First Mega-Bake Attempt
I always tend to get a little too ambitious when devoting a whole day to baking bread. It's always been an indoor effort before, where I try to make enough breads so that my wife and two teenageers don't finish it all by, oh, Tuesday morning. So I figured I can REALLY crank out a lot of bread when I can bake numerous loaves at once. So I pulled out The Jewish Baker and Old World Breads. Had a sourdough starter and rye sour starter going Saturday so I'd be ready Sunday.
Fired up the oven about 9:00, planning to start baking about 12:00 or so. Decided on Sourdough French, Tuscan Sourdough (one of my favorites), Lazlo's Sourdough Potato Rye, and Old World Rye. Boy, do I need to work on my timing! Ended up having to refire the oven in late afternoon to bake off the last batch. Oh yeah, I decided I may as well double some of the recipes as long as I was firing up the oven for all day.
Final score: eight SD French baguettes, two Laslo SD potato Ryes, two Tuscan SD, and two Old World Ryes. Also made five thin crust pizzas for dinner. Grades: Pizzas-A, baguettes-B (not quite browned enough as oven was cooling down by then), Laslo's SD rye-A+ (cooked post pizza so the ove was nice and hot, came out crisp crust, nicely browned, and tasty), Old World Ryes- B, Tuscan SD-a disappointing C- or even a D. I've made these in the past, and they have had great oven spring. This time, I burned the first one, as the oven was too hot, and the second tasted okay, but didn't have the spectacular oven spring I was used to.
I think I'm going to get one of those infrared laser thermometers. 1) so I quit burning breads, but more importantly 2) so I can bake during winter without having to guestimate temps, or wait around to check a thermometer I've placed inside the oven. Sorry for the long ramble, but I'm excited to finally be using this thing after spending all summer building it, and my family loves to eat the results, but certainly aren't interested in talking about it.
Oh yeah, my neighbor just replaced his cedar fence, and gave me all the old wood (never painted, stained, or treated in any way). Although it was a ll a little damp, I used the oven today as a sort of drying kiln, and it worked great! And the fence boards are much easier to cut up than tree limbs!