The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

This weekend's bake

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ClimbHi's picture
ClimbHi

This weekend's bake

Not much activity in this folder lately, so I thought I'd post this weekend's baking in the WFO.


Made a double batch of SD bread starting with the PR recipe in BBA, but substituting 1/3 of the flour weight in the final dough -- about 12 oz. -- with whole wheat, 7-grain, oatmeal and barley. Also added 2 Tblsp. each of honey and brown sugar to counteract the bitterness of the 7-grain, and added some sunflour seeds and some pine nuts. Split the batch into 5 loaveabout s, batard shaped, and set them to rise. I tend to bake my loaves on parchment and I use scraps of wood between the loaves to keep things straight, and direct the rise up as opposed to out. Kind of a parchment couche. Then I cover the whole batch with plastic to rise:


DSCN2739 by you.


DSCN2742 by you.


 DSCN2743 by you.


About two hours later, I light the oven. This firing, I just burned a bunch of scraps from my woodshop -- about 1-1/2 liquor boxes worth.


DSCN2745 by you.


DSCN2749 by you.


Notice how the heat/smoke stratifies in the oven.


Two hours later, the loaves have fully risen, the oven has heated to "white hot", the fire has been raked out and the oven has been allowed to sit empty and closed to allow the heat to soak into the masonry. When the air temp gets down to around 500F, it's time to load 'er up.


DSCN2753 by you.


I made two of the loaves into batards, and three into pan de epi. and loaded the oven.


DSCN2752 by you.


DSCN2754 by you.


Misting the loaves after loading. I use a garden sprayer with a fine spray that pretty much evaporates to steam before it ever hits the walls, etc.


DSCN2755 by you.


20 minutes later, they're done. I really like the touch of WW and other stuff in these loaves. Despite the additions, they rose well and have a light and open crumb:


DSCN2756 by you.


Then, the desert goes in -- this week it was peach/blueberry cobler with pecan streusel topping -- for another 20 minutes or so. Served with a nice chilly sangria. Major Yum!


 DSCN2757 by you.


(We also roasted a beer can chicken that had been started on the grill along with the desert, but I didn't get a pic of that.)


ClimbHi
Pittsburgh, PA

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

ClimbHi, Really enjoyed your wfo baking photos!  Did you have a lot of smoke burning your scrap wood?


Sylvia

ClimbHi's picture
ClimbHi

A WFO typically smokes a bit -- OK, a bunch -- during the first couple of minutes until the fire gets going well. After that, it smokes very little if the wood is dry. Note that my scrap wood is pretty much all kiln-dried hardwood. This bunch was mostly cherry, with a little white oak mixed in. When I burn split logs, I always coke the wood (put it in the oven after a bake for use the next time) so it's extreemly dry and it smokes very little.


I've used red oak, white oak, cherry, poplar, maple and some pine. So far, my favorite is maple. It burns clean, and it seems to burn at a rate that works well to heat the oven relatively quickly and efficiently. Of course, the hardwoods smoke a lot less than softwoods like pine (which really doesn't work well in a WFO except as kindling), and the drier the better for low smoke and efficient heating.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Thanks for the info.  It was my first challenge when I got my wfo oven.  To learn how to build a fire!  We have a very large wood supplier near by and I have only purchased the oak.  They say it's supposed to burn the hottest, longest and cleanest and great for pizza's.  Living in a small neighborhood community I like to keep the smoke at a minimum.  Finally I'm able to accomplish that...I can't believe how little smoke I have when using my wfo oven...now that I have learned about making a fire!  The 'coke' method sure helps when we have our rainy weather.


Sylvia

Glass-Weaver's picture
Glass-Weaver

Great post!  Thanks for all the pictures and details.  Bread looks wonderful.  I especially like the parchment couche idea, thanks for sharing that.


Terri

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

David

ClimbHi's picture
ClimbHi

I use the "parchment paper couche" 'cause it saves me several steps - I can just let the loaves rise seam side down and not have to worry about flippping them onto the peel for baking, and I don't have to swab the oven deck clean before loading it. It also works well to keep the loaves moist during the rise. These loaves are about 20" long, so it's tough to keep them covered well enough so they don't dry out. This method allows me to use cheap plastic (I use painter's plastic) to cover them tightly enough so the humidity level stays up. The paper also serves to keep the plastic from touching (and sticking to) the loaves.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

What is that little round fire starter just under your wood?  I use fire sticks..what you are using looks better and mayburns longer?


Sylvia

ClimbHi's picture
ClimbHi

I buy fireplace fire starters -- they're kinda like those fake logs, but smaller and rectangular. Then I cut 'em up to about 1" cubes. One's plenty to get the fire going, even when I'm using coked logs without any kindling.


FYI, these are made of sawdust and parafin and are totally safe for use in the oven, per Mary Karlin, author of "Wood-Fired Cooking" which is, incidently, a great resource for woodies of all stripe. More on the book later after I get further along in it. (I just got it yesterday.)


ClimbHi
Pittsburgh, PA

rya's picture
rya

Hi,


   I was just reading a post of yours from late 2009, great photos! I was curious about the parchment in your WFO, looks like you had no problem using it directly in the oven for your baguettes, have you since? Does its consistency change at all once it get really hot?


    I also noticed your thermometer from your photos (great hpotos by the way). Is that a woodstove theremometer that you cut a hole for and planted in the side of your oven? How is it integrated? I'm looking for an alternative to an IR therm ., something more affordable. I'm just getting startde with the WFO but its built and pizza has been successful, now on to the breads.


    I've enjoyed your posts, lots of great info!      thanks, rya

ClimbHi's picture
ClimbHi

I almost always use parchment. It makes it far easier to load my small-ish oven and is very convenient for the rising process. Since I took those pictures, I've been letting the oven soak a bit longer, so the hearth temps are a bit lower -- around 550 deg. -- and it does not affect the parchment much. In fact, on the advice of a professional baker friend, I now re-use my parchment 5 or 6 times before it degrades to the extent that I toss it. (Usually, that's from tearing caused by moving it around in the oven.)


The thermometer is an accessory sold for use with the Big Green Egg smoker/grill. I picked it because the probe is 6" long and it goes up to 1,000 deg. F. It's mounted in the door, and there is a bit more detail in my fairly recent post about how my oven door was constructed.


I do use this as a rough estimate for baking temps, but I do use an IR gun for taking masonry temps so I know when to load the oven. I find this is more accurated than the door thermometer because of the way a WFO works. A WFO doesn't rely as much on the hot air in the oven as a conventional oven. Rather, it cooks by radiation from the hot masonry. Therefore, you can't use an air temp thermometer like you would in a regular oven. It does make a decent indicator to keep track of how fast your oven temps are falling and it helps estimate timing if you're roasting a chicken, for example. My IR gun was a bit more expensive because I got one that will read up to over 1,000 deg. However, that's not essential. You can pick up a decent IR gun for about $40 that will read almost that high. Save your pennies and get one -- it's worth it for this accessory.


ClimbHi
Pittsburgh, PA