Summertime offers the ideal opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. The other night, we had company over for dinner, so the timing was perfect to make one of my favorite dishes: Paella Valenciana. I made the paella in our wood-fired oven, using Arborio rice and saffron along with chicken, white fish, clams (mussels are more traditional, but hey), white beans and red peppers. It turned out great. Read more about how to make wood-fired paella and see some pictures of our dinner on the Wood-Fired Blog.
Among many other topics, I'm also using the blog to track my home baking efforts, including my experiences with our new stand mixer. This blog is a fun project for me, and I hope you'll follow along. (Subscription options are available on the blog's home page: www.fornobravo.com/blog)
On the subject of home baking, be sure to check out Peter's Corner below to learn about a new online course he's created for Craftsy: Artisan Bread Making. Also in our July newsletter, we've included an interesting article on pizza capacity and throughput by oven size. In addition, you'll find a recipe for potato and radicchio pizza bianca and some fun wood-fired oven news to the right.
We are happy to offer you a number of ways to connect with Forno Bravo and other wood-fired cooking fans. Join us at the sites of your choice!: Wood-Fired Blog, Forno Bravo Forum, Community Cookbook, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest.
Here's to the joy that is wood-fired cooking,
Pizza Oven Capacity and Throughput
After posting a photo of our dual Napoli pizza ovens with custom tile work (see more on that to the right), we naturally received some questions about oven capacity and throughput. So …
How many pizzas can you put in a wood-fired oven at a time? How many pizzas can you make per hour?
This is useful information whether you operate a restaurant or throw parties for friends and family. In general, throughput is based on concurrent places in the oven and the number of pizzas you can bake in each place per hour. I think it is fair to say that there is a theoretical throughput, as well as a practical throughput rate. For a mainstream 56" commercial oven (such as the larger Napoli), you get the following:
The oven can hold 10 11" pizzas at a time, with each position capable of baking up to 30 pizzas per hour, assuming a two-minute bake time – yielding a theoretical throughput of 300 pizzas per hour. With a four-hour dinner service running from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., that is a theoretical 1,200 pizzas! Of course, your mileage might vary. At right is the layout for a 56" commercial pizza oven:
From a practical perspective, assuming that each position is capable of producing 10 pizzas per hour, or one every six minutes, you can calculate a throughput of 100 pizzas per hour.
We compiled a series of simple drawings that show just how many pizzas you can fit into each size oven.
Here is a table with the results:
|Oven size||11" pizzas|
|Oven size||11" pizzas|
|56" x 64"||12|
|56" x 72"||14|
It is also worth noting that these throughput limitations are imposed by the size and speed of the oven … not limitations determined by the size and speed of your pizza making team.
My Craftsy Class on Artisan Bread Making
Peter Reinhart, our Pizza Quest host, baking instructor and baker extraordinaire, shares news about his new online artisan bread making class.
I recently filmed an artisan bread making course for an Internet educational company called Craftsy. Well, it's ready to roll (oops, sorry about the pun). The best news is that those who sign up soon can get the whole course for 50% off. (The full price is $39.99, but it's now being offered for just $19.99.) My understanding is that this special launch price will only be good for a limited period, so check it out at www.craftsy.com/artisanbread for the special price and a more detailed description of the course. Here's what you'll make in the course:
- Lean and country styles of French bread
- Ancienne dough adapted to make ciabatta, focaccia and mini-baguettes
- Enriched sandwich bread
- Marble rye
- Chocolate and walnut cinnamon babka
We had fun filming, and, if it goes well, I'm hoping we'll be doing more, perhaps on pizzas – who knows? Feel free to pass the word and link on to others.
If you do sign up, let me know what you think. This is a whole new educational platform and concept, and Craftsy has a lot of other courses, such as cheese making, baking with chocolate, and cake decorating.
See Peter's original post: Hot off the press news
Recipe: Potato, Roasted Radicchio and Thyme Pizza With White Wine Cream Sauce
We hope you enjoy this month’s featured recipe from the Forno Bravo Community Cookbook, written by our chef moderator Dan Compton. Want to add your own recipe? Take a few moments to create a free Community Cookbook account!
For the crust recipe, refer to my pesto, asparagus and egg pizza recipe.
For the white wine cream sauce (enough for 4 pizzas):
- 4 T unsalted butter
- 1 C shallots, minced
- 1 1/2 C dry white wine
- 8 oz crème fraiche
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
For the pizza (enough to top 1 pie):
- 1 small Yukon gold potato
- 1 small head radicchio
- 1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 T fresh thyme leaves
- 4 oz low-moisture mozzarella, shredded
- freshly grated parmesan cheese, as needed
To make the cream sauce, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook slowly, stirring often, until well caramelized. Add the white wine and increase the heat to medium high. Bring to a boil and allow the wine to reduce until the pan is almost dry again. Remove from the heat and allow the shallot mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Place back over a low flame and whisk in the crème fraiche, mustard and remaining tablespoon of butter. Once incorporated, adjust the seasoning and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, peel the potato and slice into very thin rounds using a mandoline or sharp knife. Blanch the potato slices in the boiling water for 1 minute, or until tender but still holding their shape. Remove from the water and shock in an ice bath.
To prepare the radicchio, cut the head into quarters through the root end. Slice the core out of each quarter and then slice each quarter into thin strips. Heat a large sauté pan in your wood oven. Add the vegetable oil; when hot, add the sliced radicchio. Season with salt and pepper and roast in your oven, tossing frequently, until wilted and beginning to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in a strainer to allow any excess moisture to drain off.
To assemble the pizza, roll out your dough using your preferred method. Spread with a thin layer of the white wine cream sauce. Top with half the mozzarella. Shingle the potato slices over the surface of the pizza, then add the remaining mozzarella. Distribute the roasted radicchio over the pie. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and finish with a dusting of freshly grated parmesan.
Transfer to your oven and cook until done. Remove and allow to cool for five minutes, then slice and serve.