Forno Bravo Community Cookbook

Spinach, Scallion and Chevre Frittata with Roasted Pepper Mayo

I love frittatas. They’re a lot like pizza, that other stalwart of the wood-fired oven: they’re quick, relatively easy, and the flavor combinations are practically endless. Frittatas work great as a simple weeknight meal, but they’re also a good party buffet food, since they’re often served at room temperature. This particular frittata turned out well, but feel free to use this recipe as a jumping-off point for any ingredient-mixing alchemy you care to pursue.



For the frittata:
2 tsp olive oil
6 scallions
8 oz spinach
1 t butter
7 eggs
1/4 c half and half
1 tsp each fresh tarragon, chive and parsley, chopped
3 oz fresh chevre
salt and pepper to taste

For the mayo:
1 red bell pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
2 egg yolks
1 c vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

Toss the scallions with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. roast in your wood-fired oven until soft and charred, about 6-7 minutes depending on the temp of your oven. remove from the oven and chop.

Roast the bell pepper as well: I just toss mine into the oven whole, right on the stone. turn occasionally, until the pepper is soft and charred all over, approximately 15 minutes. remove from the oven, put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a pan over medium heat. add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until fully wilted, about 2 minutes. place the spinach in a strainer and allow any excess moisture to drain out. Once the spinach is cool enough to handle, use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. roughly chop the spinach.

Place a large cast iron or heavy-gauge saute pan over low heat and melt the butter in the pan. meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the eggs with the half and half and herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Once the butter is melted and you’ve swirled it around to coat the bottom and sides of the pan, pour in the egg mixture. Allow the eggs on the bottom of the pan to set for about 20 seconds, and then scatter in the chopped scallions and spinach. Do the same with the chevre. place in your wood-fired oven, on a rack if the floor is super hot. Allow to bake until the eggs in the middle are completely set, about 10-12 minutes depending on your temp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before you try to take it out.

While frittata is cooking, make the mayo. using a paper towel, peel the skin off of the pepper. remove the stem and seeds. Place the pepper, along with the lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste in the carafe of a blender. Puree until smooth. add the egg yolks and pulse to combine. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the oil. you should end up with a medium-consistency mayo perfect for using as a sauce. If the mayo is too thin, drizzle in another 1-2 ounces of oil.

Remove the frittata from the pan. if there is some sticking, use a spatula to slowly work under the sticky spots before sliding the frittata out of the pan. Cut into wedges and serve with the mayo.

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Risotto Milanese

2 cups Arborio rice (don’t use long grain rice; it won’t work) 
1 onion, finely chopped
2 TBS cooking olive oil
1 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and chopped 
6 cups beef stock, still hot 
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated

1. Add the olive olive, onions and garlic to a steel, cast iron or aluminum pan and set in a hot oven for a few minutes. Don’t burn the garlic.

2. Add the rice, and stir to coat the rice with the olive oil. Return the pan to a hot oven for a few minutes to saute the rice. Do not let the rice turn brown.

3. Add 2 cups of the stock and the wine to the rice and stir the mixture. Return the pan to the oven. The technique with Risotto is to continue to stir the rice and to keep the mixture wet with stock — this allows the rice to absorb the liquid, and the liquid to mix with the rice’s starch to become creamy.

4. Add 1 cup of stock a a time, stir the mixture and return to the oven.

5. When you have 1 cup of stock left (it should take about 20 minutes), your rice should be nearly ready, but a tiny bit crunch on the inside. Don’t forget that one of the characteristics of Arborio rice is that is stays firm in the center, and doesn’t go mushy. At this point you are ready to finish the dish.

6. Add the last cup of stock and half (1/4 cup) of the Parmesan and stir. Return to pan to the oven for only a few minutes, to melt the cheese and heat the dish through.

6. Cover with the remaining Parmesan a little cracked pepper, and serve immediately.

Hints and Tips

Your Risotto will continue to cook and absorb the liquid after you have taken the pan from the oven, and it is at its best when it is moist and creamy, not dry or chewy. Have everything else ready and bring the Risotto out last.

I have been struck by how wet the great Italian Risottos are. Don’t be afraid to serve your a little soupy. It will firm up as it rests, and it is a more authentic dish.

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Authentic Vera Pizza Napoletana Dough

italian pizza dough


By Volume 
4 cups Molino Caputo Tipo 00 flour
1 ½ cups, plus 2 TBL water
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry active yeast

By Weight
500gr Molino Caputo Tipo 00 flour
325gr water (65% hydration) 
10gr salt
3gr active dry yeast

We highly recommend cooking by weight. It is fast, and easy to get the exact hydration (water to flour ratio) and dough ball size you want. Personally, I do not use recipes or a mixing cup when I cook dinner for the family, but pizza and bread dough is different. Being exact counts, and nothing works better than a digital scale.

Mix the dough in a stand mixer, by hand or in a bread machine. If you are using a stand mixer, mix it slowly for two minutes, faster for 5 minutes, and slow again for 2 minutes.

Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until double. Punch it down and push out the air bubbles. Form the dough into a large ball, then cut it into three 275gr equal pieces.

To make your pizza balls, shape each piece of dough into a ball. Gently roll your dough into a ball, then stretch the top of the ball down and around the rest of the ball, until the outer layer wraps around the other side. Pinch the two ends together to make a smooth ball with a tight outer “skin.” Set your ball seam-side down where it can rest. Dust your pizza balls with flour, and store them under a damp towel, in a proofing tray, or under plastic wrap. This will prevent the outside of the ball from drying out and creating a crust, and becoming difficult to work with. The top of the pizza ball should be soft and silky.

Your pizza balls will need to rest for about an hour to become soft and elastic, so that they can be easily stretched into a thin crust pizza.

If you won’t need your dough for more than an hour, refrigerate it until you are ready to start.

If you won’t have an hour to let your dough rest, read our Dough in a Hurry strategy. By cutting back each phase of dough preparation by the right amount, you can make great pizza or focaccia dough in as little as an hour.

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San Marzano Tomato Pizza Sauce

You can use canned San Marzano tomatoes (Pomodori Pellati) to create a wonderful, and simple pizza tomato base. Use a potato masher to get a good sauce consistency. Don’t use a food processor or hand mixer, as those will break the seeds and give your sauce a bitter flavor. If you are using a brick oven, you should not cook the sauce. The hot oven will cook the sauce perfectly. If you are using a pizza stone in your oven, you might want to try cooking the sauce first. Try it both ways to see what you like. 

Smashed Tomato Sauce
1 can (28 oz) San Marzano tomatoes 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon of salt 
1 teaspoon of oregano 

1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 tablespoons of fresh basil 
1 tablespoon garlic powder 
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice 
1 tablespoon olive oil – done forget to swirl excellent extra virgin olive oil on your pizza right before you put it in the oven

Watch the Forno Bravo Pizza Sauce Video on YouTube.

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Schiacciata, with a Little Sourdough: Tuscan Flatbread

This is a traditional Schiaciatta al Olio (flatbread from Tuscany), with a sourdough boost.

If Focaccia is half way between pizza and bread, then Schiaciatta is half way between Focaccia and Pizza. It is flat, and infused with olive oil. You should bake it pretty hot — around 500F.

I make a standard 4 cup dough recipe, with:
4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp salt
2 TBS olive oil
2 tsp yeast

To which you add 1/2 cup of sour starter.

Reserve an additional 2-4 TBS olive oil for treating your dough and finished bread.

Let the dough rise and fall and rise back to double, then cut it into two pieces, which you shape into pizza balls and let rest for an hour. Then stretch the dough into a circle and place it is a round metal pan covered with olive oil. Pour 2 TBS oil on the dough, and let it rise for 30-60 minutes (covered). It should be about 1/2″ high.

Right before you put the bread in the oven, make impressions with your fingers — like a Focaccia.

Oven Firing 
Fire your oven until it reaches 700F, and the carbon burns off the oven dome, then allow the temperature to fall to about 500F, as the fire burns down ( about a three Mississippi oven).

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Pour another 1-2 TBS of oil on the hot baked bread and let it rest for a minute.

The sourdough helps with the crunchy texture of the bread and with a little flavor. I’d been making it for 18 months before I started adding the sour, and it really adds something.

We use it as bread with a meal, for lunch and with appetizers.

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Schiaciatta: Tuscan Flatbread

Here is a recipe for traditional Schiaciatta al Olio — flatbread from Tuscany. If Focaccia is half way between pizza and bread, then Schiaciatta is half way between Focaccia and Pizza. It is flat, and infused with olive oil. You should bake it pretty hot — around 500F.





500 grams of Tipo 00 flour (Caputo flour works great)
300 grams water
10 grams of salt
30 grams of high quality extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp yeast
Plus, and additional 30 grams of olive oil

Diced, cored tomatoes

We recommend cooking by weight. It is fast, and easy to get the exact hydration (water to flour ratio) and dough ball size you want.

Mix the dough in a stand mixer, by hand or in a bread machine. If you are using a stand mixer, mix it slowly for two minutes, faster for 5 minutes, and slow again for 2 minutes.

If you have time, try using autolyse. Mix the flour and water for 2 minutes (or until fully blended), then let the dough rest for 30 minutes. That gives the flour time to fully absorb the water. Then add the salt, olive oil and yeast, and mix on low for another 8 minutes.

Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until double. Punch it down and push out the air bubbles. Form the dough into a large ball and let it rest for a couple of minutes before shaping it into a rectangular shape, roughly 1/4″ thick. Cover the dough and let it rise for another 20-30 minutes.

Right before you put the bread in the oven, make impressions with your fingers tips — as you would with a Focaccia, and drizzle on 20 grams (1-2 Tbps) of olive oil.

Oven Firing 
Fire your oven until it reaches 700F, and the carbon burns off the oven dome, then allow the temperature to fall to about 500F, as the fire burns down (about a three Mississippi oven).
Bake at 500ºF in a convensional oven.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Pour another 20 grams (1-2 Tbps.) of oil on the hot baked bread and let it rest for a minute.

We use it as bread with a meal, for lunch and with appetizers.

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This is a flatbread that we made with some California friends. They have a cousin who owns a nice Pasticceria in Lucca who give us the recipe and technique, and our samples (which were great). The bread is simple, though finding chickpea flour might not be. :-) It is very similar to a French Socca, from Provence. I have heard Cecina called Chickpea Pizza as well.

We have used Cecina as part of a vegetarian meal of risotto, grilled peppers, and baked eggplant — all made in a hot brick oven. It also makes a great appetizer. You can get it to-go for lunch throughout Tuscany.


brick oven cecina


1 cup chickpea flour
2 cups water (I have seen recipes with a 1:1, 1:1 1/2, and 1:3 but this works well.)
2 TSP olive oil
Dash salt


Mix the batter (it is very watery) and let set for 2-4 hours.

Fire your oven so that is is hot and ready for fire-in-the-oven cooking. Maybe two Mississippi’s. This is a good brick oven recipe because it cooks best with top and bottom heat.

Pour a liberal amount of oil in a baking sheet with 1″ (or so) sides. Add enough batter to make a 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick flatbread, and bake for 10 minutes. It should be brown on top. Cut and drizzle with olive oil, and serve immediately. The commercial bakery has seasoned cast iron pans, so that Cecina does not stick to the bottom, but we did OK with steel pans as well.

Chickpea flour is both healthy (a good source of protein) and tasty. Enjoy!

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There are two basic approaches to focaccia. In Genoa, where focaccia was born, a rich, olive oil infused dough is shaped into a pan, allowed to raise, indented with fingers, covered with more olive oil, then baked at a moderate heat. In Naples, the home of pizza and wonderful brick pizza ovens, many pizzerias create a focaccia that is basically a flat bread made from pizza dough and topped with oil, a splash of tomato sauce and oregano.

Click on our flatbread section for Neapolitan focaccia, and read on for authentic Genovese focaccia. In Tuscany, they call it Schiaciatta (flatten in Italian), and they reserve the name focaccia for the round flat bread. Nothing is easy in Italy.

Using a bread machine, create your basic dough.

Basic Recipe
1 1/2 cups water
4 TBS olive oil 
4 cups bread flour (read our flour page for more)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dry active yeast

Add the water and olive oil, then cover the liquid with flour . Add the salt (half each in two corners), then make small well in the middle of the flour and add the yeast. Start the dough cycle, which will last for roughly 90 minutes.

Coat an oval or square metal baking dish, roughly 9″ x 13″ and 2″-3″ deep liberally with olive oil.

Take your dough and gently stretch it until it is roughly the shape of you pan, lay it in the pan, and push it into the corners to fit. Giggle the pan back and forth to make sure the bottom of the dough is coated and slides smoothly. Cover and let rest of an hour, or until it has risen by half.

Push down an interesting pattern of indentations using your fingers, coat the top with yet more olive oil to fill the indentations, and bake in a moderately hot brick oven. If your fire is bright and your dome hot, you might want to wait for it to cool down.

Depending on your oven temperature, your focaccia should cook for somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes.


Parmesan and rosemary — knead the cheese and herbs into the dough after the bread machine cycle and before the last one hour rise.

Gray salt and pickle red pepper
Fresh sage
Olive tapenade
Mixed olives
Grilled onion
Grilled zucchini and cherry tomatoes
Potato, onion and leek
Dried tomato and pin nuts
Thyme and gray salt
Mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil


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No Knead Bread

(Makes one 1 ½ lb [650 gr.] loaf)

The notion of baking bread without any kneading is not new, but the method received a lot of attention when it appeared in The New York Times on November 8, 2006. The formula given here is an adaptation of Jim Lahey’s version as it was given there. This bread is so simple to make, you will hardly believe it at first. It should be stressed from the outset that to get a good, open crumb in this type of bread, quick, gentle handling is a must. To learn the best method, watch our Handling Wet Dough Video.


  • 15 oz. flour (either half bread flour and half all-purpose, or all-purpose only, plus more for dusting)
  • ¼ tsp. instant dry yeast (IDY)
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 12 ¼ oz. filtered, bottled (no salt added) or spring water

While you are weighing your flour, add in a few tablespoons of whole wheat flour and a few tablespoons of wheat germ before you reach your target weight with the other flours. Don’t exceed 15 ounces in total. Make it once, and you may want to experiment with other flour combinations, including up to 30 per cent whole grain or whole wheat, or 10 per cent rye.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour and the yeast. Add the water and stir until the dough begins to come together. Add the salt and continue stirring until blended. The dough will be very sticky. Using a plastic dough scraper dipped in cool water, transfer the dough into another large bowl that has been misted with spray oil. Cover this bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough ferment, at warm room temperature (70o F), for at least 12 hours and as much as 18.

The dough is ready to go when the surface shows a consistent pattern of bubbles as it does below.

Using a plastic dough scraper dipped in cool water, very gently turn the dough out of the bowl onto a well floured work surface. (You can get an even layer on the surface by sprinkling the flour from a fine sieve.)  Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little more flour. Gently place your floured left hand in the middle of the dough, then pull the end of the dough toward you a few inches with your right hand. Fold that portion to the center of the dough (where your hand was). Repeat with the other end of the dough, and then fold the dough into a rectangle, like a letter. Loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for about 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, turn a sheet pan upside down. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the flat side (or use a Silpat non-stick mat if you have one). Mist the parchment paper with spray oil. Now quickly and gently shape the dough into an approximate ball (shaping is not too important in this recipe; close will do.)  Sprinkle the sprayed parchment paper with flour, and then flour your hands. Very gently place the dough, seam side down, on the parchment paper. Mist the surface of the dough with spray oil, dust with flour, and cover completely but loosely with plastic wrap. Let it rise for about three hours in a warm, draft free area, or until more than doubles in size. It should not spring back quickly when you poke it with your finger.

A half hour, roughly, before the dough is ready, put a six quart, heavy, cast iron pot with the lid in place on the floor of your oven. The floor temperature should be 550o F. The pot can be round or oval, as the illustrations show, and the shape and size will affect the shape of the finished loaves (experiment here when you’ve made it once). A four quart pot, either round or oval, will result in a taller loaf.

Once the dough is ready, use oven mitts to take the pot out of the oven. Remove the lid. Slide the parchment paper off the pan onto your right hand and turn the dough, seam side up, into the pot. If the dough looks at all lumpy, give the pot a shake to even it out.

Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 15 minutes or so until the bread is well browned. The internal temperature should be 205o F.  Turn the bread out of the pot and cool completely on a wire rack.

There is no need to inject steam into your oven for this bread, because the covered pot traps the steam from the very wet dough.

Try stirring in chopped fresh herbs once the flour is hydrated in the bowl: chives, parsley, basil or oregano would make it go nicely with soft cheeses, such as Brie.

*This recipe has been adapted for wood-fired baking from the formula given in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.


no knead bread

The classic open-whole structure seen in this No-Knead Bread results from gentle handling, high hydration in the dough and high-temperature baking.

no knead dough

Dough bubbling away.

no knead pots

As it rises, the bread will take on the shape of the pot you use.

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Kaiser Rolls

(Makes 9-10 medium-sized rolls)

kaiser rolls
Barbecued hamburgers, ham and cheese or corned beef with Russian dressing will be unforgettable on these chewy, tasty Kaisers. Wood-fired baking gives them the volume and texture to stand up to the sloppiest concoction.

So-called Kaisers are everywhere these days, from supermarket bins to small bakeries. Unfortunately, most are made with generic recipes, bleached flour and too many are extruded by machine before being baked on gas decks. The look might be right, but the actual bread is flavorless. They bear little resemblance to the chewy delights of childhood memory. The rolls from this formula bring back that memory, because they have added flavor and complexity of a pâte fermentée preferment. They hold their shape, even when loaded with burgers and tons of toppings. They do not turn to mush, and they’re easy to make.

Like the Parisian Baguette recipe given earlier, this is a two-day process, but preparation on the first day is very quick.

Day One, Pâte Fermentée (16 oz.)

  • 5 oz. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 5 oz. unbleached bread flour
  • ¾ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. instant yeast (IDY)
  • 7 oz. filtered, bottled (no salt added) or spring water at room temperature

Stir the flours and the yeast together in a medium sized bowl. Add the water and stir with a large metal spoon until a ball just begins to form. Add the salt and continue to stir until the flour is completely hydrated. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead vigorously by hand, pushing the dough away from you with both hands, then taking it up to shoulder height and slamming it down on the counter. Knead in this fashion for six minutes. Sprinkle on flour as required until you have a smooth dough ball that is tacky but not sticky. The internal temperature of the dough should read between 77º to 81ºF.

Mist a bowl with spray oil, and roll the dough ball in it to coat with oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Ferment until the dough rises to about 1 ½ its original volume (about 1 hour). Transfer the dough to the counter, and degas it by kneading lightly. Return it to the bowl, recover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight.

The finished Kaiser dough requires just 8 ounces of pâte fermentée, so you can divide it in half once it has rested in the refrigerator overnight. Freeze the extra 8 ounces for your next batch in an oiled freezer bag, or simply double the formula below.

Day Two, Dough

Take the pâte fermentée out of the fridge and cut 8 ounces of it into ten or so small pieces with your pastry cutter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for one hour to warm up before making your dough.

  • 8 oz. pâte fermentée
  • 10 oz. unbleached bread flour
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. diastatic barley malt powder (See Books and Resources)
  • 1 tsp. instant yeast (IDY)
  • 1 large egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 oz. filtered, bottled (no salt added) or spring water at 90 to 100ºF

Stir together the flour, yeast and malt powder in a bowl. Add the water, pâte fermentée, egg and olive oil to the bowl of your mixer. Mix these wet ingredients briefly with the paddle attachment. Add the dry ingredients and mix with the dough hook for one minute or until a dough ball forms. Add the salt, and then knead for four to six minutes, adding flour or water to make a dough that is soft and tacky, but not sticky. Take the dough’s temperature to insure you are in the 77º to 81ºF range. Continue to knead if you are on the low side. Otherwise, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand as shown in the Hand Kneading Demonstration VIdeo. Once the dough is at the proper, fully kneaded temperature, passes the windowpane test and has been formed into a ball, turn it into an oiled bowl, rolling it to coat with oil.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and ferment for about 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled (watch the dough; it may double much sooner, depending on the strength of your yeast and the warmth of your kitchen.)

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Use your dough knife to divide the dough into 9 equal pieces at about 2 ½ ounces each. If you prefer larger rolls, divide into 6 equal pieces at about 4 ounces each.

To see the technique for making Kaiser rolls, you can watch the Kaiser Roll Shaping Video. Again, surface tension is the key for a strong rise. It is traditional, but not necessary, to use a Kaiser Roll cutter (see Books and Resources) as shown there. If you don’t, you will not have to flip the rolls between the first and second rise. Instead, simply let them rise for about 75 minutes in total, or until double their original size.

If you are using a cutter, flour it each time you use it to prevent sticking. Press the cutter almost, but not completely to the bottom of each ball. Turn them, cut side down, onto a sheet pan that has been lined with parchment paper and misted with spray oil. Cover loosely but completely with plastic wrap. Let rise for 45 minutes. Flip the rolls over so the cut side is up and proof for an additional half hour or 45 minutes, or until they are double their original size.

Your oven floor should be at about 500ºF (550ºF is okay, too, but be careful with baking times). Steam the oven ten minutes before baking. Mist the tops of the rolls with water and sprinkle on poppy seeds if you wish. Load the pan(s), parchment paper and all, into your oven. Steam again. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, cracking the door after 8 minutes to let the steam escape. At the 10 minute mark, take the temperature of one roll. They’re done when the thermometer registers 200ºF.

Cool for at least half an hour on wire racks. These rolls freeze very well in tightly sealed freezer bags.

*This recipe has been adapted for wood-fired baking from the formula given in Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

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