The Wood-Fired Blog

DC Elite Pizza and Forno Bravo in the Washington Post

DC Pizza Elite

We had a really nice article about Dave Konstantin (Forno Bravo DC), and his DC Elite Pizza group in the Washington Post. Dave’s group, primarily wood-fired oven owners in the Washington DC area, has been meeting for years, and has grown to about 60 members.

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Konstantin is a lighting designer and the leader of DC Elite Pizza. The Arlington resident began selling the posh pizza oven kits part-time in 2007 and formed the club as a kind of informal support group: “I thought it would be nice for people to share pizzamaking tips, recipes, learn about new techniques.”

His e-mail list stands at 60. Folks who have come on this day own ovens, or might be on the verge of doing so — a few with wives and kids along. Here, they trade notes on sources for the necessary 00 flour. They compare peels (wood vs. metal with slats) and hydration percentages while they check out each other’s application of sauces (thin, uncooked) and toppings (Patrick Moffitt’s smoked mozzarella, lemon, basil and olive oil combo draws instant attention). Just about everybody swears by an almost-translucent, stretchy amoeba of Neapolitan-style dough that will puff and blister in under two minutes while remaining chewy and soft.

We need more groups like this around the country. If you want to start a local chapter, drop us a note at Forno Bravo. We will help you set things up!

100,000 eBooks

We’re making the world a better place one pizza oven at a time — and we’re now past the  100,000 mark for eBook downloads. Very exciting! Today there are many thousands of Pompeii ovens (and nearly 10,000 Forno Bravo ovens) installed across the globe, in North and South America, Europe, Australia and Asia. The Pompeii Oven eBook is free, so if you have been wondering why pizza ovens are so great and how you could put one in your backyard, you should take a look.

Pompeii Oven Cover

 

Mobile Forno Bravo in Des Moines

Mobile Wood-Fired Pizza Oven

Parlo Pizza (I really like their name, Parlo Pizza — which means, literally, “I speak pizza.”) is now live in Des Moines, IA, and they have received some nice press and a fun video from the Des Moines Register.

Turner makes his public debut June 4 at the Beaverdale Farmers Market, and hopes to pop up at other events around town. But before you start planning the super-duper supreme, double cheese, wood-oven pizza of your dreams, know that Parlo Pizza doesn’t work that way. Because the oven is so hot, Turner says, pizzas with loads of toppings just don’t work. 

“The crust is incinerated before the toppings are cooked,” he says.

Parlo Pizza will sell three main “flavors” of pies: margherita (tomato sauce, cheese and basil), marinara (tomato, garlic, olive oil; no cheese), and Napoletana (tomato sauce, mozzarella, anchovies, olive oil, oregano). 

A limited number of toppings can be added to those (think homemade sausage). He will also sell bruschetta (say broo-SKET-ta, not broo-SHET-ta) using bread made from balls of pizza dough that have been allowed to rise overnight before being baked and topped with a traditional tomato-basil mixture.

Nel bocca del lupa!

Pizza with Central Milling Tipo 00 — very nice

Our older daughter is home for spring break, which is a real pleasure. She’s relaxing (and not in Florida), and it’s great having everyone together. Which is as good a reason as there is for a pizza party.

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I used Central Milling Tipo 00 (rather than our usual Molino Caputo Pizzeria flour) and really enjoyed the different. The Central Milling flour is very fine and it’s a pleasure to work with, and the pizza crust has a nice crunch and a lot of texture and flavor. It’s a real manly (muscular) pizza, if you know what I mean.

That’s the good news. The not so good new is that I made a 1.5kg patch of dough in my KitchenAid stand mixers, and just about killed it. It made that burner gear small and shut itself off after about seven minutes. Though it came back on later.

The formula was 65% hydration, so 1.5kg flour, 30 gr. salt, 15 gr. yeast and 975 gr. water. I still have three 275 gr. dough balls left — so I get to make bread tomorrow.

Enjoy your spring break if you have one coming.

Vancouver’s Most Famous Chef Loves His Forno Bravo Oven

Here’s a fun story from the Vancouver’s The Globe and Mail.

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David Hawksworth owns and runs what is often recognized as Vancouver’s best restaurant, but he keeps his favourite kitchen toy at home. Six months ago, he bought himself a Forno Bravo wood-burning pizza oven, and he has been playing with it ever since. “I get it really hot with three types of hardwood: maple, alder and birch,” he says gleefully. “It makes a great pizza!”

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Here’s some fun background information on David from his Hawksworth Restaurant website. Wow, what a talented guy:

David Hawksworth

Chef David Hawksworth realises his culinary vision at his first eponymous restaurant, in the very heart of downtown Vancouver. At Hawksworth Restaurant he has created the ideal setting to deliver compelling contemporary Canadian cuisine; a demonstration of his European-trained technical ability, deep appreciation for local ingredients and an absolute insistence on only the very best quality.

A native Vancouverite who spent a decade honing his talents in Europe working in Michelin-starred kitchens such as Le Manoir aux Qaut’ Saisons, L’Escargot and The Square, David Hawksworth soon emerged as one of Canada’s leading culinary talents upon his return in summer 2000. With Hawksworth at the helm, Vancouver’s West restaurant became a perennial winner at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards and drew attention from international media who immediately recognized his talents.

In 2005, Hawksworth was named Vancouver’s Chef of the Year and in 2008 he was named to Western Living’s ‘Top 40 under 40’ and became the youngest chef inductee in to the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame. Hawksworth has travelled extensively as a guest chef, most notably to the James Beard House, in New York City , Masters of Food & Wine, in Carmel as well as Sevva in Hong Kong. Hawksworth has donated his time to a number of charitable causes and continues his long-standing commitment to Fishing For Kids the West Coast Fishing Club’s annual charity tournament benefiting the Canucks Autism Network and BC Children’s Hospital.

The New Forno Bravo Showroom

We’re looking forward to seeing you at our new office and factory at 251 W. Market St in Salinas, CA. We have come a long way in 9+ years (I can still remember meeting customers at our first small warehouse in Windsor, CA), and we have lots more planned in the months ahead.

Here is a photo of our new showroom — the colors are really nice, and there is lots of space to look around and get a good idea of which oven would work best for you.

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Brick oven painting on Spanish ceramics

We spent our spring break in Spain this year (it’s always early because of our daughter’s school schedule). It was seriously cold, but the food, the countryside and the people were great. We started in Madrid, and drove through Toledo and Cuenca to the Costa Blanca, where my wife’s parents retired many years ago. It was great reviving some fond memories from the past, and I got to enjoy a great Paella at Calpe harbor, a coastal village.

Spain does not have a big wood oven culture (the ovens sold by the local building supply stores and ceramics outlets were made in Portugal), or a history of great bread — but I still found this at a bakery in Toledo! I really like it. Spain has a wonderful history with painted ceramics and terracotta bakeware (which is where the bakeware we sell in the Forno Bravo Store is made).

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Work, work, work.

To quote the Governor in Mel Brooks’s classic “Blazing Saddles”, it been nothing but work, work, work. haha. Which is just a joke so that I can say that I’m sorry that we have not been diligent at blogging for the past couple of weeks. There are lots of really good things to share, and I will go into more details a little later. But again — sorry that I haven’t been caught up with company news, or my blogging.

Our move to 251 W. Market is done, but with a project like this, there are always lots of details to look after. The showroom area is being painted and we will have nice, new ovens on display very soon, and we will start working on the test kitchen after that.

Also, you might have noticed that there have been some big changes to www.fornobravo.com. We have completely changed our web site and how our users (you) navigate our site. Using modern web technologies, we have made it a lot easier for you to find what you are looking for on www.fornobravo.com — to where I’ll bet you are finding pages and content you didn’t even know existed before. Plus, the site uses gradients, drop shows, big buttons, and fun rollover effects, so that I think it looks really nice. :-) I really like the rotating photos (called a slider) on the homepage.

We are still rolling out the new layout across all of our web applications, such as the FB Forum, Dealer Locator, FB Fastquote, the Community Cookbook, and yes, this Blog, so there is more good stuff to look forward to. Here are a couple of screenshots that show just how much information the new www.fornobravo.com shows with just a mouse rollover. You can find just about anything you need on FB.com with a single click.

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Meanwhile, stay tuned. There is a lot more to come in 2013.