Albino Crust


I just made four loaves of sourdough white bread. It rose like crazy in the bulk rise and pretty well in the bannetons. I transferred it to the oven - a 1" stone on the top shelf and baking sheets on the bottom and an iron frying pan in the bottom to which I added water when I put the bread in. I baked it at 500 for 20 minutes and 425 for another 30. After the 50 minutes, the crumb was chewy and sour though pretty dense, and the crust, well, there wasn't any. It was just smooth and white. What did I do wrong?

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farinam's picture
farinam 2015 August 9

Hello ricksca,

First, I would wonder why you had the stone on the top shelf.  I think that the general idea is to actually bake your bread on the stone rather than under it though I think I have read of one case where they reported having two stones, one in the top and one lower down for baking on..  This might (or might not) have contributed to your problem.

If your oven temperatures are correct, and I assume you have checked them with an oven thermometer, then it seems unlikely that too low oven temperature is your problem.

Other likely causes are over-mature dough, lack of salt, excessive steam in oven and insufficient yeast.  Given your report of the dough activity we can probably discount the last one.   So, you have used steam but I'm not sure how long that lasted but generally it should cut out by about ten minutes into the bake either by limiting the amount of water added or by removing the source at the appropriate time.  Opening the oven has the added benefit of allowing the oven environment to clear and should be done in either case.

Assuming you are not making Tuscan bread (no salt) then it is assumed that you have not forgotten this vital ingredient.  And that leaves over mature dough which is another possibility given the description that you give of the crumb and the appearance of the loaf in that it appears 'flat' and spread out rather than rounded and well sprung.

So, I would be thinking about putting your stone down and baking on it rather than under it.  Check your oven temperature.  Limit the time that you have steam in the oven.  Shorten your dough development and proving time and become familiar with the methods for testing dough development (window test) and proof (poke test) and adjust your timing to suit your conditions (particularly temperature).  And one final thing, be sure you are using bakers flour.

Good luck with your projects.


ricksca 2015 August 12

Sorry my post was confusing. There was a stone on the top shelf. There were baking sheets on the bottom shelf. I baked 4 loaves, two on the stone, two on the sheets. They all looked like the one pictured. I think over mature dough and too much water probably are likely culprets. Thanks. 

farinam's picture
farinam 2015 August 12

Hello Ricksca,

That must be quite an oven you have there, to fit in four, what appear to be reasonably large, loaves .  Which makes me sort of wonder whether it could have been a bit over-loaded as well.  Perhaps you could try a smaller bake as well?

Good luck with your projects.


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