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Abouna 09-16-2012 06:49 AM

Firing just for bread
 
Just wondering what everyone is doing when firing just for bread?

I understand that the common practice is to use residual heat from the previous evening after a pizza fire, but what if I want to fire it in the morning for bread baking that same morning?

I assume I just fire as normal, at least 2 hours ahead I suppose, let the wood burn down and rake it out?

Any tricks for this?

mrchipster 09-16-2012 08:03 AM

Re: Firing just for bread
 
You will need to play with your own oven to determine amount of wood and time required; but for me the key is a even saturation of heat and I usually build a low to medium fire for 2 - 3 hours, That way the heat gets deep into the bricks and gives me a good bake. If I go for the real hot fire it tends to make the surface of the bricks hot but I cannot maintain heat for 2 - 3 bread loads.

The longer lower temp gets me to the 500F range and gives me a deep penetration of heat into the brick; or so it seems.

Chip

david s 09-17-2012 01:18 AM

Re: Firing just for bread
 
If I'm just cooking bread I fire for exactly one hour and throw the bread in. That way I'm not waiting ages for the oven to cool to the required temp and it also saves on wood. As the bread only takes half an hour the faster than normal drop off in temp is still sufficient to cook the bread well.

SableSprings 09-17-2012 03:22 PM

Re: Firing just for bread
 
I agree with mrchipster that knowing your oven and achieving good, deep heat saturation is a vital part of consistent success in bread baking. It's also pretty important to be aware of how much bread (and what dough types) you intend to bake during the session. I normally bake between 15-20 loaves (baguettes and mix of 1 & 2 pounders) and do a two step oven heating. The night before a bake (10:30 or 11 pm), I start a smaller fire and put in a good sized log to keep a fire/coals going overnight. I generally end up with a 200-300F oven temp in the morning when I start feeding wood in for the second (and main) firing. Based on my oven's temp profiles, I found that I needed 2-3 hours of +600F dome temps to fully heat load for my projected bake size. (If I don't have my IR gun handy, I just look for the dome to be cleared for that time frame.) I normally have cleaned out the oven and closed the door by noon for a 2:30 baking start (500-550F target hearth temp). This way my oven's ready early for my high bake temp wet dough types -- such as baguettes & focaccia -- if my dough is really active and has fully risen ahead of schedule.

Also when heat loaded fully, the oven doesn't have big temp bounces as I move bread through it. Recovery is quick and it retains even heat for quite a while. That means I can plan more effectively for bake times of my "high sugar" loaves (at lower bake temps) and colder days (slow rises) for my "regular bread" types. That said, as David S. does, if you are only doing a small batch it's more about just getting the oven stable at the temp you want when the dough needs to go in...and may only take a short firing to get enough stored heat to bake a loaf of cinnamon raisin or whole wheat.

Abouna 09-17-2012 04:53 PM

Re: Firing just for bread
 
Thanks for the replies!

For the first bread bake we'll probably stick to some baguettes.

Our oven, is 47" internal dia. Pompeii with 3" ceramic blanket and stucco. Can anybody give me a guesstimate of how long it will keep temp with a door on? Are we talking 24 hrs, less, more?

mrchipster 09-17-2012 05:13 PM

Re: Firing just for bread
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Abouna (Post 138660)
Thanks for the replies!

For the first bread bake we'll probably stick to some baguettes.

Our oven, is 47" internal dia. Pompeii with 3" ceramic blanket and stucco. Can anybody give me a guesstimate of how long it will keep temp with a door on? Are we talking 24 hrs, less, more?

Dinner buns are a very easy item to start with also.

There are lots of variables in how long your oven will hold heat.

Floor and wall thickness.
Floor and wall insulation, thickness and type.
Thermal breaks at inner arch and decorative.
Ambient temperature.
Wind
Type and thermal efficiency of door.
How many times you open the door.
Type and density of brick.
The dreaded cracks that let out heat.
heat saturation of the oven, How long and how hot did you keep fire.
Any moisture in the bricks. How dry are they...
Type and seasoning of the wood being used.
Dome or house style.

I am sure there are other factors but... in the end your oven will perform unique to any other. You just need to get to know it; and that takes time and use under varying conditions.

My two cents.

Chip

SableSprings 09-17-2012 05:29 PM

Re: Firing just for bread
 
1 Attachment(s)
My oven is a modified Pompeii that's 39" max internal width and 45" deep. How long each oven retains its heat is dependent on lots of factors, but primarily the oven mass, total insulation, and heat loading. Although your 3" of dome insulation is great, it's also important to know about the hearth insulation. My WFO only has a perlite/cement insulation above and below, but I'm pretty happy with its heat profile (attached a jpg of my temp readings on a bake day last year). If you have the normal 2-3" of ceramic board underneath, your oven will retain heat far longer than mine. Since no two ovens are the same, it's time to use an IR gun and see how your oven actually performs.

p.s. MrChipster posted as I was composing (he's much more detailed than I, but it appears you're getting the same bottom line advice)...we both agree that it's time to start paying attention and really get to know YOUR oven's heat profile & capabilities.

mrchipster 09-17-2012 05:32 PM

Re: Firing just for bread
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SableSprings (Post 138665)
attached a jpg of my temp readings on a bake day last year

I like the chart, do you remember what the weather conditions were that day?

I think I will be doing some charting to see what I can expect for mine. Right now it is just seat of the pants and cross the fingers it is hot enough or cool enough.

BTW I bake on day 2 after a long pizza fire. but sometimes I will bake small rolls or baguettes on day one because the cook thru quick.

Chip

SableSprings 09-17-2012 05:51 PM

Re: Firing just for bread
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mrchipster (Post 138666)
I like the chart, do you remember what the weather conditions were that day?

I think I will be doing some charting to see what I can expect for mine. Right now it is just seat of the pants and cross the fingers it is hot enough or cool enough.

BTW I bake on day 2 after a long pizza fire. but sometimes I will bake small rolls or baguettes on day one because the cook thru quick.

Chip

The night before the bake it got down to 43F and we had a high of 64F on bake day, clear & sunny with a light wind. A perfect fall day in early October...

Usually my oven temps are perfect for bread (500 ish) in the morning after a pizza dinner party, but I don't like to think about more food...or "worry" about bread/rolls that morning (or even late the previous evening when I'm still stuffed with pizza). I usually start a small fire mid-morning on the "day after" a pizza dinner party and do my bread in the afternoon when my stomach is back on track...although maybe a dessert focaccia after pizza would be good...hmmm...more stretch pants coming my way.

Abouna 09-17-2012 08:13 PM

Re: Firing just for bread
 
Thanks to both of you.

I should have be more clear. I do plan on monitoring temps pretty close, but as the oven has only been fully fired 3 times, and never with insulation, I just wanted to get a rough idea of what to expect.

Build details:
FLOOR
3.5" concrete slab
4" vermicrete 3:1 hearth slab
1.5" Super Isol board (because we messed up the vermicrete ratio!)
thin layer of fireclay
firebrick cooking floor

DOME
Firebrick dome 47" inner dia.
3" blanket + chicken wire
skim coat Type s
skim coat Type S w/fiber w/acryl 60
1/2" coat Thoroseal
skim coat Type S w/acryl 60


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