#11  
Old 05-21-2010, 10:26 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: So. Orange County, CA. USA
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Default Re: Commercial Bread Ovens

Rob, are you just down the road from Minas Nuevas, mabey 50k or so from Navojoa?

Chris
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  #12  
Old 05-21-2010, 11:00 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Fl, WA, MT, Mexico
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Default Re: Commercial Bread Ovens

Hi Chris, You've got it. Here's a link to some photos.
Alamos Mexico
Rob
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  #13  
Old 05-21-2010, 06:40 PM
Archena's Avatar
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Location: Alabama
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Default Re: Commercial Bread Ovens

My much-less-than-expert bit: You might want to seriously consider using two fuel sources - gas and wood, for example. I'm only familiar with New Mexico (everybody has to go to college somewhere... well, everybody who goes to college, anyway) so it's quite possible you have something they didn't (or that I didn't come across). But none of the native woods in NM were hardwoods - they were all soft and most were really fast burning. I recall a bonfire with a huge supply pile - at least 10 x 20 x 8 - a quantity I would fully have expected to be barely touched by the next morning were it here in Alabama. Started at 7:00 pm the last stick went on at 5:00 am - it burned unbelievably fast.

For a WFO that's going to be a problem as it takes time to get up to temp esp. if it's a large mass oven - it could consume massive amounts of softwoods. If your part of Mexico is like NM you would probably be better off using gas to get the oven to temp and then wood for flavor.

And if you do have a good supply of long burning hardwood, never mind.

Oh, from what I've read around here, bread and pizza ovens can interchange but usually aren't efficient in doing so (i.e. bread ovens make poor pizza ovens and vise versa). Getting a bread oven to pizza temps is a big headache so if you really want to have that versatility bi-fuel is probably the way to go.

Okay, that's my 'for what it's worth' section. Hope it helps - or at least provides a good laugh.
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Last edited by Archena; 05-21-2010 at 06:43 PM.
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  #14  
Old 05-22-2010, 07:54 AM
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Default Re: Commercial Bread Ovens

We can certainly consider multiple fuel sources. There is a propane station not too far away and a big tank on the property already.
The Ovencrafters plans aren't here yet, but I imagine they account for fuel sources.
Our climate is a bit different than New Mexico. The location itself has a number of 200 year old mesquite trees and there is a lot of mesquite in the area, but I'm thinking that it's a bit too oily a wood for the ovens. Maybe not. Any thoughts?
Meanwhile, there are fruit orchards in the surrounding area and some fairly dense hardwoods, the names of which I don't have. We'll definitely have to research that.
Your point about pizzas and bread from the same oven is well taken. My initial thought is that if we were to get interest in pizzas for the evening hours, the women could crank the oven up, cook pizzas at the high temp needed, and then seal up the oven in hopes that it would be just right when time came to bake bread in the early AM. That might be dreaming though.
Another thought is to actually start the bread baking in the late afternoon and into the evening, so fresh bread is ready to go in the early AM.
Any thoughts?
Thanks,
Rob
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  #15  
Old 05-22-2010, 08:24 AM
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Location: Alabama
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Default Re: Commercial Bread Ovens

Hi,

Mesquite is a great wood for flavor but burns really fast. The oily-ness shouldn't be a huge problem as the oven will consume any residue in it so long as it is fired correctly. I'd check into how it treats the chimney, though. Resinous woods like pine gunk up a chimney pretty badly so it's something to keep in mind. But a commercial bakery should have routine chimney sweeping as part of its maintenance plan anyway.

The fruit woods are great for flavor and long burning but the question would be supply. Not many orchard owners are going to be big firewood suppliers beyond prunings (good for chips and flavor) and culls (great firewood sources but fairly infrequent). But if there's enough around it'll work great.

I think your first plan is probably the best. Bread ovens hold their temps well so it may well be ready by morning - and bread baked early will have people lining up early. A second firing later in the day could keep you baking all day long - assuming you have the market for it. My thought would be that the lower afternoon temps could be used for bread puddings and cakes. The bread puddings and like items will use up your leftovers and would probably go to the restaurant market well. Day old bread can be sold at a discount but by day three you'll need a Plan B. Those fruit trees could also supply fruits for pies and tarts, also late day baking items (lower temps).

You might want to try it out before getting the big oven under way. Cob ovens are cheap and easy to build and would give you an indication of how your wood would behave. Drawback is that they are commonly built at pizza oven size but I don't see why they couldn't be built larger or at least more massive. (I'm a big believer in try it out small scale before committing to large scale but that doesn't apply so much in your case given the level of expert help you're getting. Still, it might answer some of your wood questions and give you a chance to make pizza!)

Disclaimer: I'm also the biggest cob fan here.
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  #16  
Old 05-22-2010, 08:43 AM
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Default Re: Commercial Bread Ovens

Hi Rob!

Oiliness is not a problem. I have read that the preferred bread oven wood in the far east is juniper. I use mountain juniper as my main wood for heating the oven and for pizza. The reason it is preferred is that it burns really bright and hot thus creating a strong driving force to push heat into the refractory. Compared to juniper I consider mesquite slow burning. I personally never use mesquite to heat the oven but when available I do switch to it or oak for pizza when available - but most of the time it is still juniper. (While the oiliness of juniper is not favored by barbecuers, the organics burn at WFO temps and there is no effect other than occasional pops that occasionally land a few ashes on the pizza. Not a problem for me)

I wouldn't worry about multi fuel. Just go with the wood you have!

Good Luck!
Jay
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  #17  
Old 05-22-2010, 08:55 AM
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Default Re: Commercial Bread Ovens

Fortunately we already have a big dome pizza oven in the area and I've been playing around with it. It's in a hotel some friends own. Long story how it got there. An Italian had it built by a guy who used to build in Italy, then he left town. The owners of the hotel don't do a lot of cooking, but we've definitely gotten that oven well past 800 (infrared therm test) with mesquite which burns real hot, and we've put out some nice pizzas and bread.
I hear ya with the fruit woods. We've got a LOT of forested lands around the area and there are a few scrub woods that I think we could rely on.
I am also a big cob oven fan, building my first one a year or so ago. That's another mission I've got because the local Mexicans seem to have forgotten how to build the dome ovens. I see nasty square ones in the backyards of barrio homes, but rarely if ever a dome shape. There is a kindergarten close by and we're thinking of building one there as a school project, having the kids doing the cob stomp, and maybe showing the locals how to build the domes.
Part of me can't believe the domes aren't around though, so that idea needs some more research.
I heard James talk about how Italy switched to the electric box ovens after the war and it took a while for them to realized what they were missing. Maybe the same in Mexico.
Could be we'll be Juan Appleseeding ovens around Mexico.
Thanks,
Rob
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  #18  
Old 05-22-2010, 09:12 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Default Re: Commercial Bread Ovens

I use to burn mesquite lump charcoal in a Weber and I'd have that thing glowing cherry red. I loved the chicken that would come out of that BBQ..

I know the mesquite would do what you want and the orchard wood would also work, do you have enough to keep you going over the years? Mabey you can dual fuel and see how it works out.

Chris
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  #19  
Old 05-22-2010, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: Commercial Bread Ovens

OK. Now we're talking. We get huge bags of mesquite charcoal with chunks as big as bowling balls. When I drive north, that's all I declare. "Yes sir, I've got 4 bags of charcoal!" The border guys just wave me through as a nut now. A 4' tall bag costs about $5. I hauled a good smoker down one year and I've got a chicken rub recipe I guard with voodoo dolls that blew the locals away. I couldn't go commercial with it cause I'd get kneecapped by the local chicken cart folks, but I did also use the smoker to prep meats for a chili contest and won with a unanimous decision as the new guy in town. No beans. Pure chili ala Mary of Agreda (the first Spanish missionary) with javalina and antelope that we just happened to have due to a Montana hunter who'd hauled down some frozen meat.
The local gringos have been having an annual chili contest for decades, although I doubt they know that chili has nothing to do with Mexico. Big fun though, and maybe some of you folks need to know when the next contest is. Not that you have a chance of winning.

Reliable wood sources. I don't have that answer right now, but I will. The Spaniards used the amapa trees for beams for the haciendas to the point that they are protected, or at least as protected as things get in Mexico. Probably too hard a wood for a good heat source. The amapa provided great straight 16' poles which determined the widths of the rooms and hallways.
Interestingly, none of the old buildings had heat/fireplaces because the Spaniards were from Andalusia and didn't need heat there, so all the buildings needed to be retrofitted with fireplaces which were put in room corners, some at cob oven height, and built to throw a lot of heat into those rooms with 16'+ ceilings. Those high ceilinged rooms are semi-cool in the summer and quite crypt-like in the chilly winter mornings.
I've only burned mesquite in the fireplaces and naturally went to it for the times I got at the dome oven. I'm quite sure we can come up with an alder like scrub or some such variety.
Worst case we'll use the stalks from the pot plantations up in the hills.
Gracias,
Rob
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  #20  
Old 05-22-2010, 03:53 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Default Re: Commercial Bread Ovens

I'd work with the raw seasoned mesquite or orchard wood, not charcoal. The alder like woods and stalks will be disapointing, not much bang for your bucks. The propane would allow a consistent oven heatup and heat regulation. It would take some variables out of the breadmaking. Texassourdough, Jay, is my newest "goto" for bread making info. He seems to have the in-depth understanding of what's going on with the live dough and baking needs.


Chris
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