Need help with too soft of a crust.
Posted: 11 April 2010 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I have a recipe for rosemary bread that is supposed to be a quick mock version of Macaroni Grill’s Rosemary Bread.  The recipe follows.  The problem is that it always has a crispy crust when it comes out but upon sitting for any amount of time the crust turns soft and wrinkles up.  I have tried the ice cubes in a pan, making the dough wetter/drier and it always turns out the same way.  Anyone have any hints?  I have a gas oven if that makes a difference.  I have included a picture as well.

Paraphrased
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 Cup water - warm
roughly 2 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon salt

Mix the warm water, sugar and yeast and let sit for 10 minutes until frothy

Add flour, butter, and rosemary.  Mix until combined and let sit for 20 minutes.  Knead in salt and knead in stand mixer for 5-6 minutes.

Let rise until doubled.  Punch down and let sit for 5 minutes.  Form into 2 balls and place on baking sheet.  Let double.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or untill top is golden brown.

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Posted: 11 April 2010 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Crispy crusts are somewhat fleeting anyway, but here are a few things you can do to make them last longer:

1. After the bread is done baking, turn off the oven, open the door slightly, and leave the bread in the oven for about 5 minutes longer before removing it.
2. Make sure you are using unbleached flour—probably unbleached bread flour would be best.
3. Continue with steaming during the initial part of the baking.
4. Consider omitting the butter—if you want butter flavor, add it to individual slices.

You could also play around with a higher baking temperature (maybe for just the first part of baking, and then lower to finish). I don’t think I’ve ever had very crispy crusts at that low of a temp. Also consider baking longer—your bread looks “just done,” and could probably stand for some more browning, which will also give it more flavor. Hope this helps!

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Posted: 11 April 2010 07:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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LETS GO HOAKIES:
  Good sunday afternoon to you. I will post tthe corrections in your recipe based on my experience in yeasted bread dough baking & Baking science. First off your recipe uses an excessive amount of instant yeast. Believe me 3/4 of a teasp will not only work but you never use more yeast than neccessary. 1 TBLS is way way excessive. 2nd, we never use warm water… we use cold water, WHY???? because when mixing, the machine imparts friction & that means HEAT transfed to the dough. Sooo, We must keep the dough temp under 90 degrees otherwise bad bacteria will set in & an oder will then ensue. The dough must not be used. optimum dough temp is 78 to 82 degrees. Use water at about 65 degrees in the warm summer months % 70 degrees max. in the cold weather. SUGAR, sugar is not a requirement in yeasted lean bread dough only in rich dough. In any event it is excessive   if you wish to employ it use 1/2 that stated amount., it it interferes with the yeast function when it is excessive Honey is a much better choice.
  It ia a good idea to add the salt after the ingredients have been mixed about after 4, minutes. Continue to mix for about 4 to 5 min. to develop the gluten. I will assume you know about fermentation & when it is time to do the fold (Punch down) & proofings. Oh yes it would be a good Idea to bake at 400 degrees min. If you what further infomation post back. Bake your bread now & then come back & tell us how well you have done.

  Good luck & enjoy the rest of the day my friend.

  ~FRESHKID.

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Posted: 12 April 2010 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I would second most of what has been said, LGH. This recipe was clearly developed for active dry yeast, and even then the amount used was excessive. The baker who switched to instant yeast didn’t know to use way less instant for the same result. Also, you don’t have to hydrate instant yeast (the 10 minute soak in warm water with sugar until it froths). You mix instant yeast in with the dry ingredients before adding the liquid.

This is not a particularly lean dough. Not having any prefermented dough ingredient like a biga or sourdough, it would have to rely on a little butter and sweetener plus the rosemary to give it flavour. Otherwise it’s “just plain white” and not a white with much depth of character. The amounts need to be kept very small, however, or they’ll create the characteristics you’re trying to avoid. No more than a teaspoon each of butter and sugar. Rather than honey for an alternate sweetener, known for its moisture retaining properties, maybe malt powder? Or barley malt syrup, if you can’t find powder. Use 1/4 tsp of the powder or 1 tsp, if it’s the syrup.

Definitely bread flour! Or if you have access to an unbleached AP that has 13% protein (gluten), you can use that. This gives the bread its structure. Freshkid’s comments on water temp are right on! Again, warm water would have been needed for active dry yeast, but it kills the instant dry. I also find that even with a 10 to 20 minute rest after the initial mix, bread dough is not sufficiently developed in my stand mixer until a total of 8 to 9 minutes kneading time. The blistered look of your crust suggests an underdeveloped dough. Also that it may have risen too much after shaping. Take it to “almost double” in volume. You want to have some oomph left, so the bread can continue to rise in the first few minutes of the bake (oven spring).

Yes to high initial heat - at least 400. I’d try 420 first. Steam in the first few minutes is very useful to develop a good crust. Even spritzing the inside of your oven with a spray bottle of water after you load the bread will help. Spray once again, 4 or 5 minutes later. Around the 10 minute mark, you can lower the temp to 375 if the bread is browning too quickly. Even with the initial higher temp, I’d say you need to bake your bread longer. Thump the bottom of one loaf, and listen for a pronounced hollow sound. Also press the side walls, which should feel firm. Tuck the loaves back in the oven if there’s any give at all. Above all for the softness issue, don’t store your bread in plastic bags.

Good luck! Let us know how you get on.

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Posted: 12 April 2010 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Yes, higher oven temp. I’d also play with omitting the butter.

I get great crusts by using the no-knead baking method (even on fully kneaded dough): If you have a dutch oven with a lid, try baking it in there. You put the dutch oven in the oven during the heating period, once the oven is at the set temperature (425 sounds about good) you take the dutch oven out, put your bread in, put the lid on, and then take the lid off about halfway through baking. The dough steams itself, and you get a beautiful crust. No oiling of the dutch oven, and it’s important that the dough goes into the hot dutch oven.

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Posted: 13 April 2010 04:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks so much for all the advice.  I will try it out this weekend and see how it fares.  I will post a followup with the results.

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