August 2010

No. 18; Insulation Matters & Ciabatta Recipe

Sidebar Image


For many, it’s been a hot, hot summer — so what’s better to think about than how to stay cool? And the best way to stay cool inside during the summer (and warm in the winter) is proper insulation ... which happens to be the theme of our August newsletter.

Forno Bravo revolutionized the pizza oven industry by moving to 100% high-tech woven ceramic insulation for the oven dome and cooking floor. Gone are the days of mixing vermiculite, perlite, expanded clay or sand to insulate your pizza oven — and, happily, also gone are the days of the oven enclosure getting hot, waiting hours for the oven to heat up but then cooling down too fast for bread baking, and wasting large amounts of wood.

Believe me, I have been there. I’ve installed ovens with vermiculite, perlite and sand, and I learned that working with bulk materials is not only a hassle but can actually cost more. And, most importantly, the ovens do not work as well.

Today, Forno Bravo is the first and only pizza oven company that delivers every oven (both assembled and modular kits) with all the ceramic board and blanket insulation you need. Read more about our unique insulation offerings below, and specifically about the Casa2G modular series to the right.

Finally, we’ve included a recipe for ciabatta, that classic Italian loaf with a light, chewy crumb and crunchy crust. Also, don’t forget to check out this month’s special offer, down at the bottom.

Stay cool, and happy cooking,

Insulation Matters: Forno Bravo’s Got You Covered

A customer asked us recently: "Why is insulation so important anyway?" In a sentence, if your oven is not properly insulated, the outer oven enclosure will become hot when the oven is in use, and the oven will not retain heat for baking pizza at high temperatures or baking bread and roasting at moderate temperatures.

Because excellent insulation leads to excellent food, the Forno Bravo team has put a lot of research and energy into providing our customers with the best, most efficient insulation available. We take advantage of high-tech ceramic insulating materials developed for manufacturing and other industrial applications.

Each Forno Bravo modular oven kit comes with complete dome (FB Blanket) and floor (FB Board) insulation. The Forno Bravo assembled ovens (our Toscana and Primavera series) arrive fully insulated, so our customers have nothing extra to deal with in that department. Note: Pompeii oven builders can purchase FB Board and FB Blanket at great prices from the Forno Bravo Store.

Some details on our highly efficient, easy insulation (that is much better than some of those old-fashioned materials):

FB Blanket is the perfect oven dome insulator. Designed for continuous use at temperatures up to 2300ºF, this flexible woven ceramic blanket is both highly efficient and easy to install. An alumina silicate product originally designed for industrial applications, the cost has fallen to where it can be used as the only dome insulator, making vermiculite obsolete.

A 3" layer of FB Blanket reduces the potential 900ºF exterior of a pizza oven dome to where the outside of the oven enclosure is cool to the touch.

See the technical characteristics on the online FB Blanket specification sheet.

FB Board is ideal for use as the sole insulator underneath pizza ovens and brick ovens. One 2" layer of FB Board stops the 900ºF temperature of the cooking floor and keeps it where you want it—inside the oven. Efficient insulation under the cooking floor is essential to baking great Pizza Napoletana. FB Board is roughly twice as efficient as pure vermiculite, and even more efficient than castable vermiculite and Portland cement mixes.

See the technical characteristics on the online FB Board specification sheet.

Recipe: Ciabatta Italian Hearth Bread

This month’s recipe goes along with our insulation theme: Better oven insulation gives you better heat retention ... which is great for baking items such as this yummy ciabatta.

Ciabatta Italian Hearth Bread

Poolish (the starter dough)

By weight

300 g general purpose flour (Caputo Tipo 00 works well)
300 g room temperature water
1 g (pinch) yeast

By volume

2 1/4 cups general purpose flour (Caputo Tipo 00 works well)
1 1/4 cups room temperature water
1/8 tsp yeast

Mix to a pancake batter consistency, cover with plastic wrap and let ferment for 3-4 hours, or overnight. Refrigerate after 3-4 hours.

The Finished Bread

By weight

The poolish, plus:
700 g flour
20 g salt
9 g yeast
430 g water (73% final hydration)

By volume

The poolish, plus:
2 7/8 cups flour
1 Tbs salt
1 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 cup water

Mix the dough until it is well hydrated (it is very sticky).

Stretch and fold (like a letter) and let rest covered with plastic for 30 minutes.

Stretch and fold again, and let rest for 1 1/2-2 hours covered. (The stretch and fold lines up the gluten to give the dough structure.)

Cut the ball into 3 pieces, and stretch into the final shape.

Proof for 1 hour, then bake at 500ºF (plus or minus) until the internal temperature reaches 205ºF.

It’s a very moist dough, and you don’t slash it. The final shape looks almost like a dog bone, and the final bread is crusty, with big holes in the crumb.

Learn more:

Special Offer

5-Pack of Caputo Tipo 00 Flour With Oven Purchase

Now through September 30, 2010, we will include a complimentary 5-Pack of Caputo Tipo 00 Flour with every Forno Bravo oven purchase – a $20 value! This flour, produced in Naples for three generations by the Caputo family, coupled with a Forno Bravo oven’s excellent heat retention, will produce some amazing food.

To receive your flour, simply enter coupon code: newsletter0810fb at checkout. For U.S. customers only. Offer expires September 30, 2010.