3 days of cooking
I had a pizza party on Friday night and made about 15 pizzas. I used the dough recipe from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice.
I made the dough 2 nights before and put all of the dough balls in oiled Ziploc bags in the fridge, removing them 2 hours before pizza time.
I had way too many toppings prepped, but oh well. Friends made their own pizzas after watching me do two pizzas. They were interested in rotating the pizzas in the oven, but no-one wanted to do the placing...
Only had one disaster, way overloaded pizza. It had a whole in the dough before it went in the oven and really ripped when I placed it. Not bad though, the cheese burned off pretty quickly. I managed to keep dome and floor temps hot (720-780) for the whole session by keeping a flame licking across the whole dome.
When everyone when home I baked about 5 more pizzas in a bit of a cooler oven (680?) just to use up the over risen dough (had to handle that pretty carefully) and ingredients. I wrapped those in foil and ate cold pizza all weekend long.
I don't have a door yet, but at the end of the evening, I pushed the coals to the back of the oven and stacked some bricks up in the opening. In the morning (Saturday) the dome was still 550 degrees! So I left the door off for a while and made banana bread (3 loaves, the came out very well, the oven may have still been a little hot when they went in). Then I let it cool some more and when it was around 300, I put a pot of dried white beans, ham bone and some of the leftover tomatoes into the oven. I used one of the ceramic pots sold on forno bravo, but really any pot would have worked. After about 2 hours the beans were still not done, so I went to bed. (Bricks used as a door throughout this time).
In the morning, the beans were well cooked, a little bit of a crust formed on top and burnt some parts of the ham bone. 10 hours at 300 degrees is really too hot and too long, but they were still excellent. I boiled some pasta and added it to this mix and I had Pasta e Fagioli.
So now this is Sunday morning and the oven is still at 280 (from a firing on Friday night!! plus some smoldering embers in the oven Friday night). I took the bricks/door off and let it cool some more and then I put some grapes in the oven (I saw this when I was in Italy!). I put the door back on, and Monday morning, big plump raisins (which my wife tells me the kids rejected!).
Sorry no pictures, my fancy-nikon-p.o.s. camera crapped out on me during my Italy trip. But I thought it was interesting how long this oven retained heat. I am sure glad I did not add extra mass as I was originally planning (if you recall I planned an Alan Scott oven originally). There is plenty of mass here for my purposes. I also insulated like crazy which I am sure helped. Also note that it snowed Friday night (really Saturday morning). It was crazy to walk out in the snow and find a 550 degree oven...
Now one question if you got through all that rambling. In Italy (after the grapes), I saw people put pine cones into the oven. Do you suppose this helps get the pine nuts out or something?
When I was a child we visited my Nona in a small umbrian village and ate pine nuts from pine cones gathered from the side of the street. These pine cones had already opened. Were they "unripe" pine cones they put in the oven?
Drake, your oven is performing impressively - I've found my oven at 380 the next morning with the door on overnight (coals raked out though) and no snow :rolleyes:
I usually begin baking a few hours after pizza, sounds like you could start dough the night of the pizza bake (use any leftover dough as a biga) and bake in the morning. I'm having trouble seeing my bread at 8pm.
heeheehee my dad, when he was working for the gov, looking at dam sites in the Sierra and scouting areas where small reservoirs could be put in would travel with an old side by side shotgun. Not a Lupo cause they are too short. He would shoot the pine cones off of the trees, hey this was 40 years ago. Some types of pines and other evergreens do not open up unless there is high heat. So throw them in a hot oven and you get fresh pines nuts out. Cook them too long and you get fresh roasted pine nuts. Think of it as a west coast version of Chestnuts roasting on a open fire!
Drake - does your cell phone have a camera on it? they are not the best but if you get close enough and have enough light they are "ok"
This is great. I think we are onto something here. :)
As an aside, the companies that make our commerical ovens say that high-end restaurant ovens, with more mass than the home oven and some serious insulation, will hold their temperature at about 500F the next morning.
Intuitively, this tells me that our ovens are right where we want them for heat up time and heat retention. This is good.
We've had pizza parties where we make small 5-6 inch pizzas. Same idea having different toppings prepared but people are able to have a couple of different varieties. Can be a lot of fun.
By the way, pine cones make great fire starters....we pick them up (the open ones )and keep them in a pot. A few dry ones piled up are like having fire sticks.
Please tell us about your oven. 500 the next morning is seriously hot. Either you must have a LOT of extra mass or incredible insulation.
Thanks in advance!
Re: 3 days of cooking
I think the key with the 550 the next day was this:
Re: 3 days of cooking
Yeah, if you have a number of coals and the door lets enough air in to keep them going it should stay pretty warm. My door is pretty tight and I tend to make charcoal when I close it. Still, you held pretty good heat the next day. Did you build the oven from scratch or is it a kit?
BTW, the challah is gorgeous! Well done!
Stay warm! Your picture of the oven makes me really appreciate 50-60!
Re: 3 days of cooking
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