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A baker gave a pain de mie recipe which he do in his bakery, and the result is a soft and fluffy bread.

I tried at my home at same temperature with same recipe and resting time, the result was acceptable from the inside (fluff, and airy) but it has a crispy crust. His bread was completely soft (soft crust and soft interior).

Is it because at bakeries the ovens are essentials in creating such textures ?

The read contain: flour, salt, yeast, sugar, water and butter.

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In a commercial bakery Pain de mie would be baked in a sealed tin. I think it is a similar bread to the `Pullman loaf', which is baked in a special Pullman tin. (Easy to find a picture on the web.) This minimizes crust formation.

More generally, domestic ovens, particularly fan ovens, are designed to cook food in a dry environment. Low humidity means heat gets transferred quickly to the exterior of the food. This is good for roasting meat etc. For bread it means you are likely to get a thicker and darker crust than in a commercial bakery. You can try to counterbalance this by putting a tray of boiling water into the oven just before the loaf, or (more successful in my experience) using a preheated Dutch oven inside your oven.

  • the dutch oven will lock humidity inside and help the crust be soften ? I heard once that a bain marie would help giving a crust to a baguette per example. – alim1990 May 17 at 15:03
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    Yes, that's the idea for the Dutch oven. You can't create initial steam this way (the bread would just go soggy!) but the moisture released as the bread bakes gets trapped, and helps to soften the crust. I have never heard of a bain-marie (i.e. a double boiler) being used for bread baking. – Mark Wildon May 17 at 15:34
  • I've always heard of using a source of water in the oven or a dutch oven to help create a crisper crust, not a softer one. For a softer crust I brush with milk before going into the oven or with a fat of some kind (butter, for example) after the bread comes out of the oven, though I admit I'm not sure of the science behind either. – senschen May 17 at 17:16
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    I use a Dutch oven and get a very crunchy crust. I recently saw a Food Wishes video for white bread where he brushed it with butter before baking and while still warm after baking to get a soft crust. – Spagirl May 18 at 17:49
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High heat gives you the hard crust.

You need to bake at different temperatures: an initial high one just enough to generate the rise, followed by a lower temperature to dry out the interior.

I bake 5" Pullman bread. With my convection oven, my inital temperature is 160ºC for 11 minutes, followed by 140ºC for 30 minutes and then 65-70 minutes at 120ºC.

My oven works differently and if you are baking 4" bread, your time is also different and may not need three stages.

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