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sarah h 04-20-2008 08:06 PM

Back in Business & Baking Bread!
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I've been occupied with the arrival of a new dog (had to post a photo) but in the past few days, spring has arrived - actually, more like summer! - and I can actually see my oven again!! So we decided it was time to fire it up and try out some bread ...

First the good news - I managed not to kill off Jim's starter and got it fed & proofed quite nicely last night.

The bad news - the recipe I used was terrible! I ended up over-salting because I couldn't get anywhere near the amount of flour kneaded into the dough that it called for. I think the balance of everything was way off. After that, my husband mixed up a regular yeast dough too, because things seemed iffy at this point. Eventually, into the oven they went.

Our heat management needs some work as the oven seemed to cool off pretty quick to a lower than desired temperature. I ... ahhh ... ended up putting one loaf under the broiler in the electric oven to darken it up a bit (wince). Despite a few setbacks, bread - dense, heavy bread with way too small holes - is what came out of the oven and though our skills need some polishing, it tasted good, even the salty one!

Here's the result ...

Frances 04-21-2008 01:56 AM

Re: Back in Business & Baking Bread!
Good for you Sarah, nice to see you reunited with your oven!

What recipe did you use for the bread? I actually still follow John's explanations (more or less exactly) and really like the result. I got one of the recomended bread books, but it makes it sound so complicated, I'm sticking with what works.

Cute dog. :) What's its name?

gjbingham 04-21-2008 08:27 AM

Re: Back in Business & Baking Bread!
Welcome back to the living Sarah! Snow's gone?

asudavew 04-21-2008 06:38 PM

Re: Back in Business & Baking Bread!
Welcome back.

The dog and bread both look good.

We just got a new pup as well.....

Ugh puppies!

Ed_ 04-22-2008 06:36 AM

Re: Back in Business & Baking Bread!
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I'm jealous, Sarah! I'm so eager to get this thing built so I won't have to make my bread in the kitchen oven!

With regard to recipes... A (very) modest amount of experience and a lot of conversation with an old friend who makes money baking have led me to the conclusion that it's worth doing a little bit of math to make good bread. Measuring by weight and learning to use baker's percentages completely changed my bread. (The attached picture proves I still need some practice shaping...kinda fat and lumpy!)

I have a lot to learn yet--for instance, I want to experiment with rye flour in my starter to encourage more sour flavor. And then there's the world of whole grains. I'm convinced it's more science than art, but not too complicated a science! So please share all your best tips. :)

Now I just have to get that brick hearth to bake on...


DrakeRemoray 04-22-2008 08:29 AM

Re: Back in Business & Baking Bread!
Hey Sarah,

As to heat falling long did you fire the oven? Did the dome go completely white?


CanuckJim 04-22-2008 01:47 PM

Re: Back in Business & Baking Bread!

I assume the pup's name is "Salty Dog." I'll send you a basic sourdough recipe via email.


CanuckJim 04-22-2008 01:55 PM

Re: Back in Business & Baking Bread!

Whoops, can't find your email address. Send it to me via email, and I'll attach the recipe.


Dutchoven 04-22-2008 04:22 PM

Re: Back in Business & Baking Bread!
Exciting to be back baking...our Farmer's market season opens soon so we'll be back baking in a big way down here again!

sarah h 04-22-2008 07:35 PM

Re: Back in Business & Baking Bread!
OK, lots to answer here!

First, after the worst winter in memory (even the visiting German couple I met last month while out West skiing had heard about our Ottawa winter!), yes , the snow is almost gone and we're now suddenly & bizarrely about a month ahead of where we should be, and into shorts & short sleeves! Fantastic!!

The recipe I used was a bad one from some website and I should have known better ... and now I do.

I agree that weight, not volume, is the key where measurements are concerned - I'm investigating those baker's percentages that were mentioned in various posts. (Ed, as for getting yours built, hang in there, your day will come!)

As for the heat problem - I thought that since it wasn't pizza, I didn't need to hit the white dome point. I'm having some trouble in that regard - think my wood pieces are too short maybe - they're about a foot long and I went through a lot of them over about an hour and a half and only hit 475 or 500. I thought that was good enough for bread but it wasn't.

Jim, your starter was the one part of this whole adventure that worked like it was supposed to and thanks for the recipe offer - I'll shoot you an e-mail & look forward to it!

As for the dog, Salty Dog has a certain cachet but her name is Theia (silent h though, pronounced Tia). My son named her after the Greek goddess of light, who gave birth to the three goddesses of the sun, the moon & the dawn ... she has a lot to live up to! Dave, who's your new addition?

Thanks for all the comments and tips everyone!

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