The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Resurrection

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CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

Resurrection


A client of ours, Barry, managed to buy a used, modular, wood fired pizza oven from a pizzeria in the Toronto area that was going out of business.  When I saw it in pieces in his barn, I knew it would be a tough build.  It had seen a lot of use, was banged up, and two of the molded pieces had been broken, probably during disassembly.  Once the stand was welded up by the very capable Benji, who works for Barry, it took three days and a lot of materials to put it together.  Right now, it's curing, waiting for the chimney and the stucco on the dome.  If you're careful, it really is possible to give an old horse new legs.


CJ


bakerslife's picture
bakerslife

Reminds me of the oven my husband's abuelita had on the finca (farm).

poppyfields's picture
poppyfields

lookin good.  I hope it is grateful and gives you years more faithful and delicious service. 

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

We were in the Coasta Blanca region (Javea, Alicante, Valencia, Denia) this March and were fortunate enough to visit a few fincas, some in use, some abandoned.  All had large wood fired ovens.  One finca had even been turned into a restaurant; it had two old ovens, both refurbished and working.  We visited the sprawling fort at Sagunto, where there is a wood fired oven built by Napoleon's army.  The hearth is ten feet deep on that one.  I'll post a pic if anyone's interested.


CJ

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Please.


David G.

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

David,


In the Costa Blanca, it seems wood fired ovens are just about everywhere.  Modular ones like this one at the splendid Javea villa we stayed in, owned by Jim & Vaughn, is a modular that they purchased in four pieces from a local building supply store. The rest of the installation is all theirs, sitting on the patio near the pool and hot tub. It's fired mainly with olive wood, very aromatic. The villa is a great spot, overlooking the Med from high on a mountainside.  I'd be pleased to pass on details to anybody looking for an unforgettable stay in an unforgettable place.  Sleeps eight, fabulous kitchen and gardens, every amenity you could want.  The local wines are very fine, and this region is where they grow Muscatel grapes.  I won't say anything about the fruit, capers, olives, lamb, fish, sausages....



We took a day trip to have lunch (late and large) at the Coral del Pato (The Duck Corral), between Alicante and Gato, where they bake wood fired bread in two WFOs, side by side, that are fired with boughs of the Spanish Pine, needles and all.  We all tucked into their amazing wood roasted duck with figs and pears, and a thickened sauce only sweetened by the fruit.  Oh, and some wine. Here's one of them being fired:



The sprawling fort at Sagunto has been overrun but just about anyone you can name.  Originally built by the Etruscans, it was conquered by the Greeks, the Romans, Hannibal, the Moors, the French.  It's an essay in evolving architectural styles.  There is no sign to mark the Napoleanic oven, and the site staff didn't seem to know anything much about it.  Fortunately, our hosts, Jim & Vaughn, did, including the location (it's a very large fort, almost a kilometre long high on a ridge) and the builders.  My partner, Wendy Carlson, and her daughter, Kate Amies, stand by the massive front to give an idea of scale.  The hearth is ten feet deep, low dome, soft bricks likely made on the spot, floor bricks bedded in sand. The chimney vent is in the front, isolated from the bake chamber, and similar to the ovens in Pompeii. The structure above it is absolutely massive and probably "insulated" with sand.  Although roofless now, the area in front of the oven was once a large baking room/kitchen?, about thirty feet square.  On the right, out of the picture, there's evidence that there was probably a grill built into a corner.


It's hard to imagine how many thousands of loaves were baked in it for Napoleon's notoriously large and hungry army.  Probably just about everything else, too.



Javea, in the Costa Blanca, is about 200 kilometres south of Barcelona (very reachable by high speed train) and about an hour and a half's drive to Valencia, with it's gigantic Art Deco produce market. And, yes, we'd go back in a heartbeat.


CJ

davidg618's picture
davidg618

Thank you for them, and the history. I've not been in Barcelona for 38 years; wish I knew about the fort then.


David G.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Gorgeous photos, CJ!  You are an inspiration!  Thank you for sharing!


Sylvia

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

That oven is incredible! and the description of your lunch sounds even more so! Thank you for sharing.


Betty