The Wood-Fired Blog

Big News — We’re Moving

This has been in the works for some time, and I think the time is right to start sharing the news with you. Forno Bravo will be moving to a new and much larger facility the first week of January 2013. We will have sales and admin offices, manufacturing, our oven showroom and the potential for a new Test Kitchen all under one roof. This is really exciting.

We are moving about 15 minutes from Marina, CA to Salinas, CA. The new facility is just off the US101 and it has lots of parking — making it easier for customers to come and see us, pick up a pizza oven or fireplace, buy accessories, or see a demo oven. And at a point in the not too distant future, take a cooking lesson.

This is our second major move in the past 9 years, as we continue to expand. Our new building is more than four times larger than the space we leased only three years ago.

One a personal note, I want to extend a warm thanks to everyone who has visited Forno Bravo over the years. Our facilities has always been crowded and busy, and I appreciate the effort that you have all given so that you can have a wonderful wood-fired oven in your backyard or restaurant. Thanks.

We will miss our current facility — it has served us very well through three plus years of expansion, many new product introductions and three FB Expo’s. We have some work ahead of us, taking care of the move while continuing to meet your requirements. Don’t worry if you will be ordering a pizza oven over the coming weeks — we will have your oven ready for shipment when you need it.

And when we’ve done the move, it’s going to be really cool.

Enjoy your upcoming Holiday Season everyone.

King Arthur Flour at Smart and Final

We sure go through a lot of flour. It’s interesting to think about the ingredients that go into the good that you eat; you put so much care and attention into picking ingredients that pure and healthy — and that work and taste great. And then you think about what motivates the multinational food companies, andI don’t think they have the same motivations. The profit motive leads to a company asking, “how cheaply can we make something that will sell?”,and the result probably won’t be good for you.

For whole wheat flour, I have been using King Arthur that I have been buying from a variety of stores. This weekend I found myself at our local Smart and Final, and popped in to buy flour and spices, and they had KA whole wheat flour on sale for $5.49. Not bad.


Nice Swirl; Bad Seam

Still baking away most days, and on occasion something happens where I learn something new. On this loaf of whole wheat cinnamon raise bread I did something right, and something wrong — at the same time.

First the good news. The swirl inside my loaf is nice, tight and symmetric, which I think reflects that my dough was shaped in a nice rectangle of even thickness before I rolled it; and it kept it tight while I rolled it, without stretching it out of shape. It’s easier to slice and toast, and well, it just looks better.

For the not so good news, cinnamon and sugar melted and leaked out the bottom of the loaf where I had tried to seal the seam. The key word here is “tried”, as I clearly did not properly seal the loaf at the bottom. Sealing the dough is a big part of many loaf shaping processes, where the seam is permanent and the loaf holds its shape as it evenly balloons outward while it proofs. Seeing the “leak” is a good lesson — visual proof that I did nothing wrong.

As always, it’s great eating my experiments.

New Terracotta Bakeware from Spain

Just in time for Christmas. We have established a direct import relationship with a large Spanish terracotta bakeware manufacturer, and we have their wonderful casseroles and baking pans in stock, and ready to ship! The perfect present for the pizza oven lover in your family. I have always enjoyed rustic bakeware, and I think the Spanish make the best terracotta. Our manufacturing partner has been making terracotta for over 100 years (incredible). Our family has an oval casserole that we bought in Spain 20 years ago that still works great. We are really excited about this.

Our producer makes two grades of terracotta bakeware — they call them clay and stoneware. We are stocking only the higher-grade (and more expensive) stoneware. I think you will really like the way it looks.

We are stocking ovals, rectangles and covered round casseroles. These pans are perfect for roast vegetables, rice dishes, lasagne, eggplant Parmesan, Tuscan beans and stews (think Chicken Cacciatore).

You can find it in the Forno Bravo Store for immediate shipment.

Here are the photos!

Tapir, tapir

Here’s a quick catch up on my running and really great photo. The basic structure of marathon race training is a 6-8 week period of base building, where you run a slowly increasing number of miles at a moderate pace to build up cardio capacity and muscle strength, followed by 6-8 week period of your most intense training with long runs and speed training, followed by a 2-3 week taper leading up to race day. The idea behind the taper is to let everything rest and recover, so that you reach the starting line feeling fresh and rested. As a general rule, you run 80%, 60% and 40% of your peak running mileage during  the taper.

Interestingly, the taper period isn’t particularly fun. In fact, it’s pretty awful. If you are used to training at a high volume, cutting back makes you feel slow and lethargic — even fat. Which is where the term taper madness comes from. My race is December 2, so at this point I have done two weeks of tapering, and I can’t wait to race a week from tomorrow.

To keep my spirits high, here is a picture of a running baby tapir.

NY Company Sends 1,000 Pizzas to NYC

We’re not alone. From the Wall Street Journal:

PTTISFIELD, N.H. — A New Hampshire pizza maker is lending new meaning to pizza-to-go — sending an oven truck and up to 1,000 pizzas to storm ravaged Rockaway Beach in Queens, N.Y.

Brad Sterl, CEO of Pittsfield-based Rustic Crust, says a truck carrying a wood-fired pizza oven and American Flatbread frozen pizzas will arrive at the Belle Harbor School in Rockaway on Saturday.

I don’t know whose oven this it, but good for Rustic Crust for doing this.

More on Sandy Relief Help

Peter Seminara has been working hard all week organizing another relief effort tomorrow, November 17th on Staten Island @ Miller Field Saturday @10AM.
Once more — here is how you can send them donations:
You can send money to the crew by PayPal to “Peter Seminara” <> on his cell phone at 201-264-7822. That’s what we did.
Here’s a photo from Staten Island last week.

More Pizza for Hurricane Sandy Relief

Angelo Pappalardo from Rubirosa will be operating their mobile FB oven in NYC this Saturday and giving out free pizza. We aren’t sure which borough yet, but we will update this when we know more. Angelo own two pizzerias, one of which won best pizza in NYC a few years ago.

More to come.

We are the Champions

Forno Bravo won the Salinas Softball League Championship last night. Wahooo!!! Our office manager played Division I baseball in college, so that helped, but it took the whole team. The championship game was 25-5. I’m really proud of the guys (and the sales and admin gals who were there cheering and taking photos).

One note to a couple of our competitors who continue to tell customers that we really don’t manufacture our own ovens. These are real people. :-)

Way to go team! Party on Friday.