Hello and Thank You - My first post
I'm a new member of The Fresh Loaf yet not new to The Fresh Loaf. I have been in the lurker catagory for many many years. I thought it would be good to come out of the shadows and become a little more visible and hopefully can be of help at times to others as so many have been for me through reading thousands of posts through the years.
I have always loved to cook from a very young age, perhaps partially due to growing up in Louisiana. But my real love for baking breads and pastries began with my first trip to France during the summer of 1975. Since that time, my journey began to recreate the breads and pastries that I experienced then as well as in 5 trips back to France over the years. My journey has been full of interuptions due to jobs and raising children but has steadily continued to the present. My passion for cooking and baking is as strong now as it ever has been. I currently live in Dallas, Texas.
The timing of my initial posting here on The Fresh Loaf is primarily tied to a new hearth oven that I purchase from Pleasant Hill Grain and received the first of this month. The oven is the Rofco b40 hearth oven imported from Belgium. I actually first learned of the oven on this site and wanted one ever since but importing one oven from Europe was problematic for a number of reasons. Pleasant Hill is the only U.S. distributor of Rofco from my understanding and received the first shipment at the end of December. As soon as I heard they were going to be selling Rofco ovens in the Fall, I called and reserved the b40. I have been baking various breads 3 times per week (with poolish French baguettes to start with) since receiving my Rofco oven the first week in January. Before the Rofco, I had been using several la cloche's to bake my breads in with excellent results but was limited as to number of loaves to make at any one time. The Rofco does even better due to the thick stone floors and efficient steaming of the bread (no vents in the oven). The b40 does have a little learning curve. I'll attempt to answer any questions from other posters interesting in the oven or have just purchased a Rofco oven from this home baker's perspective. I want to complement Carly and others at Pleasant Hill Grain on their excellent customer service. They have been a pleasure to work with.
I do want to thank so many of the posters here on The Fresh Loaf who have made me a better baker - much appreciated!
Thats it for now - I'm a geologist by profession and one must work to pay for our toys.