Forno Bravo Community Cookbook

Proof the yeast

If your dough did not rise your yeast was dead. I proof the yeast by putting it in the water which should be 100 degrees F. If it is bubbly aftger about 10 minutes then it is viable. The flour has plenty of sugars that the yeast can eat….

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I have used this recipe and wow! I have never tasted pizza crust/base so good. I use a tandoor instead of a pizza oven and the pizzas come out perfect. Thanks a billion!

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Curried Cauliflower With Chickpeas and Golden Raisins


This dish is actually one of my wife’s specialties. As a cook, I work in the evenings and thus miss out on dinner at a normal time, so it is a comforting feeling when I walk in the door and can tell just by the aroma of curry in the air that my late-night meal on the couch is going to be delicious and satisfying. I’ve done a little tweaking to the recipe, adapting it for the wood oven and adding golden raisins to the mix, which I think provide a nice sweet counterpoint to the earthy one-two-three punch of cauliflower, garbanzos and curry.

1 1/2 T vegetable oil
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained
1/2 red onion, sliced thickly crosswise
6 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1/4 c golden raisins
2 tsp curry powder
salt and black pepper to taste

In your wood oven, preheat a roasting pan or skillet large enough to hold the cauliflower in one layer. Add the vegetable oil to the pan – it should be hot enough that the oil is just starting to smoke. Add the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Allow to roast for 2-3 minutes or until the florets have begun to caramelize on the pan side.

Add the chickpeas to the pan and stir. Roast for another 2 minutes or until the cauliflower is even more caramelized and the chickpeas have begun to blister. Add the sliced onion and garlic, stir to distribute, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the onion and garlic have softened and begun to frizzle around the edges and the cauliflower is al dente.

Add the raisins and curry powder and stir well to distribute. Cook for one minute more to allow the raisins to plump and the curry to toast and perfume the dish. Remove from the oven and serve. This dish would be a great accompaniment to roasted lamb, or simply serve it over cooked rice or orzo with a dab of sambal for an easy and tasty vegetarian meal.


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Almost Perfect

I’ve used this recipe many times and it makes a really tasty and fairly thin pizza base. In commercial terms, it is thicker than “thin and crispy” but thinner than “deep pan”. A bit like Dominos “classic crust” in Australia. My whole family loves it. The only thing I changed is the hydration. I’ve found 55-60% works better for me. The dough is easier to work and the crust is nice and crunchy.

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Wood-Fired Black Bean Enchiladas


I won’t lie – the ingredient list on this one is going to look intimidating. If you can’t handle it, just buy canned enchilada sauce. But I’m telling you, making your sauce from scratch is worth the effort. And once you’re hooked, you can start tweaking the recipe to make it your own by playing around with the types and ratios of dried chiles you use.

Two quick notes about peppers to help avoid confusion: First, peppers and chiles refer to the same thing, and I’m using the words interchangeably in this recipe. Second, many chiles are given different names when they are dried and/or smoked. For example, poblano peppers, the kind used to make chiles rellenos, are called ancho chiles when they are dried. So when a recipe calls for an ancho (or a pasilla, guajillo, etc.) it is calling for a dried pepper. There is no such thing as a fresh ancho chile.

For the enchilada sauce:
1/2 yellow onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
3 ancho chiles
2 guajillo chiles
2 pasilla chiles
2 chiles de arbol
1/4 C canned tomato puree
2 tsp chipotle en adobo sauce
2 T plus 1 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 T honey
2 C water
1/4 C plus 3 T vegetable oil

For the filling:
2 red bell peppers
3 oz yellow cherry tomatoes
2 chayote squash
1 T vegetable oil
12 oz frozen corn
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/4 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle en adobo sauce
1 T tomato puree
4 oz Chihuahua cheese
2 oz queso fresco

For the salsa verde:
3 tomatillos, papery covering removed
1 serrano chile
1 jalapeno
1/2 onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic
juice of 2 limes
1/4 C cilantro

1 8-oz package of cream cheese
12 corn tortillas
4 oz Chihuahua cheese
queso fresco, as needed
sour cream, as needed

To make the enchilada sauce, first roast the onion and 3 cloves of the garlic in your wood oven until soft and charred in spots, about 10-15 minutes depending on your temperature. Place the chiles in a dry skillet and quickly toast in your oven, turning once, until puffed and fragrant. This will only take about 20 seconds. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and discard. Place the chiles in a small sauce pan with 1 cup of the water. Cook over medium heat until the chiles are soft and the water is gone from the pan. Transfer the chiles to the carafe of a blender and add the roasted onion and garlic, the 1 clove of raw garlic, the tomato puree, adobo sauce, vinegar, spices, honey and remaining water. Blend until smooth. Then, with the blender still running, add the vegetable oil in a steady stream until fully emulsified into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the filling, first place the bell peppers and tomatoes in a dry skillet and roast in your oven until charred and soft, about 5 minutes for the tomatoes and 20 minutes for the peppers. Peel the peppers and chop. Set aside.

To prepare the chayote, first remove the skin using a peeler. Next, remove the flesh. Chayote have a large oblong seed in the middle, similar to a mango. Cut the flesh away and discard the seed. Chop the chayote into bite-sized pieces. Preheat the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan in your oven. When hot, add the chayote and roast, stirring frequently, until tender, about 4 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

To make the filling, stir together the roasted tomatoes, roasted peppers and chayote with the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Next, get the salsa verde going: Place all of the ingredients except the cilantro and lime juice in a dry skillet and roast in your wood oven until charred and soft, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, assemble the enchiladas. Heat a dry skillet on your stove over medium-low heat. Use this to warm each tortilla for a few seconds on both sides to make them pliable and avoid breakage as you build. Spread a thin layer of your enchilada sauce over the bottom of an ovenproof 9×13 baking dish. Next, smear a line of softened cream cheese down the middle of your warmed tortilla. Add about 1/4-1/3 cup of filling, roll up, and place seam side down in your baking dish. Spoon sauce over the tortilla to coat. Repeat with all the tortillas. They should fit pretty well nestled together in a 9×13 dish. Top with the remaining enchilada sauce, filling in all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the remaining Chihuahua cheese over the top, cover with foil, and place on a rack in your wood oven to bake. Cook until bubbling and hot in the middle, about 40-50 minutes depending on the heat of your oven. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking time to allow the cheese to brown on top. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

While the enchiladas are baking, finish the salsa verde. Remove the stems and seeds from the serrano and jalepeno. Place the peppers in the carafe of a blender along with the tomatillo, onion, garlic cilantro and lime juice. Process until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, spoon a pool of salsa verde onto each plate. Place a portion of enchilada on top. Sprinkle with queso fresco and serve with a dollop of sour cream. Crack open a fresh Dos Equis or top off that margarita (you’ve been drinking this whole time, right? It helps the prep go by like a breeze…) and enjoy your Mexican feast.

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Where is the sugar?

We tried this recipe and it basically failed. It appears the dough didn’t rise properly…. perhaps because of the absence of sugar?

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Roasted Beets With Greek Yogurt and Almonds

Don’t let the short ingredient list fool you – this easy recipe packs a ton of flavor. This is a wonderful way to prepare beets when the weather is warm; light and refreshing, this dish would be the perfect start to a simple summertime meal. I use red beets here, but feel free to substitute any that you find – golden or chioggia beets would be delicious as well.

3 medium red beets with greens still attached
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
7 oz Greek yogurt
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 1/2 T tahini
1/4 C fresh chopped parsley
2 T slivered almonds
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the beet greens and set aside. Wash the beets thoroughly and place on a double layer of aluminum foil. Coat with half the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Wrap the beets tightly and place in your wood oven to roast, rotating every so often. Cook the beets until they are tender when pierced with a knife, approximately 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove the stems from the beet greens and discard. Wash the greens thoroughly and then give them a rough chop. Heat a large saute pan at the mouth of your oven so that it doesn’t get too hot. Add the remaining olive oil and the greens, season with salt and pepper, and slowly wilt until tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

To make the sauce, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice and zest, tahini and chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Finally, use a small saute pan to toast the almonds in your wood oven until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool.

When the beets are cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can safely handle them. Using a kitchen towel (which will be pink forevermore) or paper towels, rub the skin off the beets. Slice the beets into wedges.

To plate, place a dollop of the yogurt mixture on your serving vessel. Mound the greens to one side, then top with the sliced beets. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve.


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Delicious recipe!

Thank you for this recipe. We made it last night — though with a 4 pound free-range chicken. Yum!

Because the night was getting dark (didn’t start the fire in the oven soon enough), that necessitated a couple of changes that might be helpful to note.
1. After the oven cleared, pushed the still very hot coals to the oven perimeter, but turned the pot often to ensure even cooking. At the start, the floor was almost 800 degrees F.
2. Used a terracotta casserole w/ a metal pan underneath to help shield the bottom from the heat. That worked fine.
2. Probably didn’t brown the chicken enough before covering w/ foil, so after the bird was done, removed the foil and re-browned the chicken. The result was nice crispy skin over the tasty moist chicken.
3. Didn’t have dessert wine, so used a nice Alsatian Riesling. The sauce was still very, very tasty.
4. Strained the sauce and skimmed the fat as directed, but put the veggies back in. Since we had rice, it was nice to have a more substantial sauce.

Highly recommend this recipe!

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