The Wood-Fired Blog

Wood-Fired Pizza on the Road in Idaho

This wood-fired catering company uses a Forno Bravo oven from The Fire Within — and I really like how his oven looks as well (haha). Check out The Whole Pie Pizza (TWPP) in Moscow, ID. These guys are really committed to their local community, and they are getting some good press coverage as well.

Fox Pizza Bus

How cool is this.

A Forno Bravo pizza oven in a double decker bus roaming the streets of Los Angles. Here is more from the Zagat Blog.

“It’s the creation of chef Michael Fox who, somehow, installed a Forno Bravo wood-burning pizza oven on the truck, which he uses to cook pizzas that he hand-tosses at parties and events – and hopefully, sometime in the future, at food truck get-togethers. In the meantime, he’s also offering cooking classes, where you and your friends can learn the fine art of pizza making. For info, go to, e-mail or call 818-305-4722.”

Photo courtesy of the Fox Pizza Bus

You can also check out the Fox Pizza Bus page on Facebook. These guys are busy. We will be adding them to our list of Wood-Fired Cooking Schools on

Pizza Oven Bread Baking Temperature

There is a trade-off when baking bread between higher temperature baking, which gives you a lighter, crisper crust, and more moderate (lower) baking temperatures, which give your bread a thicker and denser crust. Of course not all breads are the same, and a sourdough miche typically sports a thicker, chewier crust, why traditional light, yeasted breads, such as baguettes and ciabatta’s, have the thinnest and crunchiest of crusts.

But I think you can take this too far. In my impatience to bake (and often real-world time constraints), combined with a slight (and totally unwarranted) bit of nerves that my oven will cool down too fast to where my bread won’t bake — I have been baking my light breads at temperatures ranging from the high 500F’s into the low 600F’s. Which means that my bread is baking very quickly. Sometimes as quick as 10 minutes. And the balance between the crust and the crumb is OK, with the inside of the loaf reaching 200F-210F while the outside is a warm brown.

Still, I think the crust on my loaves might be too thin and too light. Next step — I am going to make a conscious effort to give my pizza oven time to fall into the low to mid 500Fs before I load my bread. I know that the oven will retain enough heat for a very solid bake, so now all I need is the convictions and patience to actually do it.

Pizza Pilgrams Make it to Zagat

We discovered Pizza Pilgrams, the guys in London with the Forno Bravo built into an Ape (Italian three wheel mini truck) a while back and blogged about them. And today they are interviewed in the Zagat blog. You should read the article — there is some good stuff. Among the things I learned, one of them is called James and he really liked the oven brick ovens in Pompeii. It’s a small world.

Photo from Zagat


Best New Pizzerias in the World

These are the Best New Pizza Places — at least according to Food and Wine. Here is their list, but be sure to read the article to see what they have to say, and to check for addresses and web site. It is interesting to see Del Popolo on this list, with their monster pizza truck.

Del Popolo. Photo from Food & Wine. © Matthew Millman

The West
Ciccio; Yountville, CA
Redd Wood; Yountville, CA
Del Popolo, San Francisco
Casey’s Pizza Truck, San Francisco
Stella Rossa; Santa Monica, CA
800 Degrees, Los Angeles
Oven and Shaker; Portland, OR

The South
Garage Bar; Louisville, KY
The Backspace, Austin
Harry’s Pizzeria, Miami

The Midwest
Bar Toma, Chicago
Mani Osteria; Ann Arbor, MI
(Coming Soon) Pastaria by Niche, St. Louis

New York City
Don Antonio by Starita
Via Tribunali
(Coming Soon) Franny’s

Da Michele, Naples
Franco Manca, London
La Briciola, Paris
La Mezzetta, Buenos Aires
Savoy, Tokyo

The Sun Also Rises

There is nothing new under the sun. I am reading Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” set, in part, in Paris in the 1920′s, and I can’t help but mention an fun restaurant scene that takes place on Ile Saint Louis — the small island behind Notre Dame. After writing my blog posting on long lines at restaurants that had been mentioned in guidebooks, I really got a kick out of this.

Jake: “We ate dinner at Madame Lecomte’s restaurant on the far side of the island. It was crowded with Americans and we had to stand up and wait for a place. Some one had put it in the American Women’s Club list as a quaint restaurant on the Paris quais as yet untouched by Americans, so we had to wait forty-five minutes for a table. Bill had eaten at the restaurant in 1918, and right after the armistice, and Madame Lecomte made a great fuss over seeing him.

“Doesn’t’ get us a table, though,” Bill said. “Grand woman, though.”

Jake. “We had a good meal a roast chicken, new green beans, mashed potatoes, a salad, and some apple-pie and cheese.”

“You’ve got the world here all right,” Bill said to Madame Lecomte. She raise her hand, “Oh, my Gd!”

“You’ll be rich.”

“I hope so.”

After the coffee and a fine we got the bill, chalked up the same as ever on a slate, that was doubtless one of the “quaint” features, paid it, shook hands, and went out.

“You never come here any more, Monsieur Barnes,” Madame Lecomte said.

“Too many compatriots.”

“Come at lunch-time. It’s not crowded then.”

“Good. I’ll be down soon.”

I just love that.

Peanut Butter on Whole Wheat Olive Bread

No, really.

Here is a nice while whole wheat boule with kalamata olives that tastes great with peanut butter. The olives seem to give the bread a nice moistness, without overwhelming it. It doesn’t cry out for olive oil and red wine; in fact it’s a really nice bread for lunch. Or in my case, right after running.

The Forumula

800 grams white whole wheat flour
200 grams of general purpose flour
10 grams yeast
20 grams salt
20 grams molasses
20 grams honey
40 grams olive oil
125 grams of olives
730 grams water

This is a wet dough, so much so that after 10 minutes of kneading on KitchenAid 2, it was still basically a batter that was just coming together. So I gave it another three minutes on KitchenAid 4 and it just formed a dough ball. Phew.

Fold, two hour bulk fermentation, fold, secondary fermentation, cut in half, shape boules (and push out the big air holes), and one hour in the banneton.

Score, load and steam.

I am struggling a little with steam. As I noted a while ago, I have been using a new garden sprayer (no Roundup in my bread), and I am starting to wonder if I am over-steam my oven. With these loaves, I used the sprayer for 20-30 seconds when I first loaded the bread, and a second time at roughly the five minute mark.

As you can see in the loaves above, the crust is almost shiny, and there was very little oven spring. That got me thinking about some of my other bread baking attempts since I started using the garden sprayer — and maybe I’m overdoing it. I’ve been sticking the spray wand just inside the oven and only opening the oven door just a crack to keep the seam inside the oven chamber, so far all I know I am making a puddle on top of my bread.

More experimenting to come on the steam front. But for now, I feel like I am still making process and still improving, and (just like competitive running) as long as you get getting better, the sky is the limit. Besides, you get to eat every attempt.