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james 07-30-2007 02:18 PM

Starting to bake again
Hello all,

We have finally settled in our new house and I have a computer, desk and Internet for the first time in a a couple of weeks. It's funny, with all of the travel, packing and unpacking and setting up a new house, one of the things I miss the most is baking bread.

I just got a new Lodge dutch oven (the one FB sells) and I am planning on using that for my one-at-a-time loaves with my conventional oven.

Next step -- installing our outdoor kitchen.


nissanneill 07-30-2007 03:29 PM

Re: Starting to bake again
hang around James and get the good oil from this forum!! Plenty of members with all the advice and information.
So where are you exactly now, back in the US or elsewhere?
We missed you and your comments.
Guess you have a lot of catching up eh!


james 07-30-2007 03:42 PM

Re: Starting to bake again
Hey Neill,

I've missed the forum, and its good to get back online. We are in California again (Pebble Beach). It's near the coast, and often cool and foggy. The house needs some work and there is a perfect spot for an outdoor kitchen. I think we are going to have to buy an outdoor space heater to use it year round. Our oldest daughter starts high school in a month, and we picked the community for the school. Is that the tail wagging the dog?

FB is doing great, and everything is staying in Sonoma. Lot's of catching up to do!

Hendo 07-30-2007 04:40 PM

Re: Starting to bake again

Welcome back - we've missed you!

Does your move mean an end to living in Toscana for part of the year?

Cheers, Paul.

james 07-30-2007 06:07 PM

Re: Starting to bake again
Hey Paul,

Thanks. Yes, we've been in Florence for 3 of the last 4 years, but now we are in California for the next 4 years (that's how long American high school lasts!). Still, we can look forward to Spring Break, Christmas and Summer Vacation.


Unofornaio 07-30-2007 07:59 PM

Re: Starting to bake again
Florence to Pebble Beach...hmmm If I had to move back to the States id say that is a pretty good place to be.. Still, adjusting to the "life pace" from Europe to the US is gonna be something your gonna have to keep in the front of your mind..I honestly believe THEY have it right. People that have never been to Europe (not to sound condescending because in NO way do I mean it like that:) ) don't understand that it really is like another world over there.. Just like California is another world for me being an East Coaster (PA) West of Pittsburgh.

Welcome back James and all the luck with the baking.

james 07-30-2007 10:09 PM

Re: Starting to bake again
Thanks Uno,
Yikes, my digital scale broke in the move. Can I make dough by volume? By touch? Help.

I need to think about this one. :-) I have King Arthur General Purpose just waiting...

Unofornaio 07-30-2007 11:57 PM

Re: Starting to bake again
Sure you can make it by volume. Just make sure you fill your measure cup nice and over full (don't tap to settle) and level off with a butter-knife or spatula. If your recipe was written for weight. A cup of flour weighs about 4 oz give or take and a cup of water weighs right around 8oz. use these as a loose guide and let your memory of how it should feel and look do the rest. This can be a ok substitute but if your in pursuit of the perfect loaf, that is trying to get a specific recipe to come a particular way, scaling is the only way to weed out most variables. Even with scaling the humidity, air temp and water temp can change the doughs characteristics. Haven't baked in a while though so hopefully Jim will offer some better advice.
Good luck

Hendo 07-31-2007 05:38 AM

Re: Starting to bake again

Originally Posted by Unofornaio (Post 13120)
I honestly believe THEY have it right.

Hear, hear! After my first experience of Italian culture & cuisine in 2001 (approx 4 weeks), I commented to family and friends on my return to Oz that I wanted to retire there! You can imagine the reaction I got from those who couldn't understand why I wanted to go to Italy in the first place ....


CanuckJim 07-31-2007 07:44 AM

Re: Starting to bake again

Good to have you back. Just leave the rest of the boxes in the garage and bake some bread. Of course you can bake by volume. Make sure to fluff the flour around a bit in the bag or a bowl to make sure it hasn't settled, then scoop it into your measure. Make it nice and full, as Uno says, than level with a flat backed knife. My info says that bread flour weighs 4.5 ozs per cup, water 8 ozs per cup. With your experience, going by touch after that should be just fine. It is difficult to achieve consistent results with this method, though.


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