We know that baking fresh bread with a crispy crust can be difficult, especially for first time bread makers. If you want to ensure you have crusty bread, we have seven tips that can help you when baking bread with a crispy crust.
If you want to bake bread at home and guarantee it has a crispy crust each time, you should follow our techniques.
Use The Correct Bread Recipe
It should come as a surprise to no one that using the correct recipe can ensure you have a perfect bread crust. If you make crusty bread, you shouldn’t use a recipe for sandwich bread.
Instead, you should focus on crustier loaves. A good crusty bread recipe calls for flour, warm water, yeast, and salt. If you’re new, you could also use a sourdough starter to see if you can make an entire loaf.
You should start with using dough for crusty rolls, sourdough starter, or baguettes. Another factor that can impact this is using the wrong flour. It’s best to find a suitable type of bread flour.
Although all-purpose flour is not the worst flour for your dough, it’s not as good as bread flour, which has been designed for home bakers to make great bread.
Ensure Your Oven Is A High Temperature
A higher temperature means that your bread will have a crispier crust.
However, you will also need steam in your hot oven, as the combination of steam and high temperatures creates a moist layer on the surface of your dough. This allows it to dry out and turn into a delicious crispy crust.
350°F is too low a temperature to create a crispy crust, and it will need to be higher.
To ensure it’s the right temperature for bread making, you should check it with an infrared thermometer or calibrate the thermostat of your oven. This way, you are guaranteed to have perfect crusty bread.
Shape The Dough With More Surface Area
Prior to when you start bread making, you will need to stretch the dough into shape. Even if you’re tempted to make a large sourdough loaf, they won’t have a crisp crust.
Instead, you should focus on making a fresh baguette with a tasty crust to start. Your dough is essential to your success at making bread.
Of course, there’s nothing that says you can’t make sourdough loaves, but they will have a soft interior compared to other dough.
It’s better to opt to shape your dough into smaller loaves to ensure there is more surface area. Pay attention to the amount of bread dough you use when baking.
Add Steam To The Oven
Earlier, we mentioned how the oven has to be hot when making a perfect crust. Steam helps your loaf’s crust become crispier, and prevents the outer layer from baking too quickly.
This makes it easier for the dough to expand. The steam inside the oven creates a flexible layer of starch on the exterior of the dough, which allows your loaf to rise.
If you don’t have enough steam in your oven, the exterior will form a crust too quickly. If this happens, your loaf won’t rise. If you’re familiar with the dutch oven method, this can create steam and ensure you’ve baked bread successfully.
Depending on how new you are to baking and what you have on hand, there is a method to ensure you have steam in your oven.
You should fill a deep metal baking tray with boiling water and put it on the bottom rack of your oven while it’s preheating. Ideally, the metal pan should have a thick base.
You should pour the boiling water in carefully when you put your dough into the oven to make bread. This should create a heavy volume of steam, and ensures your loaf is baked with a great crust.
You can also put ice cubes inside of a metal tray while you are preheating the oven. As the ice cubes melt, steam will rise up.
Similarly, filling a spray bottle with water and spraying into the oven before you bake has a similar effect.
Bake Your Bread On A Pizza Stone
When you start baking your crusty bread loaf, you might struggle to keep the bottom of your bread crusty too. The best way to ensure this is by baking on a preheated pizza stone or baking stone.
The stone will provide a hot surface and absorb heat from the oven and deliver heat upwards, making the bread rise quickly.
Meanwhile, the bottom of your homemade bread will absorb and transmit heat, and is baked with a crisp crust and a dark color.
Ensure You Bake For The Right Length Of Time
The amount of time that you bake your dough in the oven depends on numerous factors. It depends on the type of bread, the amount of dough, the amount of steam, and the kind of crust you would prefer.
So, you might need to factor in these elements. Following the recipe and baking standard bread might mean you follow the recipe exactly.
However, if you’re using steam, you might want to bake your bread in the oven for longer, with a darker crust preferred.
Cool Your Bread In The Oven
Many bakers will remove their baked loaves from the oven to cool after baking, but this can make your crust less crispy.
Instead, you should remove the loaf from the pan and put it back in the oven with plenty of airflow. Keep the oven door slightly open and leave it for a minimum of half an hour.
If you take the baked bread out of the oven straight away, the steam will condense on the crust and soften it. By leaving it in the oven, the excess moisture will evaporate while it remains in there.
Once your bread is cool, you can store it in a bread box or a loaf tin. If you put warm bread in a bread box it won’t last for as long.
With these simple tips, you should be able to enjoy a delicious homemade bread with a great crust from your own oven. Whether you’re new or old to the baking process, these tips can help you bake a loaf with a better bread crust at home.