The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bring out the WFO's

  • Pin It
cleancarpetman's picture
cleancarpetman

Bring out the WFO's

WFO Friends-
     I have plans to build a brick oven starting this April.  I decided while I wait for warmer weather I should learn to bake bread.  I have baked bread in a loaf pan at 350* for an hour for nearly 30 years.  TFL has been a breath of fresh air and my baking has taken off with slacker doughs and more fermentation.  I am still a newbie at it and love this site for its wealth of knowledge.
      Now my two passions are together with the brickies uniting. 
      While I was baking a loaf at a time yesterday on a round bake stone I pined for a bigger oven or hust a rectangular bake stone.  I found that mixing, stretching and folding, shaping and final proofing was bottlenecked by the oven capacity.  I also wondered how a brick oven baker prepares enough dough and times the bake to put out a justifiable quantity of bread, which I would say is ten loaves and more. I understand that the firing can be justified by other uses but I am speaking of bread alone here.  I know bulk fermentation, something I have yet to try, is a key here but want to hear from those who have actually done it. 


ccm


 


  

toyman's picture
toyman

CCman - build that oven!  When it's too cold or windy to use the wood oven, I'll bake indoors.  I can bake 3 loaves or a dozen buns at a time the way I do indoors.  I take a large cookie tray.  My wife got them from her school's cafeteria, and they are heavy duty aluminum.  Anyway, I turn them upside down, spray them with Pam and let my loaves (3-500g) do their final rise before going into the oven.  I set my oven up with a stone on the bottom rack, in it's lowest position and another stone on the top rack in it's highest position.  Then I let the oven preheat to 475* for about an hour to really soak the stones.  When the bread is ready for the oven, I take the entire tray and lay it on top of the bottom stone.  It's bigger than my stone, so the edges sit on the rack.  It works great for me, and I can use my stones and still cook 3 loaves at a time. 


As far as preparing large quantities of dough.  My wife and I grab are 2 largest tupperware containters and add our ingredients and start the kneading process. Each bowl will result in about 7.5# of dough.   Once the dough has come together, I 'slap' it around on the countertop a few times, and then back in the bowls for a bulk rise in the fridge for 16-24 hours.  The next day it gets punched down, and then a bench rise before shaping.  Then shaping and the final rise.  I've actually used the same method above with the cookie sheets in my wood oven, as I can fit 2 in at a time.  I think that getting the bottoms off the hearth floor keeps them from getting too dark and I can get the bread in while the heats still a bit high.  I don't always do this, but sometimes I take the easy route.  In my wood oven, using the cookie sheets, I can get 3-4 loads.  Each load is 6 loaves or 2 dozen buns.  15# of dough yeilds me approximately 10-12 loaves and a dozen buns.  


I rec'd my Electrolux DLX mixer last Saturday and mixed a 7.5# batch with no problems.  I think it will handle 10# +-, but I just can't see a double batch fitting in the 8qt bowl.  It isn't necessarily a time saver, but I think it bettered the quality of the dough and gives me the ability to do bigger batches more easily.   I'm going to put it through it's paces again this weekend, and hopefully fire the wood oven since the temps are supposed to be in the 50's


Hope this helps! 


 

ClimbHi's picture
ClimbHi

My own oven is on the smaller side -- about 2' X 3' hearth dimension. I can bake 5 good-sized loaves, or one large pizza, at one time. At the time I built mine, I was wishing I could have made it bigger. But eating 5 loaves of bread a week has taken its toll on my waistline! Now I find myself *glad* that the oven isn't bigger, or I would be bigger as well. ;-)


Serioulsy, you need to carefully consider sizing your oven. Bigger means more fuel and more time to heat. If most of your loads will not fill a bigger oven, IMHO, you're better off sacrificing the occasional large-load use. If the oven is too big for what you most often bake, you'll find yourself not bothering to use it as often as you otherwise would. Also, the bread comes out better when the oven is filled to capacity, so if you have a 10-loaf oven, you'll probably want to bake a minimum of 10 loaves at a shot. Large family of bread lovers? Go for it. Just you and wifey? Maybe not. Now that I have a smaller oven, I'm glad I was forced to downsize. I use mine every weekend and I doubt I would have if it had been much bigger. It would have been used only when I was entertaining, or needed extra-large quantites of something.


My bread batches are usually around 3-4 lbs I guess. I mix by hand, knead for about 5 minutes, and then stretch & fold twice at 15-minute intervals. This works well for pretty much any family-sized batches, so I've stopped lusting after dough mixers -- like I've stopped lusting after a bigger oven. ;-)


ClimbHi
Pittsburgh, PA

toyman's picture
toyman

CH - My problem with the loaves is that they dissappear.  Friends & family stop over and a few loaves leave, you know how it is!  So I like to bake about a 10-12 loaves and some buns for a normal batch.  I also only leave out 1 loaf at a time and freeze the rest.  I've found that you can get at least one reheat out of a loaf without any ill effects.   When my freezer gets low, I mix up another big batch.  My wife and I actually made up baskets for xmas gifts with a bottle of wine, my wifes (almost famous) chocolate chip cookies and a loaf of bread.  They were a big hit.  I have 2 kids that keep me and my wife on the run, plus I have a few other interests, you know, golf, woodworking, hunting, clay shooting, mountain biking, antique/classic cars & tractors, smoking & grilling, etc.  I'm still getting to know my new Electrolux mixer, but it was nice to mix up 11 - 300g pizza dough balls last nite while I was having dinner.  The dough is silky smooth and workable.  I have 5 of the balls in the fridge on a long ferment for pizza's tonite with friends and the other 6 were bagged & frozen.  I worked harder cleaning up than I did making the dough.   After a morning bird hunt tomorrow with my German Shorthair, I plan on mixing up a big batch of bread dough and firing up the oven on Sunday.   My next step is to mix up some bread dough with a poolish.   I have been reading Reinharts "Crust & Crumb" and it interests (and confuses) me.  I've read some places where you can freeze the excess poolish and use it in the future, and I really like that idea.  I just can't seem to get my head around why a 24 hour long bulk ferment would be much different than a 24 hour ferment on a poolish?  Just wondering.  

frankie g's picture
frankie g

I totally understand.


My issues until lately is having the oven fired properly when it's time to bake the loaves.


I am now making breads from starter alone, and the loaves themselves can take 4-5 hours to rise.


The secret from me is OVEN MANAGEMENT.  One has to know the ins-n-outs of their oven and how long it takes to heat and at what temp to bake.


It takes my oven 3hours to get to a "clean" oven.  Well heated through.


So I fire it 1-2 hours after I shape my loaves for the final rise.


There is balancing all the way through because of weather, wood, bread..etc.


but the results... WELL WORTH IT.


 


Build your oven


Frankie G


http://www.deltabluesfestival.net/pizza_oven.htm

cleancarpetman's picture
cleancarpetman

     First let me tell you that I have admired you and your oven for awhile.  You might even say, you're a hero of mine.  Anyone who builds and uses an oven makes my list but you have put more into it.  Thank you.
   So, what I GET is that every oven is different and what you tell me about your oven management might not work for me.  So, build my oven and we'll talk, right?  I have to know my own oven and how it heats and how long it takes to heat.
    For you, it is three hours to a clean white oven and bread temp but not necessarily "full charge"  Is that right?  At what temp does it go white?  Seems at full charge you would be at pizza temp and have to wait for it to come down to bread temp.
    I love baking bread and talking about baking bread but nothing gets my juices flowing like an honest discussion about firing up a wood fired oven to bake bread.  I am on this site specifically to gain baking knowledge but now I can get oven credits as well.  Truly the best of both worlds.
ccm


 


  


  

frankie g's picture
frankie g

That's what I'm sayin'... and thank you for the kind words.


As far as a temperature, I did not include any thermocouples in my oven... which would tell me the temperature of the bricks through any given time..


To get a whit oven is to heat the interior of the oven hot enough to burn away the black creosote.  with a masonry oven, one needs to heat it long enough to heat the concrete mass that surrounds the brick.  the thicker the mass... the more heat retention and the interior oven bricks (and the interior of the oven) will keep its heat.


The center of the oven wants to cool... and the interior oven bricks keep it hot.  so these bricks offer radiant heat to the interior of the oven.  The bricks draw their heat from the mass that surrounds them...


so yes... while its hot enough for pizza, when the fire is removed we let the oven "soak" or equalize.


When the interior (not bricks... the center of the oven box) of my oven reads 575 degrees... I am ready to bake.  any hotter and loaves burn.


Frankie G