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  #11  
Old 09-17-2012, 11:57 PM
WJW WJW is offline
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Default Re: Firing just for bread

I'm becomming a fan of the night before fire....even if just doing bread.

I did a bake yesterday (seventeen loaves....one to two pounds each) that did not turn out all that well. The first batch was slightly over done. (My fault as I put the loaves in the oven and then ran down to the local car detail shop to pick up my car. I thought I could get there and back in twenty-five minutes. Instead it took me thirty-three. The oven was right for baking, but on the high side...590 or so...) Anyway, the loaves were a bit darker than I prefer. Not burnt, but close.

Which leads me back to the point of the thread. I started the fire around 9:45am and mixed up my dough immiediately after. Then went to Costco for ninety minutes. The fire was apparently bigger, hotter, or whatever than usual, because two hours after starting the fire I get back from Costco and the oven interior is 1200-1300 degrees. Uh-oh.

I spread the coals out and left the door open. I form loaves thirty minutes later. Tick-tock. By the time the dough was ready to go in, the oven was still 675 or so. Sprayed some water in...sprayed some more....put the door on to even things up...repeat. The loaves finally went in well over an hour after prime time. Overproofed.

The first batch of eight loaves were actually not bad...good tear at the slashes, good oven spring, open crumb...but they were a bit overdone for my tastes because I left to get my car and wasn't there to pull them when they were ready. Not a huge bug deal, but probably five minutes late.

The second batch went in forty minutes after the first. Obviously over-proofed. No tear at the slashes to speak of. Everthing still tasted great...but not as pretty as my last bake.


My take away from yesterday is to go back to the night before fires. Easier to control things in my opinion. Small fire at bedtime saturates the oven wonderfully with heat. By morning, the surface of the oven is four hundred or so...and the portions of the masonry farthest from the hot face are anywhere from four hundred to eight hundred degrees in the roof masonry. Not really what could be called even heating because the fire was stationary all night, but there is saturation all the way through over a good portion of the oven. A small fire in the am brings everthing up to temp, finishes saturation, and evens things out. Much easier to control and time in my opinion.

The other take away is to stop leaving in the middle of bakes. My weekends are busy with the normal family obligations, yard work, etc, and I can work around them if I'm there. Leaving the house with bread baking in the oven doesn't work though. Leaving the house to go to Costco in the middle of my bulk ferment/oven firing doesn't work either. That stuff needs attention.

Bill

Last edited by WJW; 09-18-2012 at 01:20 AM.
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  #12  
Old 09-18-2012, 04:02 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Default Re: Firing just for bread

Hi Bill!

Not sure it plays into your overbaked issue but it may be exacerbating it. And I know you know it but some newbies are seemingly oblivious to it.One of the "challenges" of WFO baking is that there are effectively two key temps for the oven. The first is the hearth temp which you list as 590 (I would have pushed the process too if my bread was going over!). The other is the effective internal temp of the refractory. Hard to know what the temp was in your refractory since you fired short (implying potentially coolish for the heat has not had much time to migrate into the refractory) but way hot (so it was more than usual so maybe too hot??). Then you cooled the surface rapidly to get down to baking temps (giving little time for the temp to change in the interior of the refractory). And you loaded hot. While I don't have a clue what the refractory temp was, it could have easily been hot. Remember...the hearth and dome temps can cool significantly during baking and can rebound from the 340 range back up to 500 or more after the bread is removed and that temp rebound results from heat in the refractory reheating the hearth and dome.

Good post!
Jay
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  #13  
Old 09-18-2012, 06:46 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Default Re: Firing just for bread

Bill, somewhere on the site someone posted some details of building a migrating fire.
It entailed setting up the firewood so that a fire was set at, in his case, one side of the dome and of course the fire would follow the fuel to the other side of the dome. This technique allowed the person to do a bit more "set and forget" relative to heating the oven.

Chris
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  #14  
Old 09-18-2012, 12:40 PM
WJW WJW is offline
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Default Re: Firing just for bread

Thanks for the tip Chris. That makes sense.

On the internal refractry temp...I do have thermocouples embeded so I have a pretty good idea where I was. Unfortunately I was at Costco rather than keeping an eye on things as the refractry temp was was taking off.

I lit the fire at 9:45. Started my bulk ferment about 10:30. Salt addition at 11:05. S&F. Another S&F at 11:40 and left for Costco. Got home from Costco at 1:00 or so. Another couple of S&F's. (It was at this point...1:15 or so.. that I went over and took temps and realized just how hot I was. I was fully three hundred degrees higher than I expected to be.) Formed loaves at 1:45. After waiting for oven to cool, first batch went in at 5:15. (No wonder the stuff was over proofed. ) If I had managed my temps better I could have put the loaves in a solid hour earlier and all would have been good IMO.

When the hot face of the oven was 1200 plus, the refractry temp in the floor (at the outside margin of refractry) was four hundred plus. The refractry temp in the roof arch (one inch from the hot face) was 790. The refractry temp in the roof arch (on the outer margin of refractry, by the insulation) was 530.

At that point (1:15) the surface of the bricks (roof, floor, and sides) was anywhere from 1100 to 1300 depending on location in the oven. I stopped feeding the fire at that point and I spread the coals out. I'm sure that deep refractry temp continued to climb significantly as the hot face cooled.

Oh well...heat management has its learning curve as well.

Bill

Last edited by WJW; 09-18-2012 at 12:45 PM.
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  #15  
Old 09-18-2012, 01:40 PM
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Default Re: Firing just for bread

Hay Bill,

This is my way of heat management. I like to preheat my oven the day before and get some good saturation 350 or so by the next day. On bake day I fire the oven early in the morning to a point that my inner wall and outer wall temps average my target temp. Pull out the coals and let it saturate. I start my bread later on bake day that way my oven is waiting for the bread and not the other way around. This way when the bread is ready so is the oven. The oven will hold bread cooking temps for hours.
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Old 09-18-2012, 03:08 PM
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Default Re: Firing just for bread

Thanks Faith. That's good info. I knew that I was having better luck with firing the night before, hadn't come up with the tidbit about averaging the two temps to get my target. I'll have to see how that works on my set up.

I also like Chris' info about the migrating fire. It seems like I could stack logs running the length of the oven, light 'em up and I'd get relatively even heating over night. Obviously, I'd need to do another fire in the morning, but it's probably be better than just pusing the fire to the back and going to sleep.

Bill
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  #17  
Old 09-18-2012, 05:43 PM
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Default Re: Firing just for bread

Another thing Faith...

A few of us are kicking around the idea of a bread-head conclave. I have offered my place up as a location. I realize Southern California is a long way from Virginia, but I want to throw out a clear invitation to you and your significant other to join in if you are so inclined. Maybe you have family out this way...maybe you want to go to Disneyland, Central Cal Wine Country...whatever. We have plenty of room...guesthouse, beer, wine, and firewood on me. Mi casa su casa.

For any and all other hearthbread forum regular contributers...all are welcome...if and when we get a date set I'll put it out there and would love nothing more than to host a massive bread-head conclave. Hell, if the demand is there, we'll put some temporary ovens together made of firebrick and have multiple ovens to cook in. Nice, reasonable lodging available (Holiday Inn Express/Hamptons Inn) within a mile of my house. We bake some bread for a weekend, drink some vino, and do a couple of huge Tri-Tip BBQ's

Bill
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  #18  
Old 09-18-2012, 07:27 PM
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Default Re: Firing just for bread

Quote:
Originally Posted by WJW View Post
Another thing Faith...

A few of us are kicking around the idea of a bread-head conclave. I have offered my place up as a location. I realize Southern California is a long way from Virginia, but I want to throw out a clear invitation to you and your significant other to join in if you are so inclined. Maybe you have family out this way...maybe you want to go to Disneyland, Central Cal Wine Country...whatever. We have plenty of room...guesthouse, beer, wine, and firewood on me. Mi casa su casa.

For any and all other hearthbread forum regular contributers...all are welcome...if and when we get a date set I'll put it out there and would love nothing more than to host a massive bread-head conclave. Hell, if the demand is there, we'll put some temporary ovens together made of firebrick and have multiple ovens to cook in. Nice, reasonable lodging available (Holiday Inn Express/Hamptons Inn) within a mile of my house. We bake some bread for a weekend, drink some vino, and do a couple of huge Tri-Tip BBQ's

Bill
Bill,

What about us bread head wana bees that have not mastered the art but are in the serious practicing stage? I would be very interested in attending.

Chip
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  #19  
Old 09-18-2012, 07:32 PM
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Default Re: Firing just for bread

Thanks Bill, What a generous offer. The conclave sounds interesting let me know if it comes to fruition. It does sound like fun.

After today I'm not sure that I'm qualified to attend. Work and personal projects have prevented me from doing any baking. Today the sky opened up and rained so I got day off and did a small bake. I used the house oven because outside was not fit for man or beast. Lets just say not my best bread ever...but it will eat.

Good news is I got to use my new kitchen/baking room for the first time today. The only thing left to do is hook up the sink. Even with a substandard bake it was nice to use my new baking space.
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  #20  
Old 09-18-2012, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: Firing just for bread

Chip and Faith...

Like I said...All regular contributors are welcome. As far as mastering this stuff...I'm so far from that it's not even funny. I baked my first loaf of sourdough in May or June. I'd love to see varying skill levels present to share ideas and learn. Like I said...all are welcome. I'll provide eats, drinks, firewood, and an oven. Maybe a temporary oven as well if needed.

Before I get in over my head...let's cap it at ten bakers. Up to twenty to thirty can come and party, swim, drink, and eat BBQ...but our baking capacity will be limited by kitchen space and oven capacity.

I'm getting stoked over this. There is actually some interest. Let's make this happen.


Bill

P.S.: Faith...very cool on the baking room/kitchen! We have a little guest house on our property with its own kitchen. That's my "baking room". It's nice to have a separate space to bake big batches in.

Last edited by WJW; 09-18-2012 at 07:54 PM.
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