The Wood-Fired Blog

3,200 Calories a Day

You might have noticed that I bake a of bread — so what do we do with all of it? We don’t have a huge family, I don’t give my bread to neighbors or sell it, and I don’t throw it away after I test a new oven. And I don’t have a crazy high carb diet.

Baking has been a hobby that I have enjoyed for years. I bought a copy of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice in 2001, which really got me hooked on artisan bread. It was Peter’s wonderful book that led me to build my first brick oven, which led to Forno Bravo. Fun. For me, FB was the intersection between two of my hobbies — bread baking and building (I’ve done 10 large home building projects over the past 20 years).

Today I have a new symbiotic intersection. Baking and eating. Leading up to a race, I run about 80 miles a week, so in order to maintain my weight, I need to eat roughly 3,200 calories a day. So eating lots of healthy homemade bread works out really well.

Here are yesterday’s baguettes finishing up in a prototype oven.

Got Wood?

You might be wondering how much wood a wood-fired oven really burns and how efficient a modern pizza oven is with fuel. So today I made a test, and the outcome was really very good. The following photos show just how little wood my Prest prototype oven needs to reach pizza baking temperature and hold enough heat to bake a load of bread.

To get right to it, and the answer is 2 1/2 pieces of wood — though I am sure you could easily do it with just 2 pieces. In the photo above, you can see the three pieces of standard firewood that I picked. In the photo below, you can see those three pieces of wood split into small pieces that work nicely in a pizza oven.

Then, I stacked the wood with a nice top down fire layout — holding a couple of the larger pieces back to add after the initial fire burned down.

And finally, here is the wood that was left over. The oven quickly reached 800F+ as it burned all of the wood, and it took over 90 minutes for the oven to fall into the 500F’s after I racked out the coals. Plus, it took another couple of hours for the oven to fall from the 500F’s to the 300F’s — which is a great deal of usable heat from just a couple of pieces of wood.

One quick final note. Why is my oven so efficient? Like all of the Forno Bravo ovens, the Presto is very well-insulated. It uses 100% ceramic insulation to provide extremely efficient baking. The heat stays in the oven — it doesn’t leak out through the enclosure walls or stand. My oven also uses high-quailty materials in the dome and floor (I have blogged about this before). So if you have ever baked in an old-fashioned pizza oven or brick oven, I think you will be really surprised by how little wood the Forno Bravo ovens use and how well they retain heat.