven door open about 10" to retain some of the heat and hopefully allow for a slow cooling of the bread.

 

I did notice it soften (somewhat) but what I really noticed is that the entire top fo the bread "cracked" during the cooling phase and even a bit of the crust seemed to collapse a bit (not the crumb - it stayed light and fluffy).  I am thinking my recipe has too much water (it's 80%).  Maybe if I decrease the hydration to 75% it will lose less of the crispy crust?

Likely too high of hydration.

 

this explains it well https://thebreadguide.com/bursting-or-splitting/

 

 

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1 hour ago, Struja said:

I gave it another shot yesterday and I made two changes...

 

Reduced my hydration to 77% and I cooled in a warm oven.  I still lost a bit of my crispy crust but overall, the bread was outstanding.

 

 

8030DAD4-5CDE-45D6-A1E6-A2B58AC77A2A.thumb.jpeg.c8d56c780b7fa055db4119915e389081.jpeg

 

 

 

F314022B-4509-4D31-9995-BDC52ADC3E5C.thumb.jpeg.401b17e81952039b37c7da8a64766cb1.jpeg

 

Looks good! I'll be right over!! 

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