Creating a Crisp Bread Crust
There are many things that can affect how crisp a bread crust will turn out, but the most influential of them all is what is known as 'steamy heat'. Steamy heat is created by adding water to a hot oven, which of course turns to steam. Why it is so effective in helping to create a crisp, crackling crust is because the moisture that sits on the surface of bread dough helps the enzymes break down the carbohydrates into sugar, and with the help of intense heat from the oven gives the crust a deep golden colour and crisp texture.
Also, sprinkling water directly onto the surface of the bread dough, if the oven temperature is high enough, will also create small crisp bubbles on the surface (as it has on this loaf) adding to the crunch!