Friday, December 10, 2010

How to build a wood fired bread oven... the bread begins!

The Natives are restless. As I go through my daily business in our little town of Cave Creek Arizona, my friends and neighbors keep asking when the bread will be for sale. I tell them I’m working on it and give the latest update as far as baking progress.

My bread recipes are coming along and with each firing of the oven I learn more about the nature of this amazing piece of cooking equipment. As I run into difficult patches I find myself going back to advice that I have been giving aspiring cooks for the past few decades. I have offered the rule of three many times over the years. It goes something like this; take any dish that you would like to make and find a good recipe. Make it exactly as written three times stopping to think about what worked and what needed improvement by the third time you will be making a good solid example of what ever you are shooting for. The first time I tried baking in the big oven it came out heavy and dull. I was distraught… after all I’m supposed to be a cooking instructor. My wife Chef Kathy reminded me of the rule of three and the fact that it’s a learning experience.

I went back at it and on the third try I made real bread with a thick chewy crust that made a crunching sound as I bit into it. The flavor was deep rich and complex. My ingredients; flour, water and salt. I hope that you will use this blog as a resource to answer all your questions on baking and the construction and use of the wood fired “Black” oven.

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