The Wood-Fired Blog

Whole wheat bread with olives in the Presto Pizza Oven

May 10, 2012Posted by Forno Bravo

Still having a great time with my Presto oven. As an update, I can confirm that I will be working with a second prototype of the Presto within a few days as the final OK before releasing it to production and making it available for sale. To quote Apple on the latest iOS 5.1.1 software update, we are working on “minor improvements and bug fixes”. haha. More seriously, we are working out the final kinks and I am getting very excited about the Presto as a product. Any my next one is going to be red!

Meanwhile, in my first gen Presto, I am continuing to bake bread and continuing to learn more and more about getting the most from a small oven. Today I made a 1kg (2.2lb) batch of whole wheat olive bread. The dough called for 1kg of white whole wheat flour, 10 grams of yeast, 20 grams of salt, 650 gram of water (65% hydration), 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of honey and handful of chopped green Spanish olives. Kalamata olives might have been nicer, but I didn’t have any. The olive oil and honey were a wonderful addition, bring a nice moistness to the dough and balancing the dry, nuttiness of the whole wheat flour. I also should have used more olives. Next time.

I bulk fermented the dough for about an hour, shaped my loaves and let them rise in the bantons for another 90 minutes. They were nicely proofed.

As before, I brought the oven up to temperature with about three pieces of firewood chopped into 2-3” wide pieces. The small oven really seems to like smaller pieces of wood, in part because I think there is generally less air circulation than in a larger oven. Also, as the oven only needs three pieces of wood to be nicely fired, the small pieces burn better relative to the overall size of the fire.

I took a little more time brushing and then swabbing the oven floor and letting the oven temperature moderate and regulate—though really not enough. The oven was still hotter than I would have liked, but as usual, dinner was waiting. If you have been reading for a while, you will know that I strongly recommend against cleaning your oven floor with a damp towel for pizza baking (it takes valuable heat out of the floor and the grit is good for you), but I think swabbing the oven floor with damp rag is a good thing for bread baking. Cooling the floor can be a good thing, the water puts steam and moisture in your oven, and grit just isn’t as fun in bread.

One other thing. I have a piece of pizza dough left over from a few nights ago, so I shaped that into a focaccia and put it on a half sheet pan with some olive oil. And did both loaves and the sheet pan fit nicely in the 24” wide Presto oven? Definitely!

Overall, I got a nice oven spring. I sprayed the oven three times after putting the loaves in, and I could tell right away that the spring was better. I’m not sure whether it was because my dough was better (it was), the oven had been fired a little longer, or I sprayed more water. Either way, it worked out really well.

We ate the focaccia for dinner and I’ve already been snacking on the whole wheat bread. Good thing I run.

More bread to come.


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