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Crusty Bread

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I bake my own bread several times a week and I discovered this by accident. I make my dough, allow it to double then shape it into loaves. The loaves then get covered in food film and I proof them overnight in the walk in cooler. After baking I get a nice, dimpled, lovely crust. I used to proof my breads in a proof box and was never satisfied with the results. I use a standard restaurant oven, not a bread oven. What exactly is going on that produces this crust. Yeast is fermenting, producing carbon dioxide and the bubbles are getting trapped in the outer layer but is there something else going on?


I have a first edition of "on Food.." that I bought when I was in culinary school and I NEVER get tired of reading it. One day I will get pages 345 through 349 unstuck!

John Malik


33 Liberty Restaurant

Greenville, SC


Customer at the carving station: "Pardon me but is that roast beef rare?"

Apprentice Cook Malik: "No sir! There's plenty more in the kitchen!"

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You have made your own discovery of "retarding"! Refrigerating the dough slows the fermentation and rising, of course (hence retarding). It also causes the dough gases, carbon dioxide from yeast and nitrogen from air, to seep from the dough matrix itself and collect in larger, coarser gas pockets. (The gases are less soluble in the water-based gluten at low temperatures.) The outer layers of the dough end up less continuous, more divided by bubbles, and the interior is less cakelike, more irregular.

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