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Big Weekend Bake - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
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Big Weekend Bake

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  • Big Weekend Bake

    Seven miches, three challah, two focaccia, six pizzas (five eaten before the picture), two quiche, one blueberry pie and a large musakk’a (not in the picture).

    Didn't squeeze every last BTU out of the fire, but I sure tried. Should have slow cooked some ribs or something overnight last night but most of my family members are vegetarians.

    Fired the oven up for pizza Saturday night, closed it off with the fire still going and the door just cracked the slightest bit, and the oven was at about 700 degrees the next morning. Made my bread, removed the fire, swabbed the deck, let things settle down, and baked the miches, then the focaccia and challah, then the pies, and then the musakk’a.

    12.3 kilos of bread, not counting the pizza crusts.

    Love my WFO.


  • #2
    Re: Big Weekend Bake

    VERY Nice!!!....
    Vegetarians?....What kind of meat DO they eat?


    • #3
      Re: Big Weekend Bake

      Very nice.

      Good job!


      • #4
        Re: Big Weekend Bake

        Gets a little complicated. They are all ovo-lacto vegetarians, so they eat eggs and cheese (which makes the pizza easier), and they'll eat fish, so they are pescetarians, but I haven't tried any fish in the oven. One is what I call a turko-vegetarian (eats turkey on Thanksgiving) so I get to roast an occasional turkey, and I can sometimes succeed at tempting them with sausage. But, they don't eat red meat.

        Anyway, I read with envy the posts on slow cooked pork shoulder and the such, but haven't tried it since I'd pretty much have to eat it all myself. Occasional steaks on the Tuscan grill have been great.



        • #5
          Re: Big Weekend Bake

          Hi Karl!

          Nice Bake! Good color and oven spring.

          Happy eating!


          • #6
            Re: Big Weekend Bake

            Thanks, Jay, your advice in the past has been terrifically helpful, especially your advice that loading the oven up with a full load gives you the best humidity.

            The miches were 8,187 grs, as big a load as I've ever baked, and I was really pleased with the spring and color. The challah and focaccia weighed about half that, so I used the towel soaked with boiling water that someone suggests, and the results were good, but not as good as the full load. I may try putting the pan and towel in earlier to get the steam going and then giving it a second shot of boiling water just before I load the oven.

            Still having a little trouble with scorching - it just seems that when the oven temp is right for the bread, I get a little scorching. Not too much, but a little. The deck was about 550. I could have let it drop a little more, but, with multiple bakes, I was concerned that I'd run out of heat by the time I got to the pies.

            Thanks for all your postings here at FB.



            • #7
              Re: Big Weekend Bake

              All it takes in my experience is to bite the bullet and do a FULL load and people understand why I take the position I do!

              Mixing the dough for the boules must have been FUN!

              I often put ciabatta in with (but before) my boules to provide even more steam. Seems to work pretty well. But you probably didn't have much room with the boules!

              Looking at the pic, I can't tell if the challah is covered with poppy seeds or a bit dark. Egg bread is a lot more fragile than the earlier loaves and typically need to be pulled earlier (around 195 internal temp as I recall instead of the 209/210 I shoot for on my lean breads). The braiding looks nice. And the pies and quiche crusts look good too!

              That was one ambitious bake! I suspect you learned a lot!

              Looks like you are trying to fatten up the vegetarians....

              Well done!


              • #8
                Re: Big Weekend Bake

                You're right, mixing the dough was fun! Like you, I don't have a mixer. Unlike you, I'm not sure I don't want one! I have pretty painful tendinitis in my right hand and arm and, while it doesn't hurt to knead, it may be exacerbating the tendinitis. For now, though, I proudly have knead my miches by hand.

                One challah has poppy seeds, one has sesame seeds, one has both. They are all pretty dark. They were pulled at about 195 or so and are very brown, but not scorched. I did not use egg wash, as I used to do when I used a gas oven, but, even so, they got very dark. They were the second bake, so the oven was a bit cooler, but perhaps letting it drop even more would help.

                I agree that egg enriched bread can be a bit tricky. At too high a temperature I've found it easy to get a scorched crust before the dough is fully baked, at which point you have bread which is only good for toast, or, better yet, french toast. This time the bread was cooked just right, but a bit too dark, so I think a slightly cooler oven is what I needed.

                My oven is seriously insulated, which is generally good, but it makes getting the temperature down when you to a bit difficult.

                Thanks for the kind words and, as always, for the advice.



                • #9
                  Re: Big Weekend Bake

                  One of the real "thrills" of taking a class at SFBI was working with "big dough". We used big spriral mixers to prep the dough and tubs and S&Fs to finish the dough. I really liked the tubs. And having done Tartine for a year, I find a minimal first mix followed by S&Fs yields fabulous dough and loaves with great crumb structure. It is rather expensive but IF I were to buy a mixer it would be the little SP5 spiral from the SFBI folks. The Electrolux is supposed to be almost as good and more versatile. Both can make about 7 pounds of dough at a time. Not bad...

                  With tendonitis you probably want to avoid the heavy kneading!

                  I couldn't be sure, but I kind of thought the challah were seeded and not scorched.

                  Every oven is a bit different...and you pretty much have to make some mistakes to find the right combination. You are really close! A bit more early mopping, or a couple extra loaves, or ??? and you will probably be either right on or too cold! )



                  • #10
                    Re: Big Weekend Bake

                    I've been looking at the Electrolux but after reading your post I looked at a video of the SP5 Spiral, which was pretty impressive; really kneaded the dough well. The ones I've seen are 5 quart; is that the one you used at SFBI, or is there a larger SP5? The SP5 I saw was quite a bit smaller than the Electrolux DLX (5 qt. - hence, perhaps the 5 in SP5, vs 8 qt) and handled less dough (10 lbs vs 15 lbs). Since the point here is to make larger batches, that would incline me towards the Elextrolux, all else being equal (which it never is).

                    Minimal first mix by machine followed by manual S&Fs sounds like what I may need for the tendinitis.

                    You're right that practice makes perfect with a WFO but getting helpful advice at FB helps alot, too. I'd been firing the oven up the morning of the bake, and then struggling to get it down to baking temp. I note that you say you never do that. The last two bakes I did pizza the night before, then spread the fire and let it go overnight. Much better results. Plus, with cold retarded dough, you could bake much earlier in the day.

                    Thanks again for the advice and encouragement.



                    • #11
                      Re: Big Weekend Bake

                      We did not use SP5s at SFBI but I saw one. We used bigger mixers that did up to about 50 pounds of dough at a time. We also hand mixed!

                      One lady in the class had the DLX and said it was the same size bowl as the SP5. The DLX has a rather different action than the SP5 - with a bowl wiper. I have never used the DLX but the videos and the pictures lead me to feel they are messy to clean up. The DLX has multiple speeds.

                      The SP5 does NOT work the way the bigger spirals do as it has only a spiral screw. This is not necessarily bad or good but is different. In some respects it feels and looks more like a fork mixer in action than the big spirals. The big spirals could reverse and had two speeds. The SP5 has ONE speed and only goes forward. The big spirals have a central, verticle bar that effectively "cuts" the dough in a way that clearly facilitates mixing (when watching it in person day after day for a week). Without the bar it looked like the dough would ball up too much. According to my instructor Mac - who has quite a bit of experience with the SP5 - the lack of a bar is no big deal. At SFBI they count screw turns to "measure" dough development (i.e. make it predictable). We typically mixed for five minutes at speed one followed by an autlyse and two to four minutes at speed two on the bit spirals. On the SP5 one would typically need about four minutes for the initial mix and about 6 on the second mix to get the same number of rotations.

                      I just pulled bread a few minutes ago. I will pop some photos and describe how I made the boules in more detail - particularly on mixing... I have seriously toyed with buying a SP5 but my regular routine is pretty easy!