The Baking Tool That Will Give You Crispier Bread Crust

Baking bread at home can be a rewarding experience, but achieving the perfect crust and texture can be a challenge. Even if you follow the directions exactly and you have a perfectly proofed loaf when it enters the oven, it still might not turn out right. Fortunately, there's a simple kitchen tool that can help you achieve the perfect bread crust — though there are a few things to know before you bake your first loaf. 

One way to improve your bread-baking skills is by using a baking stone, explains The Spruce Eats. Also known as a pizza stone, baking stones are flat, rectangular pieces of stone or ceramic (via Kitchn). When a baking stone is heated in the oven, it absorbs and retains heat, creating an even cooking surface for your bread and giving you that crisp crust characteristic of brick oven cooking. The stone also helps to regulate the humidity in the oven, which is essential for bread baking. The moisture in the bread evaporates and is absorbed by the stone, creating a humid environment that promotes the formation of a crust.

Now that you know how a baking stone will improve your bread, let's get into how to use it.

Preheat your baking stone for crusty bread

One of the main benefits of using a baking stone is that it allows you to bake bread at higher temperatures than you would be able to with any old oven. In a traditional oven, the heat is generated by heating elements on the top and bottom of the oven. Sourdough Bread Recipe explains this can create hot spots that can burn the bread on one side while leaving the other side undercooked. A baking stone, on the other hand, heats evenly and allows you to bake at temperatures up to 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (via Son Shine Kitchen).

To use a baking stone, you will first need to preheat the stone in the oven for at least 30 minutes, according to the Food Network. Once the oven and the stone are hot, you can place your bread on the stone and bake it according to the recipe instructions. Be sure to use a pizza peel or a flat baking sheet to transfer the bread from the counter to the stone, as the stone will be too hot to touch with your bare hands.

So the next time you make homemade bread, try utilizing a pizza stone or a rectangular baking stone. The simple step of placing the stone on the oven rack and preheating it is an easy way to elevate your loaves with a better crust.