This is my first time with sourdough bread. I got a fairly decent oven spring, even though i forgot to score it. My problem is the bottom crust is so hard that i could barely cut through it! Baked it in a cast iron dutch oven, 450 deg for about 25 minutes with lid on then another 10 with lid off. Any suggestions to my crust problem? Will take all the help i can get
The Problem with some cast iron's is that the bread can brown too much on the bottom before the rest of the bread can brown. Try taking it out of your Dutch oven after the 20 25 minutes mark and continue cooking it on a cookie sheet. You May also want to try to dust it off before you put it in the oven.
In my mind a fairly tough crust is part of the whole sourdough experience. I usually bake my loaves for 25 minutes at 500 degrees while covered in a combo cooker, then finished at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes or unttil it's a deep dark brown.
Several ways to avoid the hard crust.
Put a cold oven stone or two cookie sheets on the rack below your cast iron cooker.
Spread some corn meal or wheat bran on the bottom of the cast iron cooker (some may nopt like the taste or texture of that, but it is not bad at all and does work.
Two sheets of parchment paper underneath your dough when you put it in the cooker.