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Old 09-18-2009, 04:43 AM
timo's Avatar
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Default Hearth Bread=Hearth Aroma?

I have a question for the hearth bread bakers out there.

When placing a boule, or baguette directly on the hearth, the bread picks up a fairly strong hearth aroma. I heat soak the bricks well and make sure all the soot is burned off. I spread coals and wait. I rake coals out and mop floor and wait. I spray water before placing the loaves. I spray again when placing loaves into the oven ans seal door. I crack door later in the baking time and remove loaves and place on cooling racks.

When the loaves are taken out of the oven, they do not have an overly pronounced hearth smell, but after cooling, the hearth smell is very strong.

Items placed on sheets and baked in pans turn out spectacular.

The pizza is different, though. Baked on the hearth, it doesn't pick up as much hearth aroma, probably because it's only there for a short time.

Is this typical? Or, am I getting too much hearth aroma because the hearth is still too new? Do most use pans?

Thanks for any info,

Timo
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:16 AM
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Default Re: Hearth Bread=Hearth Aroma?

Timo,

We bake quite a lot of hearth breads here, and I have never noticed what you call a "hearth aroma." It's probable that your oven needs more firings and hotter firings to drive off any smell that's probably a leftover from construction. With a few exceptions, our breads are always baked directly on the bricks, although we do use sheet pans for small things like dinner rolls, kaisers and bagels because they can be tricky to chase around with a peel in the back of the oven.

Jim
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Old 09-19-2009, 06:33 AM
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Default Re: Hearth Bread=Hearth Aroma?

Thanks for your insights I am thinking the perlcrete insulating layer probably has more water hiding in it and the heat draws the moisture toward the hearth. Just have to keep firing away until she's nice and dry I guess.
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Old 09-20-2009, 12:03 PM
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Default Re: Hearth Bread=Hearth Aroma?

timo
describe a bit of what you are smelling...what does it smell like...like cjim we bake our breads almost entirely on the bricks and also don't know what you mean
best
Dutch
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:11 AM
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Default Re: Hearth Bread=Hearth Aroma?

Here is a picture of some loaves left over from this weekend's neighborhood pizza party. I made about 30#'s of dough. At least one bolt from the Kitchen Aid fell out, and the locking pin almost fell out.


Now, this hearth odor is still a part of the bread, but not so much the pizza.

I am hard press to solve this riddle. The odor is not pleasant. It is a burned smell. Slightly bitter and acrid. Not soot or build up because I burn it all off from the high heat temps. I can't even smell the bread aroma. If the dough is baked in a pan, there is little if any smell, so I am leaning toward the hearth bricks.

I am think of taking all the floor bricks out and seeing what I can figure out. I am just very disappointing after all the work I put into this oven to have it impart such a smell to the bread.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:21 AM
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Default Re: Hearth Bread=Hearth Aroma?

I can only speculate that there is still some moisture in the perlicrete, like you said. It has been said around here that the stuff takes forever and a day to dry, so it may still be imparting damp cement flavors. Is the insulation layer so sealed in that there's nowhere for the moisture to go but into the bricks, perhaps? Just a thought...

I'm following this thread with some interest, as my perlicrete had gotten a bit damp in the recent heavy rains here in california...
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:17 PM
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Default Re: Hearth Bread=Hearth Aroma?

Interesting. Sorry to say I am not much help. As for moisture in the insulating layer, I had a terrible experience in May/June with my entire oven becoming saturated. I can only speculate that 2 weeks of driving rain saturated my entry and the water continued to wick into everything. it took several attempts to just keep a fire lit, then another 4 all day fires to drive out the water. I actually had 4 light streams (continuous drips) of water coming out of the slate tile on my cantilevered hearth on fires 3 & 4. All that said, I cooked pizza each time and roasted afterwards at least twice. Other than temp problems and initially keeping the fires going, I had no issues. No smells of any kind. I did user vermiculite and my oven HAD been dry for over 2 yrs......maybe that is why no smells.

RT
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Old 10-20-2009, 03:58 AM
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Default Re: Hearth Bread=Hearth Aroma?

hey timo,

I am not a big bread baker, But my question is what kinds of wood are you burning, some woods, such as cedar are oily and will stink when you burn them, are you using good seasoned firewood ? Is it a smoky smell, flavor your getting ? someone else here suggested to me cleaning the floor with a slab of bacon lard before baking,, do you put flour or corn meal under the bread and is it burning ?

Cheers
Mark
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:57 AM
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Default Re: Hearth Bread=Hearth Aroma?

You know, since I really don't know what I am doing yet, I haven't even thought about the flour burning part. Now that I think about it, it could be flour from the peel burning on the floor and imparting the aroma.

Maybe it's the combination of flour and hearth temp? I have been shooting for a temp about 580. I have been staying away from corn meal because that seemed to burn up too fast, but I guess the flour is burning just as much, but what else can you do?

As far as wood, I have been burning 2-3" pieces of hard wood. I have split these suckers small and they burn with lots of flame. I did use some scrap wood and bits and ends for curing fires, though. Could have been some questionable wood in the mix, but not much.

So, I guess I could put a small extra layer of brick on the hearth bricks, and try another peel flour or substance that won't burn so easily.
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:47 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Default Re: Hearth Bread=Hearth Aroma?

the wood sounds like its fine... Im guessing its the flour.. I dont think you need to put extra bricks on,, can you put your bread on parchment and let it cook for a few then slide it of without flour ??

We need some of the bread bakers to chime in here..

Mark
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