Two things I want to say about baking bread:
First. In my second post answering reader questions about bread, I wrote about how to get your loaves brown. I have something to add. If you include barley malt powder or syrup in your dough, it will help it brown nicely. In my very limited understanding, the malt helps break down the starch to let the sugar out. As we all know, sugar helps things get brown. I got some at the grocery store, and I’ve seen it available online in several places.
Second. I recommended using a pizza stone in your oven to help regulate temperature. They’re also helpful (I hear) for getting a great bottom crust. They’re also expensive. In a move that I think would make TBA Farms proud, I rigged up my own pizza stone for under three dollars.
At my local giant hardware store, I purchased six “quarry tiles” and laid them out on my oven rack as a pizza stone. They were $0.45 each and worked like a dream. Please note carefully: you must purchase UNGLAZED plain tile. Some glazes have lead in them, which can be dangerous. You’ll want to look for the inexpensive, unglazed, reddish tile. I can’t say enough how pleased I was with the results.