The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Retaining Crispy Crust for Farmer's Market

Butterman's picture

Retaining Crispy Crust for Farmer's Market

Hello. Just starting out experimenting with bringing yeast loaves to a farmer's market and I'm really struggling with the difference between baking the day/night before the market vs baking the same day. 

My normal procedure is to bake orders on demand and deliver them within 2 hours of coming out of the oven. I cool them in the oven with the oven off to help solidify the crust. When eaten like this the crust is crispy, tasty, and easy to bite through. The perfect bite in my opinion. Crumb is soft and moist. This a test loaf I made with raisins (otherwise same as my main bread) but you can hear the crunch. Yes I know I didn't let it cool enough but I just wanted to eat it. Haha.

If I bake the night before whether I store the bread at room temp or in an open bag, either way the crust just dies off. I've had people rave at the farmer's market about how delicious it is....but in my opinion it tastes way less crispy and becomes slightly rubbery and/or chewy. 

Now, with day old bread at home I normally just toast it up and really enjoy it that way too....but if I'm selling at a farmer's market I feel like there is no solution to maintaining that crust unless I go to bed at 4pm, wake up at midnight, and start baking at that time. 

Should I go for a super long bake (instead of 50min perhaps 70 or 80) and try for more browning/caramelization of the crust or will that just result in a thicker, chewier, softer, more rubbery crust? 

Is this just a fantasy? Is this possible? Do people even care? People seem to like it as it is which I find strange.




tpassin's picture

I don't think there is a perfect solution.  And I've never baked for commercial distribution.  But at home, I often end up with bread whose crust is still pretty good the next day.  I think your step of leaving loaves in the turned-off oven is good, but I don't know it that's practical for the number of loaves you will need to bake for the farmer's market.

The crust softens, I think, mainly because moisture that keeps coming out of the loaf gets absorbed by the crust.  The loaves I mentioned that are still pretty crusty the next day are ones that I leave out on the counter even after cutting slices from one end.  So here are some steps that I have or would take.  Maybe all of them together would be enough to do the job (and I'm sure that they are not new to you!):

1. Bake longer or at a higher temperature to dry the loaf and brown the crust more;

2. Leave loaves in the turned-off oven for a while after baking;

3. Let loaves cool for much longer before transporting or packaging;

4. Store loaves well apart so they don't pick up each other's moisture.

5. Use paper bags, not plastic, and only at the point of sale.  Better:

6. Use perforated (plastic) bread bags when you sell a loaf to a customer. These are available, made for the purpose, and not expensive in quantity.  They have worked pretty well for me. Perforated paper bags might be ideal but I haven't come across any. 


The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...


tpassin's picture

North-central, that is, where I used to live ...

gavinc's picture

Australia :)

Robertob's picture

From my experience of doing markets if you have a bold bake the crust should come out nice and crispy.  I also add  whole spelt/rye up to 20% for extra crispy crust.

My method works for sourdough, not sure if bakers yeast also works but I can’t think of much difference.

on my insta mollica_bakes you can see  some of my loaves for comparison.  I use a couple of Rofcos and the loaves are baked 20mins steam and all vents closed, another 20mins vents opened to release as much water as possible.


I hope this helps.

Butterman's picture

Thanks for the comments. 

Right now I'm just not satisified with what the crust becomes by the time it gets to the market. I guess I feel slightly guilty selling product that is not at its best state because I know the difference. 


Roone's picture

I believe this is from steam in the crumb escaping through the crust.  I have allowed my loaf to cool down on a wire rack, where its previous crispy crust is now soft and chewy.    I then pop it into a hot oven for 10 minutes or so, the crust will darken and crispen up and stay crispy.  Kinda like a "post-bake toasting". You may have to play around with it depending on the type of bread you're working with.

TheBreadMaster's picture

Instead of cooling bread in the oven, you can use a process called 'proofing'. It involves covering the bread with a damp cloth or plastic wrap after baking and cooling to prevent the crust from drying out completely. Then you can re-bake the bread before selling to restore its crispy crust.