We’ve had an incredibly busy spring and early summer, as a large and growing number of wood-fired cooking enthusiasts installed their ovens to get ready for summer. And summer has certainly arrived!
Enjoy the warmer temperatures and have a great time entertaining friends and family, serving pizzas and other culinary delights from your Forno Bravo oven. If you are still working on installing your oven, don’t overdo it – stay cool out there. (And for everyone Down Under: Spring is right around the corner. It’s time to start planning!)
In this month’s newsletter, you can read about a new resource we’re building called “At Your Home.” It’s an online directory that connects wood-fired oven owners with companies offering WFO-related services at … you guessed it … the oven owner’s home. Our first featured partner is The Pizza Gypsy, serving California’s Central Coast.
We’ve also included a simply delectable recipe for porchetta, straight from our recently announced Community Cookbook.
Finally, Peter Reinhart tells us about his recent experience cooking with teenagers at a Johnson & Wales baking and pastry camp, and gives us some thoughts on this next generation of foodies.
That’s it! Have fun … these summer days slip away so fast.
Community Cookbook Update
As announced last month, we recently launched an online Forno Bravo Community Cookbook!
Our new Community Cookbook is a place where the wood-fired oven community can share recipes. We’re just getting started and have worked out some of the technical glitches. Great recipes have been added recently, and we hope this project gains even more traction in the future. Summer is a great time to experiment with your oven – and share your culinary successes (and photos) with oven owners.
From pizzas to appetizers to desserts, any and all recipes are welcome. We’ll continue to offer prizes for popular and best-reviewed recipes. See this month’s recipe below for our first winner.
In the future, we’ll compile selected Community Cookbook recipes in a free eBook, available for download from the Forno Bravo Store. We welcome your comments and suggestions for making this resource as helpful as possible for the wood-fired oven community.
Peter’s Corner: Foodie Generation of the Future
Peter Reinhart, our superb Pizza Quest host, baking instructor and baker extraordinaire, recently participated in a week-long baking summer camp for kids and teenagers at Johnson & Wales. Here’s his report from his work with the campers and thoughts on the upcoming generation of foodies.
At this year’s baking camp, I worked with a great group of 14 campers, all 13 to 15 years old. Over the week, we made a lot of food: pizza dough, chocolate chip cookies, dinner rolls, flaky blitz biscuits, apple pie, French bread with pre-fermented dough and – of course – pizza! We also made pâte à choux filled with pastry cream, bagels, soft pretzels, focaccia, banana cream pie and quiche … and the list goes on.
What I love about this camp is how easily kids pick up the techniques and how well-positioned they will be later in life, knowing how to bake and cook for their families. Most of them will not be pursuing culinary careers, but they will know how to cook – and the ones in my class will know about new benchmarks in pizza and the joys of making it yourself.
They are the foodie generation of the future, and it’s exciting how much they already know about local, farm-raised food and about street food and farm markets. One of the girls already bakes cupcakes for a farm market food stand. I can’t recall this kind of food awareness when I was a kid.
This is an exciting time to be in the culinary education business because we keep seeing these fabulous, bright-eyed kids coming in and – who knows? – maybe we’ll get to see them again in a few years as they change the world, whether by feeding it or contributing in some other fashion. I can’t wait to see them in action.
This month’s recipe comes from our Community Cookbook. Stanley Henson submitted the winning recipe in our recent Cookbook contest. For his great recipe and photo, he wins a 5-pack of Caputo flour! Thanks to Stanley and all our Cookbook contributors.
Porchetta is a highly seasoned pork roast that is rolled in herbs and slow cooked in a WFO. This version cooks all night and is beautifully flavored with fennel pollen. Your patience will be rewarded with tender, juicy pork and chewy, crunchy pork skin.
- 1 large pork shoulder or Boston butt, boneless (8-12lbs+), skin on*
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 4 sprigs of rosemary or 3 Tablespoons dried rosemary
- 3 sprigs of thyme or 2 Tablespoons dried thyme
- 1/8-1/4 cup of wild fennel pollen**
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/8-1/4 cup (to taste) kosher or sea salt
- 2 cups white wine (I like Vernaccia di San Gimignano)
* I buy vacuum-packed pork shoulders and debone them myself.
** If no fennel pollen is available, substitute an equal amount of ground fennel seed. You won’t get that incredible burst of flavor, but it will still work.
- A fully fired wood oven
- Spice grinder/coffee grinder/mortar and pestle
- Roasting rack over a drip pan or bowl
- String for trussing
After making pizza in the oven …
- Score the pork skin in a diamond pattern with a sharp knife. Only cut the skin, not the meat. If using a large roast, butterfly it.
- Mix the herbs, salt and pepper in the chamber of a coffee or spice grinder and grind until the mixture looks like fluffy, herby snow. Crush and chop the garlic and add it to the salt/pepper/herb mixture. Don’t worry if it seems too salty; this is just a dry rub and the salt helps.
- Liberally rub the herb mixture over every part of the pork. Go nuts, and rub it in well.
- Roll the pork and tie it into a roast. Use this as an opportunity to apply more dry rub.
- Place the porchetta skin side up on the roasting rack and pour the wine into the drip pan.
- When the oven drops to 350 degrees F, add the pan and put on the door. Cook overnight (6+ hours). The final desired temperature is 180-190 degrees F in the thickest part of the roast. The finished texture should resemble pulled pork and the skin should be both crunchy and chewy.
- Let the roast cool slightly before slicing. If desired, strain the pan juices/wine for a simple sauce. Serve with rolls for the greatest pork sandwich ever, or serve sliced with sauce and side items.