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chuckster 11-04-2008 07:54 AM

Heat Management for Bread
Maybe there is an existing thread (if so, please point it out), but I want to fire my oven just to bake bread. I don't always want to fire it up for pizza and then wait until it cools down for the bread.

So, here my question: How do I just fire the oven to say 375-400 deg F for baking bread? Will smaller fires get me up to temperature and still allow for sufficent heat to soak into the masonary mass?

Thanks - Chuck

Jed 11-04-2008 09:37 AM

Re: Heat Management for Bread
Hey Chuckster,

I have had a bit of a "learning curve" on this issue, and don't have it figured out yet... still a pretty new user to the oven.

My experience is that I need to fully, or near fully fire the oven, or I can't count on the brick to be 'saturated' with heat and when I take the fire out, the oven cools pretty quickly. Or start with a 'pre-heated' oven, ie. I used the oven yesterday...

May be some of the more experienced oven operators will have another technique that works, but I think you just need to plan on starting early, fully fire the oven, and let the heat stabilize and fall to the correct temp before putting in the bread.


Frances 11-05-2008 01:34 AM

Re: Heat Management for Bread
Yes, what he said.

I find I have to heat the oven fully, whatever I want to do with it afterwards. If its just for bread I let the fire die down as soon as the soot bruns off, but then the oven cools a bit faster, so the bread has to go in as soon as the right temp has been reached. Miss that point and half an hour later it could be too cool. Spacially if I have more than one load to put in there.

david s 11-05-2008 02:30 AM

Re: Heat Management for Bread
Each oven seems to have its own characteristics depending on size, thermal mass and insulation. I fire mine for hour and a half for pizza. But one hour is sufficient for roasts and bread, depending how much you want to bake.

james 11-05-2008 04:36 PM

Re: Heat Management for Bread
Hey Chuckster,

I agree with all of this. You should fully fire you oven, rake out the coals, and let the temperature call into the range you want. You can take a little heat out of the cooking floor by swabbing it with a damp (not wet) towel.

Typically, you can start baking bread in the mid-500Fs.

Did you see our Wood-Fired Bread video?


Les 11-05-2008 07:50 PM

Re: Heat Management for Bread
James - I watched your bread video (very cool). I noticed that the door was 1/4 inch steel plate. How well does that retain the heat? Looks a lot simpler than the approach I was going to take. I was hoping to keep enough heat inside to cook something for a few days.


james 11-05-2008 08:54 PM

Re: Heat Management for Bread
Hey Les,

If you are going to be making residential quantities of bread, I think it works great. You can definitely engineer a better door (or a better mousetrap), but for mainstream use, it might be just right.

One way of thinking is that the air temperature during bread baking is 550F or less, which will not saturate a steel door and start venting heat out of the oven during the time that most of us are baking.


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