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egalecki 01-26-2009 02:40 PM

Two new breads
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I baked these today- the lower right loaf is the same rye I've been making, but the 4 in the back are a multigrain from Hamelman and the two round ones in front are hazelnut and fig loaves, also from Hamelman. They smell so good I'm having trouble waiting for them to cool!

I'm finding that I have sort of a hot spot to the right front side of the oven- does anyone else seem to have a spot that gets hotter? It doesn't register as significantly hotter on the IR thermometer, but that area browns the bottom faster every time. I think next time I'll try putting more coals to the left and to the back and less in that area and see if I can even it out.

james 01-26-2009 03:07 PM

Re: Two new breads
Hazelnut/fig? Wow -- that sounds great. Let us know how that tastes, and what you are going to eat it with? Toasted?

How hot is your oven when you start a batch, and where is it when you take them out? How are the bottoms baking relative to the tops? Is everything coming in together, or is the bottom browning faster?

Way to go Elizabeth -- I have steel cut oat/flax seed batch going today. I like your choices.

dusty 01-26-2009 04:39 PM

Re: Two new breads
Wow!!! Those look fantastic! They seem to have browned better than mine did.

Congrads - let us know how they taste.


egalecki 01-26-2009 06:48 PM

Re: Two new breads
I'm eating the hazelnut/fig now, untoasted. Amazing. There's a little fennel seed and rosemary too. I think it's among the best "bread with stuff in it" breads I've ever eaten. I'm having it toasted tomorrow morning! Texture is really nice too- moist and not really heavy since it's only 1/2 whole wheat. If you have Bread, try it.

We ate some of the mulitgrain with dinner- it's also very tasty. I used "polenta" cornmeal as part of the soaker, which I made this morning (it's supposed to go overnight, but I forgot!). It could have used the overnight soak, since the cornmeal was a little gritty in spots. Four hours wasn't quite enough for cornmeal ground as large as that. Nice light texture though, for 1/2 whole wheat.

The oven floor was registering 550-560 when I put the bread in. The dome was a little hotter- about 600, I think. None of the breads to the back or to the left side got overly browned on the bottom. The tops are browning evenly throughout. I'm not sure about the temps when I took them out. I'll look at that next time.

I may be getting the coals spread unevenly- I'm right handed, and the left side of the oven is easier to get to for me.

This was the most bread at one time I've ever done- there wasn't any extra room in there!

james 01-26-2009 07:00 PM

Re: Two new breads
That is so cool. I am taking this as motivation to start expanding my range.
Thanks Elizabeth,

gjbingham 01-26-2009 09:39 PM

Re: Two new breads
Interesting question about hot spots. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why the circulation of heat and smoke in my oven always goes clockwise. I've yet to see it otherwise. I'm wondering if it is the wall somewhat close to the oven on the left side.

Knowing how your oven behaves is a large part of the battle of performing well with it. Your hot spots may just be knowledge that you can utilize when baking different types of bread that require different conditions for perfection. Then again, perhaps it is indeed, just the way you work it, or possibly a slightly different insulation effectiveness below the floor.

Work with what you've got. The bread looks wonderful to me!

Frances 01-27-2009 06:36 AM

Re: Two new breads
Hey, I know that one! Coreolis effect - rotation of the Earth, inertia of the smoke... erm, learnt all about it in school years and years ago, but you'll find a better explanation here:

Coriolis effect - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Geez, who would ever have thought that stuff would actually come in handy one day!! So oven builders in Australia and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere, does your smoke rotate counter clockwise?

Sorry to hijack the thread Elizabeth. Your bread looks fantastic! I need to try that haselnut and fig recipe (even if I end up making a little loaf only for me). It must taste amazing.

egalecki 01-27-2009 06:43 AM

Re: Two new breads
I can vouch for it toasted with a little butter now too. Good stuff. You do have to like all the ingredients, though. If you don't like fennel and rosemary, I think you could leave one or the other out- but I like it the way it is.

I have to write myself a reminder to check the floor temps carefully next time. I just shot the temps in several places yesterday, no real method to it. I am getting tired of having to trim off the overly browned parts of loaves, though, so I am determined to figure this out!

james 01-27-2009 08:38 AM

Re: Two new breads
Elizabeth, are you rotating your loaves once around the halfway point? No oven gives perfectly consistent heat.

I'm munching on toasted oat/flax bread with a little Irish butter. Not bad.

egalecki 01-27-2009 09:16 AM

Re: Two new breads
Irish butter makes everything better. :D I can get Amish butter here. It's also a good improver!

Yes, I do rotate the loaves. I also changed their positions when I noticed that several were getting more brown on the bottom than others. I actually had the oven open far more than I usually do when baking- doing three different recipes, one with eggs and oil, I had different finish temps I was shooting for.

Two of the loaves with egg and oil got overly brown and two of the same dough didn't. The only differences were the shaping (boule= ok, batard= brown) and where they began their bake.

All the loaves started on parchment, since I don't have nearly enough things to raise that much bread in. I just trimmed it a bit with scissors before I slid it on the peel.

I had the coals spread evenly (I thought, but I may have been wrong) over the surface for nearly an hour. Then I took them out and cleaned the floor (my new FB brush is fantastic!) and swabbed it with a wet towel. By that time, it was 650 inside. I left the door on a while- maybe 20 min? Then opened it again to let it cool down a little more. Then I steamed it and put the door back on while I got the dough ready to go in. I put it in, steamed again, put the door on, and left it 15 min. That's when I found the bottoms getting too brown.

I think I need to set the timer for 10 min., but I'm not sure it would have fixed the weird floor thing- but I would have saved myself a bit of trimming.

Do you all see anything I'm neglecting in the oven prep?

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