cracked crust

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by ddunn, Mar 5, 2002.

  1. ddunn

    ddunn

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    Lately the crust of certain of my breads are cracking open far more than is normal. This is true for both sourdough and European-styled hearth bread (Italian-style loaves/68% hydration). I seem to be getting more rise from these loaves than in the past, and I guess the skin of the dough is not able to stretch sufficiently to accomodate the amount of rise I am getting. These loaves taste wonderfully but do not have the classic look that I am accustomed to getting. I am not aware of my changing anything that would cause this, and it is not happening with my Pain De Campagne loaves. Any ideas?
     
  2. svadhisthana

    svadhisthana

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    The bread has an excessive break on the side
    • Insufficient rising period
    • Improper shaping
    • Oven is too hot
    The tops of the bread loaves are cracked
    • The dough is too stiff
    • The dough is not mixed well
    • The dough cooled too rapidly or in a draft
    This is the information from KA, The others on this board who bake more often than I may be able to help you more.
     
  3. kylew

    kylew

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    Most curious. I wonder...

    if your oven has started to run hot?

    If you are using a different brand/batch of flour?

    If you are using a different brand/batch of yeast?

    If you are fermenting/proofing you bread in a different place?

    These are thing I'm wondering :)
     
  4. ddunn

    ddunn

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    Thanks for the suggestions. The most likely problem is the oven. I have to work hard to regulate the heat and may be overshooting the runway. I'll ponder a bit and report. Do most of you bake at the top, middle or bottom of your stove? I use a stone in the middle. ddunn
     
  5. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    You'll need to experiment with the temperature as well as the height of your rack/baking stone.

    Do you slash your loaves?
     
  6. ddunn

    ddunn

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    I just baked four loaves, a couple of Italian-styled and two sour dough. The former came out perfectly, while the latter cracked or maybe a better description is tore at the slash. It looks like a tire that separated from the recap, a clean separation from the loaf. I was very careful with the oven temperature, so that is not it. I do not knead the dough very much before shaping for the final rise, so I may try a little more kneading. The big difference between the two that did not crack and the ones that cracked is the Italian loaves are more hydrated and they are baked at 425 rather than 450 degrees F. I think I will try more water on the next batch.
     
  7. ddunn

    ddunn

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    Thanks for the assistance with splitting crust problem. I have concluded that the problem is inadequate hydration. I'll test that out soon. It is nice being able to bounce bread baking problems off people who share this passion. ddunn
     
  8. ddunn

    ddunn

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    The loaves that were splitting were raised in a couche with 8-12 stays in the refrigerator. This would dry out the surface of the loaves and result in the cracked crusts. The reason my Pain de Campagne loaves did not crack although raised in the refrigerator was because I use a brot forms with plastic wrap covering the top of the loaves.
     
  9. kylew

    kylew

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    Refrigerator skin can be a real pain. If you want to continue using the couch maybe you could give the loaves a light oil spray and put the couch in a sealed garbage bag. It's worked for me for loaves risen on a sheet pan.
     
  10. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    I now knead my dough in the Kenwood mixer 2 minutes instead of 6-8 minutes. The crust turns darker and more crunchy/less gummy; the crumb more tan or yellowy and with a much lighter texture. The slashes produce - visually - better splitting creating a more attractive grigne.
     
  11. ddunn

    ddunn

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    Two very good suggestions. I'll try them both. I have baked a bunch of bread to test the "dried surface" theory, and there is no doubt that that is the cause of the cracked crust.
     
  12. jock

    jock

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    I'd watch outfor the garbage bag solution. I've heard that these bags have a lot of unhealthy chemical residue from the production process that might contaminate the bread. Misting with oil spray and covering with plastic wrap works for me.

    Jock