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Q: How do I get a nice floured surface on my homemade bread? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: How do I get a nice floured surface on my homemade bread?
Category: Family and Home > Food and Cooking
Asked by: bmosher-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 15 Aug 2005 14:38 PDT
Expires: 14 Sep 2005 14:38 PDT
Question ID: 556097

Recently I've been baking rustic country bread at home. One thing that
I haven't seen covered in any of the books is how to get the nice
white or brownish white flour-covered crust that you see at a good
bakery. Here are example pictures of breads that have the look I'm
trying to achieve.

After I shape the loaf, I flour the outside and then let it proof.
Before putting it in the oven I mist it with water to get better
ovenspring and crust development. Is the water interfering, or am I
not putting on enough flour? Perhaps there is some other trick to it?

Subject: Re: How do I get a nice floured surface on my homemade bread?
Answered By: journalist-ga on 15 Aug 2005 15:57 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Greetings Bmosher,

I think the water directly on the dough is interfering.  I've found a
few references on how to achieve the dusted crust you prefer.  You may
need to read the articles in their entirety to follow the snippets
I've provided below.  I also ran across a recipe suggesting to put a
container of water in the oven with the bread to create the necessary
steam so the crust doesn't dry out, or spritz the oven walls and
bottom (not the light as it could pop) instead of spritzing the dough
itself.  That method might work better for you to achieve the look you

"Preheat oven to 460F. Divide dough into 21.8 oz/620 g pieces. Roll
gently into 11? logs. Place loaves onto floured cloth to rise. Let
rise 25-30 minutes or slightly less, but do not allow dough to crack
or over-proof.
Do not score loaves. Move them gently onto oven loader or peel. Bake
at 460F. Mist with steam at the beginning; open oven door after 5
minutes and vent for about 5 minutes, then close again. Bake until
loaves are firm and golden red in color, about 30-32 minutes."

"Using the couche as an aid, gently roll each loaf onto a lightly
floured peel (big wooden spatula that pizza shops and bakeries use).
Score the top of each loaf 3 times with a sharp knife; about 1/2 inch
deep. Slide the loaves into the oven, onto a pizza stone or your tiled
shelf, not a wire rack! Use a spray bottle and spray water into the
oven (but not directly on the light in the oven) to create steam.
Quickly shut the oven, wait 3 minutes, and repeat; this time, leaving
the oven shut for about 22 more minutes."

"If your preference is for soft bread, brush the top and sides of the
loaf with oil or melted butter immediately upon removing it from the
oven. If you prefer a crunchier, harder crust, brush the crust with
nothing at all . . . and a dusting of flour on top at the beginning of
Stage Four will give a nice "old world" look to the bread, too."
[Stage Four: "Cover the loaf lightly with paper towels and stash it in
the warm place again. Let is rise for another 45 minutes, until the
loaf is doubled in size and ready to bake."]

No mention of spritzing it with water, as the water may serve to
deteriorate the flour coating.

Using a floured linen cloth for proofing the loaves
"Place a clean cotton cloth in a bowl or basket in which to hold the
loaf.  Lightly dust the interior of the bowl with flour.  Place each
formed loaf upside down in a bowl on top of the dusted flour.  Cover
the loaves with plastic and let them rise again until doubled.  This
rising will probably take less than an hour. Bakers note:  You want a
light dusting of flour on the cloth to be transferred to the bread,
not a heavy caking.  Softly sifting flour from a strainer is the
easiest way to achieve an even coating."

Using banneton baskets (you may order them from here too)
"Note: these bannetons are the traditional French style, made of
wicker and lined with linen (the liner is not removable). They are NOT
the German brotform (cane) style. They are suitable for home and what
I'd term "light commercial" use. I use them at home (here's a photo of
a 2kg sourdough miche I just made using the large 12" model below),
and they'd probably be okay for use in a small bakery for a while, but
no, I don't think they'd hold up long in a busy wholesale-style
bakery. These are NOT the ones made in France which cost a fortune
(sorry, you gotta pay big bucks to get those... no way around it). The
baskets are fine, but the linen is much thinner than the ones from
France and it's not sewn in using the really strong thread and fine
workmanship used by the French models."

"Invert round loaf onto a floured, rimless cookie sheet, slash it with
a razor blade in a tick-tack-toe pattern and slide it onto baking
stone (if using). This loaf is not glazed because the matte, floured
crust looks more rustic (glaze, however, if desired)."

Proofing in baskets
"The simplest solution is to use an
ordinary kitchen colander, and line it with a tea towel (the flat woven 
kind, without loops).  This toweling is not non-stick, unlike the raw linen 
used to line the imported baskets, but Peter Reinhart has suggested 
spraying the toweling lightly with a release spray first to make them 
non-stick, and then sifting flour into them (if you want a floured crust). 
The holes in the colander will help with moisture build up from the 
proofing bread. . . .Kathleen Weber, an artisan baker in Petaluma,
California, uses chip baskets, the woven plastic type used for chips
at Mexican restaurants, available at restaurant supply houses, for
proofing her breads.  These are very inexpensive, and she claims that
they work even better than the imported banneton."

Proofing with the floured linen cloth (couche) may also be the key to
getting that flour coating correct.  Please let me know if my research
helps you achieve the coating you desire.  You're also welcome to wait
on rating my answer until you've experimented with the information
I've provided. :)

Best regards,


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bmosher-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: How do I get a nice floured surface on my homemade bread?
From: steph53-ga on 15 Aug 2005 19:51 PDT

How cool to find a man that bakes bread :)

Subject: Re: How do I get a nice floured surface on my homemade bread?
From: bmosher-ga on 21 Aug 2005 12:08 PDT
Thanks for the advice, (and compliments...). I tried out the technique
using less water on the crust and with a pan of water in the oven. It
turned out really well. Here's a  picture of it. The crust is pretty
dark, but it tastes really nice.
Subject: Re: How do I get a nice floured surface on my homemade bread?
From: journalist-ga on 22 Aug 2005 15:05 PDT
Bmosher, thank you for the five-star rating.  I'm delighted you are pleased.  :)

Just curious, have you ever tried barely misting the crust after the
bread is baked, and then applying a fine coating of flour?

Best regards,

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