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Old 06-20-2005, 08:02 PM   #11
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Pete, I'm a rank amatuer compared to Michael, but I've found the simplest way to get a soft crust (which I prefer) is to lower the baking temperature and to start with a cold oven. I bake some of my no-fat breads at 335 to 350F. No steam, no water, no coating. Just the dough after one or two risings. I get a very thin, soft, tan crust after about 30 minutes. (Pyrex loaf pan or flat steel sheet pan, gas oven, at sea level).

Works for me - maybe it will for you.
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:43 PM   #12
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Let's see if Surfrkim comes on tonight (she is in Australia) - she says she loves to bake bread and has a lot of knowledge too.
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Old 06-21-2005, 09:33 AM   #13
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Oldcoot: Thanks for the information. I will try the next time I bake. I also like a crisp, light brown crust and nice smooth moist inside. I've been working on different combinations, like ice cubes, higher temp at first then lower, and other combinations for the brushed top.

I'll find it sooner or later.
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Old 06-22-2005, 11:09 AM   #14
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Well guess what! I didn't use ice cubes or any steam or water at all, and I didn't brush the tops with anything, and I didn't slice the tops either. I baked the bread for 10 minutes in an oven set at 400. Then I turned it down to 350. And half way through about 15-20 minutes I rotated them and traded places. They came out great! The crust was just a nice dark tan color and the crust was just crunchy enough, just right! And the bread was very good tasting!

I am going to try it again next time but this time instead of shaping two loaves I am going to make four, because they we pretty large. The four ought to come out like a little larger than hoagie rolls.

(Remember this was the time I drizzled two table spoons of olive oil into the bread machine while it was in it's early stages. I think that little trick was the secret to the good tasting bread.)

So thanks all for the help and advice. I am going to stick with this one until I get it just perfect. Will let you all know.
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Old 06-22-2005, 11:17 AM   #15
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Oh, I forgot to tell you I am using sheet pans. I am planning on getting baggette trays soon. They come in two and threes and two+ and or three+ inches wide.
And a gas oven with the racks 1/3 from the bottom and 2/3rds from the top. And I trade places and rotate them halfway through.
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Old 06-22-2005, 11:26 AM   #16
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Now the problem I was working on before I discovered you guys, (such a friendly bunch), was trying to make Spanish Pan.

When I am in Spain (Tudela), to visit my friends, they have "pan" delivered everyday. (Because it gets hard after just one day.)

They are long loaves about 2 feet long and about baseball size. And very crunchy and just delicious tasting.

I asked around here (Marathon and Key West) and some people (who make Cuban bread which is similar) suggested a "starter" or called something else, I have forgotten, and starting in a cold oven too.

I've looked for Spanish Pan on the internet and got some success with those basic recipes but not even close.

Anyone have a handle on this one?
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Old 06-22-2005, 03:50 PM   #17
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Pete, I'm pleased you effors paid off, perhaps wih the use of some of the ideas presented here.

Now what I am about to say may meet with considerable disagreement by some - and that's O.K. too.

Bread making began as a simple way to prepare grains in a palatable manner. It's come a long way since then, for which we are all thankful. But it is still a relatively simple process, not requiring the high degree of accuracy of a chemist. True, such care will better ensure reproducable results, but, for me at least, such attention to minute detail takes too much time and effort, and tends to lessen the fun of baking bread.

I have done it both ways - strictly following the measurements and instructions of a recipe, and then kind of throwing things together somewhat haphazardly. For me, there has been only minor differences in the result.

So, unless one derives pleasure from following instructions and methods to the letter, I suggest the KISS principle can be quite satisfying.

Happy baking!!
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Old 06-23-2005, 07:35 AM   #18
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Pete, I just took a look at your food photos, and it looks like you know what you are doing already!
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Old 06-24-2005, 07:59 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
Now the problem I was working on before I discovered you guys, (such a friendly bunch), was trying to make Spanish Pan.

When I am in Spain (Tudela), to visit my friends, they have "pan" delivered everyday. (Because it gets hard after just one day.)

I asked around here (Marathon and Key West) and some people (who make Cuban bread which is similar) suggested a "starter" or called something else, I have forgotten, and starting in a cold oven too.
The "starter" referred to may be a "pre-ferment" - check out the thread http://discusscooking.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6298

An excellent bread book that delves extensively into this approach to bread baking is Peter Reinhart's The Bread Bakers Apprentice. Breads made with this technique taste fabulous but but they're intended to be eaten in a day or two; since they contain no fat they stale fairly quickly.

BTW, after many experiments with variations on "home steaming" methods, I too abandoned it. I've found it really doesn't make that much difference.
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:03 AM   #20
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I will have to buy that Reinhart book for my reference library. And I think I will just abandon the steam right now and go with what I am doing. Especially the drizzle of the olive oil. I likied the result. I am also anxious to buy baggette pans of different sizes. I think that will certainly help my loaf size. Then without the steam I think the crust will come out the way i would like.
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