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DavidBaker 04-28-2012 11:23 AM

Bread Baking
Hello All....
David Here - new to the forum.
I want to know how the Foro Bravo ovens fair in baking artisan bread.
Is the hearth made out of soapstone or firebricks? Do I have an option?

How many bakes can I get out of one firing?



DavidBaker 05-01-2012 01:00 AM

Re: Bread Baking
Thanks Mick!
Where do I find people who can help me figure out the correct ammounts of mass and insulation?
Also - I'm looking for pro's that have baked bread in these ovens. If you can help me find this info I'd really appreciate it.

The low and high dome advice seems dead on the mark - thanks!
The reveal is crutial - thanks for that also. With bread I need the oven closed, hot and moist from the evaporating water in the dough.


cobblerdave 05-01-2012 04:04 AM

Re: Bread Baking
Thermal mass and insulation are important as mick has said if the primary use of the oven is to be multiple bread bakes consider a tunnel oven due to it shape it fits more loaves in its retangle shape... but the forno oven in high or low dome form can be considered a great alrounder for pizza bread , general baking and bread for the backyard chef....check out the cooking section :)

Regards Dave

prae 05-01-2012 08:59 AM

Re: Bread Baking- hydration
Is there any reason why I cannot put a cast iron pan with water in my oven for hydration while baking bread? I do this in the regular oven when using a stone. I was wondering if it would work in the WFO as well. I have a large oven and getting sufficient hydration for crust formation has been a problem for me.

DavidBaker 05-01-2012 01:11 PM

Re: Bread Baking
Is the hearth soapstone or firebrick?

kmrice 05-01-2012 05:56 PM

Re: Bread Baking
Prae, you can put water in a cast iron pan for hydration. Folding a towel in it first and then pouring boiling water over the towel works best for me. Just be sure to pull it out before the water boils away.

In my case (44" Casa 110), baking a full bake, about 15 pounds of dough, works best. The bread gives off enough steam for great oven spring, and no pan of water is necessary.

Some folks spray the oven but I've found that when I do that the steam seems to escape before I get the door back on. I don't get steam that lasts long enough for the loaves to rise - need at least 10 minutes.

David, how many bakes you can get will depend on how much thermal mass you have and how much insulation. With my Casa 110, on, I think, a two inch ceramic board (or whatever came with the Casa 110), about 2 inches of insulating blanket, and a whole lot of vermiculite, I can get three bakes easily. The first two will be over 260, but the third bake is a little cooler - maybe 245. That works well for me since I bake different breads and can plan to bake the ones which don't need as hot an oven last.

There has been a similar thread to this one a while back on which Jay provided a lot of information you may find helpful. He may not be exactly a professional, but he's sure lost his amateur standing.


Lburou 05-01-2012 07:09 PM

Re: Bread Baking

Originally Posted by DavidBaker (Post 130800)
....snip....Where do I find people who can help me figure out the correct amounts of mass and insulation? ....snip....

If you follow the free plans for the pompeii oven, you will be fine baking bread. Just be sure to design for plenty of insulation under and around your oven. :)

prae 05-02-2012 06:30 AM

Re: Bread Baking
Thanks, Karl! I will try that as soon as I return from my trip to Sicily (and hopefully carry home a few bags of 00 flour).

texassourdough 05-06-2012 04:44 PM

Re: Bread Baking
Hi David!

The key is for you to decide how much bread you want to bake a day and in how many batches. Anything under 12 to 15 pound batches IMO yields mediocre crust and unprofessional results. There are others on this site who think their bread in smaller batches is fine. But I can't imagine making professional quality bread in a WFO in small batches. Second, you need to know how many batches and what kinds of bread you want to bake. The oven will cool with each batch so you bake the "hotter" breads first and the "cooler" oven breads last.

The Allan Scott barrel vault design is specifically for bread and has huge mass and typically takes 3 1/2 hours of firing to get to bread baking temp if not used daily. But the Scott design is not particularly well insulated by FB standards. (His hearth design is IMO downright leaky!)

I have CASA oven with an extra inch of refractory cement and it is capable of two batches - barely. I would suggest at least three inches of refractory cement for three batches. All of this increases firing time to prep the oven for baking. Think carefully about what you want to do!

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