one trick for making French bread crispy is adding ice during the baking in another pan in oven
Yes, any time you can add moisture after shaping works well. This suggestion helps mimic a steam ovens effect. Also, spraying after shaping with a fine mist helps and the type of flour you use hastens this.
When I used to bake, I'd just throw some ice cubes into the bottom of the oven when I put the dough in. Gives you some steam a lot faster because you're not heating another pan.
Hot water in the pan rather than ice (I use boiling from the tea kettle) gives way more steam. About 15 minutes before I'm ready to put in the bread, I put in an empty, trashy roasting pan. Then in goes the bread, the boiling water and close that door quick.
If you go the misting route with a spray bottle, be CAREFUL you don't drip/mist water onto your baking stone (if you have one) or the window on your oven door. Aim carefully for the sides of the oven and the floor. Don't ask how I know about this.....
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