Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Building Better Bread: The Bake

I am privileged to be married to a man as obsessive about things as I am. He built this wood fired brick oven for me to bake my artisan breads and pizza. Really, nothing compares to baking in your own hearth oven. Unfortunately, my oven has been in a state of repair since we moved to our farm. I now use a commercial gas oven lined with the same type of fire brick we used to build our masonry oven. The results are very similar. 

Brick, steam and heat are three elements of hearth baking that artisan bakers try to replicate in their home ovens. The brick really seems to make all the difference. If you can't put bricks in your gas or electric oven, unglazed quarry tiles are a good option. When using the brick oven, after pulling the fire, we mop the deck. If misting or using steam pans aren't giving you the results you want and you have brick or very thick unglazed quarry tiles you can try mopping it to add moisture to the oven. Another lesson I learned baking in my brick oven is that artisan style breads bake better with high temperatures. It is helpful to set your preheat temperature well above the required baking temperature, then drop it after a few minutes to the temperature stated in your recipe. Since every oven is different you will have to judge which methods will give you the best results.

Tip: You will never question if your bread is done if you use a thermometer. The interior temperature of a well baked loaf should be between 180F for soft loaves and rolls to 210F, for crusty artisan breads, and should never exceed 212F 


Paula said...

Oh, I am so jealous. Not of the man, but the oven ;-)))

sandhiya said...

I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks. Pizza Equipment

Nohemi said...

Your hubby loves you very much because he exerted effort in creating this brick oven for you. Isn’t he sweet? Well, another reason is maybe because he just really wants to taste your scrumptious homemade bread and pizza from time to time. ^^, I hope that your brick oven is still in great condition, Christy.

Nohemi Tutterrow