For a soft crust, brush butter (or other fat) over the top of the bread before it is baked or while it is in the oven. Reason is so that the fat retards the drying out of the exposed surface. For a hard crust, brush the top of the baked goods with cold water, either before placing it in the oven or while it is baking. Alternatively, create a steamy baking environment by placing a pan of water in the bottom of the oven.
** Asian Recipes