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Old 02-25-2008, 08:05 PM   #1
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Help! My baguette crust is chalky instead of gold!


I've been trying my hand at baguettes lately. I follow the recipe in Peter Reinhart's "Breadbakers Aprentice." I bake in a gas oven with a pizza stone. The bottom of my bread comes out with great color, but the top is sort of chalky looking. It tastes and feels great. Nice crunch, but the color is wierd. Here are some pictures. Any advice on how to get a great color on the top of my bread?

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Old 02-25-2008, 08:41 PM   #2
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tops of bread

maybe if u brushed the top of uncooked loaf with melted butter or oil.

that is really all i can suggest.

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Old 02-25-2008, 08:42 PM   #3
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I don't have Reinhart's book ... but from the photos it doesn't appear that your bread is either chalky looking or too pale according to the description you gave.

If you want to darken the top a bit - brush it with whole milk before putting into the oven (aka milk wash). The sugars and fats in the milk will aid in browning.
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:41 PM   #4
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Radical, I think your bread looks wonderful! I've never used a stone for baking bread but I'm wondering if that accounts for the difference in color between the top and the bottom. Mine looks like the top of your loaf does.
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:44 PM   #5
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Whenever I bake my baguettes, radicalkat, I brush the top of the loaf with slightly beaten egg white. My baguettes always turn out nice and bronze.
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:20 AM   #6
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That bread looks just fine to me, but as Michael or Katie suggested, brushing eggs white or whole milk will help you achieve the color you are looking for.

If you are going to use whole milke, I suggest to leave a small pot with water on the oven so the released steam will enhance the crust crispness and compensate for the added fat of the milk.
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Old 02-27-2008, 07:05 PM   #7
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Possible solution!

Hey folks,

Someone suggested to me that I was misting the baguette with too much oil before the final rise. I don't mist the baguette, however, I do liberally coat the dough ball with oil before I put it in a bowl for the initial rise. This could be the culprit. I'll post more when I try a loaf without the oil.
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Old 03-02-2008, 01:21 AM   #8
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In my experience oil usually...helps brown it. so I dunno if that will work.

Maybe you could try a different preferment? Instead of the pate fermentee that reinhart suggests. Maybe a biga would work better.

Maybe you can tweak the recipe you start with to maximize your sugar content. I use biga for my rustic breads and I usually get a nice red gold.
Bread can sing. o.O
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Old 08-30-2008, 11:38 AM   #9
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these suggestions make sense to me.
the thing that I've read about when making a baguette is to place a pan of cubes of ice in a oven proof vessel on the bottom rack, place it in the oven as it's preheating, therefore causing the steam to start. I've seen many tv shows on the making of baguettes and their commercial ovens used often have a shot of steam in there. just a suggestion and I do it with my NYT break.
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