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Improving bread crust color
Posted: 11 August 2008 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Sarah, your bread shaping is fine!!!!!!

From what I can see, I think the issue is on the gelatinization.  The crusts look thin and dry.  By all means, you need to change only one variable at a time.  Could your do exactly as you do now, but try this one variable:

When preheating the oven, place a cast iron pizza pan, skillet, or pancake grill directly on the oven floor if possible, or on a bottom oven rack if not.  It must preheat for a minimum of 30 minutes (1 hour best).

Do the ice cubes as instructed on TBB.  Be sure to turn off convection if any, and to damp the electric oven exhaust with several kitchen towels (I can literally see the steam coming off from this exhaust when baking on my electric oven).

Is your oven convection?

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Posted: 11 August 2008 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Sarah, What did you do differently for the boule?  It has superb colour and all look very well shaped.  If I were you, I’d persevere with learning to use the peel/stone.  Start off with a firmer dough as it’s not as likely to stick to the peel.  Flour the peel generously (or use fine cornmeal) and very gently invert the brotformen so that the loaf slips on to the peel.  I think Rose recommends using a cardboard round to ease the transfer.  Like everything else, once you have a bit more confidence you will wonder what the problem was!  The hot stone with a steamed, hot oven is the ideal environment for a loaf to rise and have a grand crust.
Annie

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Posted: 11 August 2008 08:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Hector:

Nope, I don’t have a convection oven.  It’s a gas oven and I do preheat for at least an hour, including the pan on the bottom for the ice cubes.  I’m really glad you see what I’m talking about.  The crust is dry and thin. 

Annie:

The Boule is from my sourdough experiment over a year ago.  This one was proofed in a banneton and then baked directly on the stone.  So your suggestion to try that again may help solve my problem.  Time to unearth and dust off my peel!

I will admit the whole sourdough process wore me out but the results were so wonderful.  I don’t really understand the chemistry involved but I know from my own baking and from seeing others that sourdough really produces beautiful bread.  I’m gearing up to try Rose’s sourdough this time and hopefully it won’t be the chore that Nancy Silverton’s was.

Thank you both for your help.  I’ll post back with the results. smile

Warm regards,
Sarah

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Posted: 12 August 2008 10:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Sarah, all your breads look great.  How did you get the design on the top of the Kaiser Rolls, did you use a bread tool or knife?  Jo Ann

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Posted: 13 August 2008 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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boggiegrey - 13 August 2008 01:48 AM

Sarah, all your breads look great.  How did you get the design on the top of the Kaiser Rolls, did you use a bread tool or knife?  Jo Ann

Hi Jo Ann,

Thanks for the kind words!  I was a little leery putting up photos in the presence of such experienced bakers so it’s been really nice hearing my shaping isn’t as dreadful as I thought.

I used a Kaiser Roll stamp like this:

http://www.fantes.com/images/1273bread.jpg

According to Peter Reinhart, creating the folds is difficult so he recommends home-bakers use a stamp or make a knot.  I think the stamp looks more authentic.  smile

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