The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

first bread from my wood fired oven

varda's picture
varda

first bread from my wood fired oven

I just finished making my first edible bread in my cob oven.   In May I had no kitchen so wasn't able to bake at all.   Then in June, I got my kitchen back, but I started the process of building an outdoor oven.   Since I am not a handy person this was very challenging.  I read Kiko Denzer's book from cover to cover, did soil testing on the dirt around my house, bought some materials, scrounged some materials and made some materials, and got some great advice on the forum here.   I heard a lot of things about how you could make this sort of thing in an afternoon.   Maybe if you have a team of oxen or a lot of friends who want to help.   Suffice it to say it took me a lot longer than that.   I have tried for the last few days to bake in it.   The first day it wasn't quite dried out - I left some wood in it - so half of the bread got smoked and the other half didn't cook.   It all got dirty.   The second day, I cleaned it out properly before baking, but I didn't quite get just how long or how hot the fire had to burn.   So the loaf was as mushy as it went in an hour later.   Today, I stoked the fire for three hours to make sure it was hot enough, did a thorough cleaning, and then cooked away.  40 minutes later I had this:



and this



and finally the oven ad hoc and unlovely as it may be



 

Comments

janij's picture
janij

That is really good!!!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Excellent!  Wonderful Job not only the bread but the oven!  You stuck to it until it worked!  That's determination!  Now to sit back and enjoy the rewards... bread.  And anything else you want to bake in it.


Well done!


Mini

varda's picture
varda

This was a fun project that I started simply because I hate turning on the oven in the hot summer, but  didn't want to stop making bread.   Not that it's cool keeping a fire going on a 90 degree day, but hey, why does it have to make sense.  

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi vhaimo,


Oh brilliant. I remember you talking about this and now you went and did it - congratulations! Bread looks good too - great crumb.


Maybe when the oven dries fully it will take less time to heat? Do let us know how you got on with it.


Best wishes,  Daisy_A


 

varda's picture
varda

Well today, I built a roaring fire and baked after 1.5 hours.   And had to pull my first loaf out after 15 minutes so it wouldn't turn into a cinder.   I'll get the hang of this eventually.   And a thermometer would help as well.  Thanks for your encouragement. -Varda

shansen10's picture
shansen10

Your message and pictures almost brought tears to my eyes.  I would love to bake in a wood-fired-oven, but don't iknow if that will ever happen, as I am 66 and my husband is 4 years older.


Ever since seeing the French video called Les blés d'or, made by ADDOCS, a French film-making organization, I have been fascinated by this ancient way of making bread.  (You can watch the video streaming in reasonable quality from the ADDOCS site. It is the second film down in the list on the right. I hope you enjoy it.)


Others can say it better, but I'll try to express what I feel:


From the earth comes the grain; from the grain, wheat which we grind into flour and make into dough; from the dough baked in a wood-fired hearth, delicious, satisfying bread which we share with friends and loved ones.  Earth, fire, air, water, and human interaction - the cycle is complete


shansen10

varda's picture
varda

Thanks for your comments.   For years I have been digging clay dirt out of my garden and thinking boy, I wish I could make something with this.   I have been dumping it into a big bank, which was just starting to grow over when I finally found a use for it.   We are so used to using stuff from all over the world, that just using the dirt, stones, wood from right under my feet seems like a wonderful thing.  But that said, I am 52, and this project darn near killed me.   At one point I stopped at a local gas station that was being knocked down and asked if I could have some chunks of brick wall that I wanted to use beneath the hearth.   The guys who were standing around loaded a bunch into my trunk, and when I got home I couldn't get them out, that is until I remembered the magic of levers.   But I'm still here and looking forward to more bread (and whatever else) from the oven.    -Varda

shansen10's picture
shansen10

I like that you used your own clay and recycled throwaway bricks to make the oven.  You're right; we have grown too accustomed to the "throw it away and buy new" way of living, and we can't keep on forever.


Have you tasted bread from a wood-fired oven, other than your own?  I have not yet.  In November I will take a bread baking class at the John C Campbell Folk Camp in North Carolina, and they say they will have a wood-fired oven complete by then.  I hope so; I'm really looking forward to it.


I look forward to more pictures and descriptions of your baking ventures.


Sue

wally's picture
wally

What a wonderful crumb!  Congratulations on your hard work and it's payoff.  I just finished a 2-day course at King Arthur Flour with Dan Wing on wfo's and he specifically called out Kiko's book and method as a far cheaper way for the home baker to build a wood-fired oven.  The one thing I don't see in your picture though is some kind of protective overhang in case of rain/snow.  You don't want to see your hard work melting!


Larry

varda's picture
varda

Well thank you.    I have a big tarp at the ready in case of rain and later for snow, but I haven't had a chance to use it yet.   We are in the middle of a heat wave here, and there hasn't been any rain in a couple of weeks or any forecast.    I know that in theory I should build some sort of leanto, but my tiny little building impulse has been completely exhausted by what I've done so far.     I read your post on the wfo course and it sounds great.  -Varda