Forno Bravo Community Cookbook

Drink a beer; get inspired.

Last week my business travels took me to Boston. I was very fortunate to be on the receiving end of a private tour of the Harpoon Brewery. Harpoon is a working brewery that also has a large bar that you can visit and order up the breweries latest suds. To accompany your beer, they serve soft pretzels that are made to order. The pretzels have a wonderful fermented flavor, and I immediately needed to find out the “how’s & why’s”. Turns out the brewery uses some of the spent grains from the brewing process in their recipe for the pretzel dough. Ah ha … this got the wheels turning.

I started with Nancy Silvertons’s The Mozza Cookbook dough recipe as a base and went to work like a made scientist juggling beakers of potions. Three versions later, I stumbled upon a magic mix that yielded a spectacular dough. The end result has a crunch to the outer crust, a rich, dense chewy texture, and an amazing deep flavor of toasted grains, soft caramel, with malty aroma.

The dough is wetter then most and will take a bit of effort to make. It also will take a bit more time to cook in your Forno Bravo oven. I averaged about 3.5 minutes with the hearth between 650 – 700 and the dome right around 850. Be prepared and patient when working with the dough; your hands will get sticky with this one, but I think you will enjoy the rewards. I’ll be so bold to recommend you pair this with your favorite ice cold beer.

Yield: 6 dough balls

18 ounces warm water
4 ounces IPA beer, room temperature
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
32 ounces unbleached bread flour
4 ounces dark rye flour
2 tablespoons barley, toasted, ground
1 tablespoon wheat germ
2 tablespoons barley malt
1 ounce sea salt
Olive oil for greasing the bowl

In a small sauté pan over low heat, add the barley. Every couple minutes, gently toss the barley through out the pan to ensure even cooking. Once barley is toasted and beginning to yield a darker golden color and toasted aromas are present, about 10 minutes, remove from heat and let cool. Once the barley has cooled, grind into a small course size with a spice grinder.

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, rye flour, wheat germ, beer and remaining water. Mix with your hands until all the liquid has been absorbed, cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

In a separate small mixing bowl, add the barley, yeast, and 9 ounces of the warm water. Set aside for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, combine the yeast-barley mixture with the flour mixture. Add the barley malt and salt. Kneed the dough until all ingredients are fully incorporated. The dough should be wet and sticky. Cover and set aside in a warm place to proof.

After 1 hour or once the dough has doubled in size, punch down the dough and fold the “corners” back into itself twice. Cover and let rest for an additional 3-4 hours. You can let the dough proof longer to develop deeper flavors.

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, form the dough balls and let set for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to cooking. Dough can be stored in the refrigerator up to 24 hours.

For my first pizza with this dough, I also used Nancy’s fennel sausage, panna and scallions recipe.

4 ounces fennel sausage
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 ounce mozzarella, torn into ½ pieces
3 scallions, cut on an extreme bias
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fennel pollen
Pinch kosher salt

Hope you enjoy. Until next week, feast well.

Chef Bart

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Rating: 4.4/5 (5 votes cast)

Roasted Cauliflower

Charred, steamed, raw, cut into steaks or florets or caramelized for a crave-able crunch, cauliflower has been enjoying a resurgence over the last couple years. I couldn’t resist taking a head of cauliflower, steaming it until tender, adding a miso, Asian inspired marinade and finishing it in the Forno Bravo oven.

1 head cauliflower, medium
1 cup pineapple juice, reduce by half
1 tablespoon miso paste
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon, ginger minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
.25 cup vegetable oil

Trim a medium sized head of cauliflower and place in a steamer. Cook for approximately 15 minutes until the cauliflower is tender. Remove from the steam and place the cauliflower in a bowl of ice water to “shock” the vegetable to stop the cooking process. Once the cauliflower has cooled, remove from the water, set on a wire rack and let drain.

In a small pot over medium high heat, add pineapple juice and bring to a simmer. Add garlic and ginger and reduce mixture by half. In a separate mixing bowl, add miso paste, vinegar, sesame oil and vegetable oil. Once pineapple mixture is reduced by half, whisk the pineapple juice into the miso vinegar mixture until the ingredients are incorporated.

Place the steamed cool head of cauliflower in the mixing bowl with marinade and rotate and gently toss throughout the liquid. Use a spoon to ensure the mixture is distributed through out the center cavity of the cauliflower.

Place cauliflower in a cast iron skillet or roasting pan and place in the oven. Cook cauliflower until the outside of the cauliflower begins to caramelize and turn golden in color. Remove from oven and serve whole. Hope you enjoy.

Until next week, feast well.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Roasted Garlic

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, roasted garlic accompanied more meals than less. It always seemed to be on the table next to an incredible crusty hunk of bread. Not a frequent occurrence these days, but a must for any pizza party. As I’ve cooked more and more with the Forno Bravo I am loving utilizing the heat up and cool down times for cooking beyond pizza. Here is another quick and easy recipe to utilize the heat up period of your oven.

3 heads garlic
2 tblspn butter
1 tblspn olive oil
5 sprigs thyme
sea salt
black pepper

Trim the tops of the garlic off so that the majority, if not all, of the cloves are exposed, about 1/3 of the way down. Set tops aside for later use (see garlic butter recipe below). Place the heads of garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil. Smear the butter over the exposed cloves, drizzle with olive oil, season with the salt and pepper and place the thyme on top. Roll the foil up over the garlic and pinch the ends of the rolls. Place in the front corner of the oven. It’s best to roast the garlic when your fire is starting and the hearth is approximately 350 – 400 degrees and the dome 600-700 degrees. At that temperature, the garlic takes 20-30 minutes. Remove the foil pack with garlic from the oven and unroll the foil. Garlic should be a deep golden color and soft to the touch.

Let cool for 10 minutes. Gently squeeze from the root end of the garlic; the garlic cloves should slide out for use. Use cloves whole or use the back of a knife to mash and smooth garlic into a paste.

Garlic Butter

For an added bonus, take the garlic tops you trimmed earlier and place in a small saucepot or skillet. Add 1 cup (two sticks) of butter and over low heat bring butter to a soft simmer. Add a liberal pinch of salt and continue to cook until some of the butter solids brown, about 5 minutes. This will add a great nutty flavor. Remove from the heat and let steep for an additional 10 minutes. Strain the butter and store in a covered container in the refrigerator up to two weeks. Use butter as you normally would and enjoy the kick of garlic. Or, keep a little ready to brush on the crust of your pizza as it comes out of the oven.

Hope you enjoy. Until next week, feast well – Chef Bart

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

A pizza party … a recipe

A few nights ago I had the F&B team over for pizza after a long day of 2015 strategic planning. Being all foodies we were excited to all through our hat into the ring of cooking with the Forno Bravo oven. Unfortunately it was cold wintery mix kind of night in the mid-Atlantic but nothing a large market umbrella couldn’t handle. The evening was wonderful, fun of laugher, stories, camaraderie and coming together around a table of great food and drink.

To begin gather …
8 each food & beverage executives, substitute friends if f&b execs are not available

Welcome them with a bar and munchies …
1 wheel Cow Girl Creamery’s Red Hawk cheese
1 wedge Cabot’s Clothbound Cheddar Cheese
1 cup Oil Cured Olives
1 package Sea Salt Crackers
3 bottles great red wine, pizza friendly … The Prisoner from TPWC for us
2 bottles great white wine, to get things started Ridge Chardonnay was our choice

For the Manhattan drinkers or substitute your cocktail drink of choice and ingredients
1 bottle Angel’s Envy Bourbon
1 bottle Nolly Prat Sweet Vermouth
1 bottle Cherry Bitters
1 jar Luxardo Cherries

Thrown in a handful of sparkling and tonic waters, lemons, limes and oranges. Show your guest the bar and let them enjoy.

In a large kitchen, set up platters of cheese, crackers and olives. Tip – do your best to have this set up before your guest arrive. They try and be polite but their hungry. Avoid temptation to bust into the cheese before they arrive. As your oven is warming up and your quest are indulgencing in snacks and beverages assemble your toppings.

12 each Pizza Dough, your favorite or see my earlier posts
1 bowl Tomato Sauce (San Marzano tomatoes, crushed with sea salt and evoo)
6-8 verities Cured Meats (Mortadella, Capicola, Soppressata, Prosciutto, Pepperoni, Andouille Sausage, Sweet Italian Sausage, Chorizo)
3-4 Cheeses (Fresh Mozzarella, Burrata, Taleggio, Cave Aged Gruyere, Parmigiano-reggiano, Provolone)
1 bowl Tapenade (kalamata olives, olive oil, basil, pepper blended into a smooth paste)
1 bowl Pesto (basil, parmesan, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon, garlic blended into a smooth paste)
1 handful Golden Chanterelles
1 bulb Fennel
1 bunch Thyme
2 bunch Basil
1 bunch Oregano
1 bottle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 bunch Radish
1 bunch Arugula
2 -3 Lemons
1 jar Local Honey
2-3 or more of your favorite toppings

Pour yourself a beverage, take a few sips and begin to set out all the toppings. Make the presentation is arrange enough so that your guest can see and reach everything. Once you say go, it’s on! Enjoy the pizza building and friendly competition of out doing each other. Our favorites of the evening where Andouille with cave aged gruyere and golden chanterelles, taleggio, thyme, honey and arugula. Enjoy … can’t wait to hear about your favorites. Until next week …. Feast Well!

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Rating: 3.8/5 (5 votes cast)

Fire Roasted Clams with Andouille Sausage

I am a big fan of utilizing the heat up and cool down times of the Forno Bravo oven. Here is a flavor packed simple quick sharable appetizer that is perfect for the heat up time prior to your pizza making. No Andouille – No problems substitute your favorite sausage or skip the meat and throw in a handful of fennel.

Fire Roasted Clams

1 pound littleneck clams, washed
6 cloves garlic, thinly slices
½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup tomato, medium dice
1 cup andouille sausage, sliced
3 tblspns butter
6 oz beer
1 tblspn olive oil
8 sprigs thyme
sea salt fresh cracked pepper

Add the olive oil to your cast iron pan or similar high heat pot and place in your Forno Bravo oven to heat. When the oil begins to smoke 2-3 minutes add all the ingredients, toss and place in the back into the oven. Let cook for 4-6 minutes, stir the clams, and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the clams have all opened.

Remove from the oven, spoon into a serving bowl and serve with great crusty bread.

Hope you enjoy until next week feast well!

Chef Bart

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Rating: 4.7/5 (9 votes cast)

Roasted Onion and Pineapple Salad

pineapple1 pineappple2


As any Hawaiian pizza lover knows, pineapple is delicious when paired with salty, savory ingredients. This warm salad is a lighter, bread-less take on that idea.

3 red onions
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 fresh pineapple
1 bunch lacinato kale
4 oz feta cheese
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
salt and black pepper to taste

Cut off the ends of the onions and remove the outer peel, leaving the onions whole. Place the onions in the center of a large piece of foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the thyme and bay and wrap the onions tightly in the foil. Place near the coals in a moderate wood oven. You want the onions to slowly roast in their own juices, so the oven shouldn’t be too hot. Rotate occasionally, and cook until the onions are very soft and fragrant, 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on your oven temp. When the onions are done, remove them from the foil and set aside, reserving any juices that have collected.

Meanwhile, prepare your pineapple. Cut off the top and bottom so that the pineapple will stand upright on your cutting board. Using a knife, cut off the outer skin in strips. Lay the pineapple on its side and cut 1/2 inch-thick rounds. Use a paring knife to cut the core out of the middle of each round. Toss the pineapple with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer in a roasting pan and cook in your wood oven until nicely caramelized, flipping once, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside.

Remove the stems from the kale and discard.  Roughly chop the leaves. Preheat a large wok or skillet in your wood oven. Add the remaining olive oil. When it starts to smoke, add the kale, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until the kale is wilted, 2-3 minutes.

Using a sharp knife, gently cut the roasted onions into 1/2 inch rounds. To assemble the salad, shingle alternating layers of onion, pineapple and kale on a serving platter. Sprinkle the mint over the top, then the feta cheese. Drizzle with any remaining onion roasting juices and enjoy.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Corn Tartine With Chevre and Rocket

tartineHurray! Fresh local corn is here for the season. Let’s celebrate with some easy, delicious corn tartines. Tartine is just a fancy word for a piece of bread with a bunch of stuff on it, aka an open-faced sandwich. It is a great oven application for a quick meal, so take this recipe as a guide and let your imagination go.

3 ears local sweet corn
3 radishes
1 jalapeno pepper
1 fresno pepper
8 oz rocket (arugula)
1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
4 oz chevre
4 thick slices crusty bread
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
1 clove garlic, peeled
juice of 1 lemon
salt and black pepper, to taste

Soak the ears of corn, unshucked, in cool water for half an hour. Remove and place directly in a medium-hot wood oven. Put the ears on the coals, in the fire, wherever, as long as you’re watchful. Rotate frequently. When the husks are charred on the outside, remove from the oven and allow to cool. Shuck the corn and cut the kernels off the cobs.

Shave the radishes into thin rounds with a mandolin or sharp knife. Remove the seeds from the peppers and chop finely. In a bowl, combine the corn, radishes, peppers, rocket and parsley. (I like the pungent taste of big, mature rocket arugula here, but if all you can find is baby arugula, by all means use that.) Season well with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil. Toss well to combine and set aside.

Brush your bread with a thin coat of olive oil on both sides. Place on a sheet tray or roasting pan and place in your wood oven. Toast until golden, 2-5 minutes depending on how hot your oven is, turning once.

Remove the bread from the oven. Rub the clove of garlic thoroughly over the surface of the bread. (If your bread is too delicate for this operation, you’re using the wrong kind of bread!) Spread some chevre over each slice. Top with a pile of the corn mixture. Place in the oven and allow to roast just until the top of each pile begins to char and the cheese gets melty, about 3-6 minutes.

Remove from the oven and squeeze some lemon juice over the top of each tartine. Serve warm with an IPA alongside and you’re ready to appreciate summer’s bounty.






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Rating: 3.6/5 (7 votes cast)

An Open Letter From James

Forno Bravo Community Cookbook
Everyone’s Invited to Join In!

Hello, Wood-Fired Oven Lovers.

Okay. I think we made a mistake. We included two pieces of similar news regarding the Forno Bravo Community Cookbook in the same publication (our June newsletter) – and it was confusing for our readers. We’re sorry about that.

So, let me try to clarify things here.

As you probably know, we recently started a special program to provide Primavera ovens to a few professional chefs, in exchange for their serving in an official capacity as consistent, regular contributors to the Community Cookbook. This is a fun way for us to build momentum and grow the Cookbook.

We have heard from a number of our community members who say they think that means we only want to have professional chefs posting recipes in the Cookbook. But nothing could be further from the truth! And we are very sorry if we implied as much and caused any offense.

The Community Cookbook is, as the name says, a community resource. We created it specifically so everyone could share their own experiences, recipes and comments in a community setting. We want everyone to join in and enjoy it! That is why we’ve just released a new, easier-to-use version of the Cookbook.

But from some responses we’ve received, I can see we were not clear about what we were trying to do.

Forno Bravo is all about community. For the past 10 years, we have enjoyed seeing each other’s ovens and recipes, making comments, giving tips, and getting to know a great community of people. Of all the things Forno Bravo has accomplished, I am the most proud of the group of people that has come together to create our wonderful community.

We want everyone to post recipes, make comments on other members’ recipes, and even create your own wood-fired cooking blog on the Community Cookbook. Jump in!

-Post recipes and your photos (you don’t even have to register to do this – we’re making it that easy):

-Create your own blog. Sign up and write about your own cooking experiences and ideas. It takes just a few moments to set up your (free) blog via the Cookbook:

-View other members’ recipes to get ideas and inspiration. Comments and ratings welcome!:

In summary, I want to sincerely express how much we appreciate all of you and your contributions to the world of wood-fired cooking. Please, light your ovens this weekend and let us know how it goes. We are looking forward to seeing all of your culinary creations.

– James

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Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)

Mussels With Chorizo and Beer

Your first instinct might be to disagree, but mussels are actually a great food for entertaining: They’re cheap, they’re quick and easy to cook, and they give your guests a tactile connection to the communal aspect of sharing a meal as everyone dives in to a steaming pile of mussels to unearth the tender treasures hidden inside. What more could you need? Pairing mussels with chorizo is a classic combination, and this is my cook-with-what-you-got take on the dish, which came about recently when I had some leftover mussels from the restaurant and a bunch of hungry family members to feed.


2 T extra virgin olive oil
8 oz Mexican-style chorizo
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 bell pepper, sliced
1/2 jalapeno, or to taste, thinly sliced into rounds
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
12 oz beer, preferably a lager (I used Dos Equis)
15 oz whole peeled canned tomatoes
5 lbs PEI or other mussels
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Place the olive oil in a large skillet in your wood oven or on the stove over medium-high heat. Once it starts to smoke, add the chorizo and brown it off, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks.

Once the chorizo is broken up and caramelized, add the onion and bell pepper, season with salt and pepper, and allow the vegetables to sweat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the jalapeno and garlic and cook the mixture for 3 minutes more. Add the beer and stir well to dislodge any delicious caramelized goodness from the bottom of the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow the beer to reduce by three-quarters.

While the beer is reducing, open the can of tomatoes, pour them into a bowl and use your hand to crush the tomatoes into little bits. You can just use diced canned tomatoes, but something about those big uniform chunks of canned tomato is just off-putting to me. So I prefer this method. Add the tomato to the skillet, re-season to taste, and allow the mixture to simmer gently for at least 15 minutes, until the flavors have all come together and the tomato liquid has reduced somewhat.

While your sauce is cooking, clean your mussels. If you haven’t cleaned mussels before, a quick primer: Place the mussels in a bowl of clean, cool water. As the mussels sit in the water they will filter out some of the sand and grit in their systems and leave it on the bottom of the bowl instead of in your teeth later. Use a brush to scrub the shells to dislodge any other dirt or barnacles that will come off and muddy up your final dish. Some of the mussels will have hairy fibers sticking out of one side of their shells. This is called the beard. Use your fingers or tweezers to pull these off by tugging them outward from the side of the shell. If a mussel is open, give it a squeeze or tap it on the edge of the counter. If it doesn’t close back up, throw it away. Same goes for any cracked or broken mussels.

Once your mussels are all clean, preheat a large roasting pan in your wood oven. Your oven should be very hot – pizza hot. Add the mussels to the dry pan and then pour the chorizo sauce over the top. Slide the mussels back into the oven and allow to cook just until the mussels open, rotating the pan once. If your oven is hot enough, this could happen in as little as 1-2 minutes. It won’t take any more than 5.

Remove from the oven, serve immediately with some crusty bread, and be happy.

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Rating: 4.3/5 (4 votes cast)

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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