I was wondering if anyone could help with baking french bread.. I've been following the recipe from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice for French Bread and I'm having problems with the crust.
I'm scoring the loafs maybe 3/8" as horizontally to the surface as possible with an xacto knife. The knife drags a little bit, but it's the sharpest, thinnest blade I could find. And the cuts really don't spring open as much as I would like.
Also the rest of the crust is very pale, white and soft. The slits did expand a little and was a bit crunchy.. while the bottom of the loafs sat on a baking stone and had an excellent crust.
Following his book, im using a steam pan at the top rack and the stone at the very bottom and misting the walls of the oven with water 3 times during the first 2 minutes of baking. I start at 500F preheated for 40minutes and lowered to 450 two minutes into baking.
My guess is to score the loaves 3/4" (almost half way in).. and put less water in the steam pan ? I did notice water still in that pan 10 minutes into baking so i removed it. Just thought I'd try to get a 2nd opinion before trying my third time. It is very frustrating as it takes 6 hours out of the day to prepare after prepping a preferment the night before.
thanks for your time !