#21  
Old 12-02-2010, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: Tall fire, yes. Wide fire too.

The clearing of the dome is a good indicator that the oven is close to heat saturation. As long as heat is being pulled away from the interior surface of the dome, it won't clear. When all the fire brick reach > 600F the dome will clear. That is when the oven is close to the saturation point. I would get the oven up to 700 or 800F before I would remove the coals, just to be certain. Allow the oven to cool to 500F and you should be good to go baking bread. Without thermocouples, this is the only way I know to assure your oven is heat saturated. As Jay, said getting the oven to the correct temperature at the right time the dough is ready is the art of the whole thing. Working on that myself.
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Old 12-03-2010, 03:13 AM
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Default Re: Tall fire, yes. Wide fire too.

Once you get the oven heat saturated, it should stay at 400F for hours. So that gives you a much bigger window to operate in.
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Old 12-03-2010, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: Tall fire, yes. Wide fire too.

Ok, I played with heat saturation and the perimeter fire. I love the perimeter fire idea! No going back, now. And the oven was saturated as well as I can imagine. I did some baguettes first and then some sourdough boules. By mistake I lit a second fire between loads (well, it's not like I accidentally found myself lighting a fire. "How'd this match get in my hand?" I mean it wasn't a good idea in hindsight). And I loaded the sourdough while the oven was just too hot. I'd also been distracted a moment. Anyway, the baguettes came out beautifully while the sourdough tops scorched. I can at least salvage them for eating by scraping burnt crusts and end up with just fine sourdough.

Thank you all for your time, patience and answers. Here, have a look at the baguettes.
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  #24  
Old 12-05-2010, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: Tall fire, yes. Wide fire too.

Beautiful baguettes, you know this discussion has helped me with my bread making also. Jay's sound advice and insight is invaluable. I baked some bread on Saturday and it was not perfect but a lot closer than before. Thanks for prompting the discussion.
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Old 12-05-2010, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: Tall fire, yes. Wide fire too.

Just curious Kim, why did you light a second fire?
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:49 PM
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Default Re: Tall fire, yes. Wide fire too.

My wife asked me the same thing. Then I asked me the same thing. I'd forgotten part of the lessons learned in this discussion. Mainly the part about a well heat saturated oven will get back to baking temps. So I was trying to refire for heat again. Which is likely where I made my mistake and so charred the sourdough. It just makes me want to get back at it. I'm glad you got closer to the perfection we seek. I completely understand the experience of not getting it yet but realizing you've just gotten closer. It's what gets me back out a.s.a.p.
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:54 AM
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Default Re: Tall fire, yes. Wide fire too.

We are all allowed a few of those, what I call "mind farts". You still got great looking baguettes and a lesson learned.
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Old 12-06-2010, 05:01 AM
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Default Re: Tall fire, yes. Wide fire too.

I love mistakes. They're the lab for learning and learning is the fountain of youth. And I ain't getting any younger on my own.
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: Tall fire, yes. Wide fire too.

I've been following this thread and fired up my 44" Forno Bravo Casa2g110 this weekend to apply what I've learned. Previously, I had a lot of trouble with very scorched loaves and uneven baking. The family was getting tired of my telling them a little charcoal on your bread is good for you.

I made my doughs, timing them based on the assumption the oven would take abut 5 hours from lighting to baking.

Built a large fire in the center and kept it large for about 1.5 hours, long after the dome initially cleared. Then, spread it out more or less evenly all over the floor, and shut the door for one hour. Removed the coals, swabbed it out well, and shut the door until the door thermometer read 500f, which took about two hours. Floor was pretty evenly heated - no serious hot spots. Loaded it with about 18 pounds of bread (four, three pound miches and six one pound batards).

Best results I've had to date. No scorching, excellent browning, great oven spring. After the bread came out, I closed the door and the door temp got back up to about 475 in about fifteen minutes. I baked about three pounds of focaccia, after which the oven was still at about 475. At that point I wished I had more dough, but called it a day on the baking, got the fire going and did 8 pizzas.

The two keys, for me, were giving the oven time to cool down (in the past the dough was ready and need to be baked, before the oven was cooled down) and spreading the fire out and closing the door to let the floor temps even out.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread - I think I've got my oven more or less under control with your help.

Karl
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  #30  
Old 12-06-2010, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: Tall fire, yes. Wide fire too.

Hi Karl!

Glad to hear our discussion helped! Sounds like you did well! What temperature to start at and how long to bake are aesthetic issues and therefore highly variable - as are ovens... so all comments about temp are subject to rejection!

Still,I think it is worth commenting that 500 is a pretty low starting point for a lean, artisanal type boule or bread. 540 to 560 seems to be a more common preference, but a lot of us also like our breads on the dark side so...take that with a grain of salt!

Your temps indicate your oven is working pretty well. And your prep is appropriate... You might consider holding the swabbing until the temp hits say 530 to 550 and clean and swab it and immediately load it. That way the humidity from swabbing will help humidify the oven as you load and should give you even better crust. NOTE: the temp will probably drop well below 500 by the time you get the oven loaded. But as you note, your oven temp bounces back nicely so.... That is what it is about. And I am convinced that the oven temp recovery profile is part of the magic of a WFO for bread.

Bake On!
Jay

Last edited by texassourdough; 12-07-2010 at 06:23 AM.
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