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masuzzu 12-04-2008 08:46 AM

Undercooked bread
 
I just started using my brick oven for baking bread , the crust was hard and the inside (crum) was slightly under cooked. My guess is the the temperature was too high. Any other thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!
By the way :(THE BRICKS WERE WHITE AND THE OVEN AIR TEMP WAS 350F),

Jed 12-04-2008 10:35 AM

Re: Undercooked bread
 
Masuzzu,

How long was the bread in the oven? It might have need a bit more time?

JED

masuzzu 12-04-2008 02:26 PM

Re: Undercooked bread
 
Since this was the first "test" bread, I think you are right about more time,however, I was concerned that more time would make the outside crust even harder. Do you know if that is typically the case?

Jed 12-04-2008 03:05 PM

Re: Undercooked bread
 
I'm pretty much a rookie at this baking, but I think the crust hardness is more about the chemistry of the flour, available sugars, and hydration than a little bit more time...

JED

masuzzu 12-04-2008 04:51 PM

Re: Undercooked bread
 
Thanks Jed!

Dutchoven 12-04-2008 09:32 PM

Re: Undercooked bread
 
Masuzzu, Jed
The hardness of the crust is probably due to the fact that a 350F air temperature is a bit low for WFO baking. A longer, cooler and drier bake will give a hard crust. Generally the air temperature in a WFO is about 50 cooler than the surface temperatures so your oven floor would have been about 400 lets say. Our hearth loaves are usually baked with the surface temperatures in excess of 475. I would recommend you invest in an laser infrared thermometer to check the floor temps(much more important in the WFO than air temp), a quick read probe thermometer(I recommend the Thermapen which is a bit costly but is worth every penny)so that you can check the internal temperature of the baked loaves(should be between 195 and 205 depending on the type of bread) and also a pump sprayer of some kind to spray nice clean water into the oven after you load it and before you close the door. That will give the loaves a more humid environment in the crucial first 2 minutes of the bake and will help you get the crust and crumb that you would like. You can then vent that steam about half way through to set a nice crisp crust. At the right temps in a WFO your loaves should very likely take no more than 25 minutes to bake to an internal temp of 205.
Good luck for next time!
All the best!
Dutch

james 12-04-2008 09:57 PM

Re: Undercooked bread
 
Very good. Thanks Dutchoven.

The quickread thermometer seems to be necessary - as you cannot really do a good job of estimating internal temperature, and the traditional "thump" method really doesn't seem to work. I find myself putting loaves back into the oven for an additional 3-5 minutes to reach 205 internally frequently.

Masuzzu and Jed -- keep baking.
James

jwnorris 12-05-2008 11:36 AM

Re: Undercooked bread
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dutchoven (Post 46516)
<snip> ...and also a pump sprayer of some kind to spray nice clean water into the oven after you load it and before you close the door. That will give the loaves a more humid environment in the crucial first 2 minutes of the bake... <snip>

A friend who worked for a baker in Berkeley says that they always threw a handful of ice into the oven at the beginning and another at some point during the bake. Has anyone had any such experience?

J W

:cool:

james 12-05-2008 05:27 PM

Re: Undercooked bread
 
Hey JW,

Very topical. Here's a quote from Hamelman. Though this is about a conventional oven, I think it applies to brick ovens:

"As the stone is preheating, a sturdy cast-iron pan should be placed in the oven. When the oven is good and hot, and the bread is ready to load, bring a cup of water to a boil. As it is heating, throw a couple of ice cubes into the bottom of the oven (or, if this could warp the oven floor, into a small loaf pan on the the bottom). The ice will serve to moisten the oven, which is quite different from steaming the oven."

He goes on to say, load the broad and pour the boiling water into the cast-iron pan to create steam.

I think ice cubes can apply to our bricks ovens, as a pre-steam moistener, and I'm going to give it a try.

James

Dutchoven 12-06-2008 07:11 AM

Re: Undercooked bread
 
Hey guys!
The ice cubes will work quite well but I agree in that it is not a substitute for steaming the oven. I have to say I don't think a steam pan is a substitute either. There is something about spraying that creeates a much steamier oven thatn the other two options...although in a pinch they are better than none at all. We steam the oven with a sprayer prior to loading the bread and then again before closing the door. I think CJim does the same also. It is good for "tempering" the baking environment...moistening is also a good word.
All the best!
Dutch


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