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Bread baking question

shaebones Sep 23, 2007 11:22 PM

How do I get a hard crust to the french bread I've been making. Love the taste but hate the soft crust. Tried putting in a pan of water to steam it (read that somewhere) but did'nt help. What's the answer?

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  1. JasmineG RE: shaebones Sep 23, 2007 11:25 PM

    Make the no knead bread! Do a search on the New York Times site to find the original articles about it, and there are lots and lots of posts here about it. Great taste and nice crunchy crust.

    1. Professor Salt RE: shaebones Sep 23, 2007 11:27 PM

      I'm guessing you're making baguettes, or is it some other shape?

      Tell us what you're doing with your oven technique first: temps / baking stone or not / baking pans or not.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Professor Salt
        shaebones RE: Professor Salt Sep 24, 2007 02:50 AM

        Actually, its my husband who is making the bread. I think the oven temp is 350. No baking stone. He puts it on a cookie sheet. Baguette style.

        1. re: shaebones
          Kelli2006 RE: shaebones Sep 24, 2007 09:34 AM

          I have found that you need the very hot stone to get a great crust.

          I pre-heat my oven to 475F to get a good heat sink in the stone, and then lower the temp to 350K just before I slide the bread in. I prefer to shape the bread on a piece of parchment that I can sacrifice to the baking gods, as I can never get bread to reliably slide off a mealed peel.
          A few mists of water as you close the door helps, as will as baking to a intenal tempo of 210F.

          If there is any fat (oils, butter or egg wash) in the recipe, you will also find it impossible to get a great crackly crunch.

          1. re: Kelli2006
            chowser RE: Kelli2006 Sep 24, 2007 10:16 AM

            I was just going to add that about the hot stone. I also have the dough on parchment paper (cut about an inch longer than the dough, with a little extra on one end so I can grab it) and slide it onto the stone that's been in the oven the half hour I preheated it.

      2. chowser RE: shaebones Sep 24, 2007 05:43 AM

        The no knead bread is a great way to get a crust--baking it in an enclosed container. When I've used water for steam, I preheat the oven to 500 for half an hour w/ a cast iron skillet. Then, when I put the dough in, I pour in two cups of boiling water into the cast iron skillet.

        Here's a recipe for the no knead bread. Worth trying for so little effort and great bread:


        1 Reply
        1. re: chowser
          soupkitten RE: chowser Sep 24, 2007 05:47 AM

          yes it is important that the water is boiling, not cold, when you add it to the pan in the oven, & that the oven is preheated. could this be part of the problem?

        2. yayadave RE: shaebones Sep 24, 2007 06:42 AM

          I'm thinkin' that temperature is not right. Try putting a pan of water on a rack under the rack where the dough will be put at the time you turn the oven on to heat up. Heat the oven at about 425. This will fill the oven with steam. Then put the dough in to bake for about 10 minutes at that temperature, then turn it down to about 375.

          1 Reply
          1. re: yayadave
            Gio RE: yayadave Sep 24, 2007 07:06 AM

            I agree with Dave about the temp and the steam. Here's a link to a bread baking site I love...

          2. monavano RE: shaebones Sep 24, 2007 07:06 AM

            Get a spray bottle and fill with water. Spritz water in the oven just before putting in the bread. Close the door. Place bread in oven. During the first 7-8 minutes of baking, spray the bread and oven lightly, 3 times.
            This will ensure a nice crust.


            1. mels RE: shaebones Sep 24, 2007 07:20 AM

              I get a nice crust on baguettes by using a baguette pan. It is perforated with little holes all around so it isn't sitting on a flat cookie sheet. Any baking supply store will sell them.

              1. scuzzo RE: shaebones Sep 24, 2007 09:54 AM

                The hot water works. Oven must be very hot, 450. Water must be boiling. Also, spill a little to the bottom of your oven when you close the door. Do NOT have your face right by the door when you open the over!

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