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Pane Nero di Castelvetrano and my new Oven

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ananda's picture
ananda

Pane Nero di Castelvetrano and my new Oven

Pane Nero di Castelvetrano and my new Oven

In my previous post, here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24641/tumminia-and-pane-nero-di-castelvetrano I told the tale of running through the village to find an alternative oven, having blown up my own early in the bake cycle for my first attempt at the Pane Nero di Castelvetrano.   The result was a minor miracle, given the circumstances, but not one yielding a particularly dark crust, implied as pre-requisite in the real loaf.

Subsequently, I dismantled the old electric oven and found that the wiring point where the mains lead enters the cooker was completely melted through.   I weighed up a couple of alternative solutions.   Firstly, to call out an Electrician to repair the wiring and re-assemble the cooker safely?   I figured that the oven just wasn’t up to the job, and that the same situation would only happen again soon, with further risk of setting fire to the kitchen.   Not a good idea!

Alternative Two was therefore necessary.   I’d better find a new oven.   A good trawl through E-bay, and I’d found a great solution.   I needed an oven with a much better specification to cope with bread baking, that wasn’t going to cost a small fortune.   Given that the expensive ovens all have fancy features which I have no use for, there was no point me buying something with “all mod cons”.   So, I happened upon a SMEG oven, some years old now, yet brand new and unused, if you get my drift?   It had been displayed in a Showroom, but certainly never turned on.   The oven door still had the protective plastic covering attached, and everything arrived pristine…by Courier on a pallet, just a couple of days later!

I had fitted the oven and it was up and running by teatime, but didn’t use it that evening.   Yesterday [Saturday] we stayed in and watched back episodes of MadMen on the dvd player on my pc to take us to the end of Season 3.   I cooked Fassolia, and baked a tray of Spanokopita for a really tasty meal.   Yes, I did make my own filo pastry too!

Anyway, I set to, and baked another Pano Nero di Castlevetrano today, to see if I could test out the new oven.   The formula is the same as before.   I made 1.15 times the quantity in the last post, giving just over 2 kg of dough, which I divided into a 600g loaf and a loaf just short of 1400g.

First revelation; the oven will pre-heat to 280°C!   I replaced the old 3 bricks with 3 firebricks left over from building the wood-fired oven.   These are really heavy, and I am not going to keep them in the oven like I did with the ordinary bricks in the old oven.   Other than that, the set up was the same.   I pre-heated the oven for 1 hour with the fan, then another half hour without the fan at 250°C, before cranking it up to 280°C again ready for baking.

I used boiling water poured onto hot stones for steam, and kept a steady supply going for 10 minutes, with the oven set at 250°C and the fan switched off.   Then I dropped the heat back to 235°C and kicked the fan in for convection for the rest of the bake.   For the last 10 minutes, I switched over to top heat only, with the fan off, and the oven door just slightly ajar.   This was an attempt to darken the loaf top.   Personally, I would have fired the small loaf some more.   However, Alison is less fond of well-fired loaves, so the pictures show what is actually a bit of a compromise.   I managed to go completely over the top with the big loaf, and had to scrape off the layer of charcoal on the top, just to rescue it from oblivion.   Hence, no pictures of this loaf, sorry!

Wow, it’s so good to have a good oven in the kitchen to bake on, although I need to pay more attention in order to know exactly how it works!

Meantime, my brother is visiting in a couple of weeks’ time.    We have a mission to set up the wood-fired oven so it functions well and without hindering other peoples’ lives [the smoke situation!!!]   If we enjoy as much success as I have with my new SMEG, then I’ll be very happy indeed!!!

All good wishes

Andy

Comments

wassisname's picture
wassisname

I thought the last one turned out well, but this looks absolutely terrific!  And congratulations on the new oven, I look forward to seeing more of what comes out of it.

Marcus

ananda's picture
ananda

Thank you Marcus,

I'm looking forward to baking at home more than ever.

BW

Andy

varda's picture
varda

that this time went smoothly thanks to your new oven.   Crust and crumb both first class.  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Thank you Varda,

I don't think that running round the village looking for an oven is a viable solution in the long term for a baker!

Best wishes

Andy

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Ahhh the lengths we go to get a loaf of bread :-)

How nice that you found such a good deal and the it works too!  

Now you can relax and enjoy.

Very nice crust and crumb by the way.  You obviouly figured out your new oven very quickly.

Hope you can solve your WFO problem as easily too.

Take Care,

Janet

ananda's picture
ananda

Thank you very much Janet,

enjoying baking is a constant.   Relaxing is a little more difficult!

The wood fired oven will be a challenge, but my brother has a nack of pulling things out of the bag in tricky situations!

Best wishes

Andy

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I can't think of anything to make baking an even happier experience than new toys..I mean ovens ; )

added:  and a good cup of tea to stand back and admire it all :) 

Sylvia

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Sylvia,

Nice cup of tea, anytime.   My preference is for Green Tea, thank you!

The next new toy has to be one of the Infra Red Thermometers you mentioned.

At the weekend I bought a lovely set of enamel scales...the old-fashioned balance scales, in perfect working order.   They weigh upto 7kg.   And I also bought an old "Scotch Cutter", with a sharp and strong blade made from cast steel, and a lovely shaped wooden handle.   Our antique shop is pulling out all the stops.   The scale only cost me £8.   Now I need to buy a set of weights to go with it ready for a real operating bakery for the future.

All good wishes

Andy

Syd's picture
Syd

Lovely bake, Andy.  Nice crust and crumb.  Glad to hear you got a good deal on your new oven.  I have never heard of a SMEG before, but as soon as I finish writing this, I shall Google it!  So, was it your Baumatic that gave up the ghost then?  That makes me worried because, perhaps, the same will happen to mine.  Is there anything I can do to prevent it? 

All the best,

Syd

ananda's picture
ananda

Sorry Syd,

I've been waiting about 2 years for the old Baumatic oven to blow up!

However, my opinion of most domestic ovens is very low.   I guess it's inevitable when I'm so used to working on so many different types of commercial ovens, all with so much more power.

I hope your's holds out for you.   Check the wiring is probably my best advice, if that's any good?

Best wishes

Andy

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Congratulations on the new oven! It appears to do the job.

David

ananda's picture
ananda

Thank you David,

It more than does the job, as I discovered when I charred the top of the other loaf to the point where the kitchen became "smoked out"!

I need to keep my eyes more carefully focused as I learn how to use the oven!

All good wishes

Andy

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Lovely Bake, Andy! And congratulations on the new oven! Fan, and all.. your baking is less tedious now, i think.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Khalid,

Many thanks.

Actually, my old oven was fan-assisted too.   But that had a fan which was mandatory.

This oven allows me to start baking with steam and no fan, then kick the fan into use after 10 minutes.

So much better!

All good wishes

Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Andy,

Like Syd, I had to Google SMEG to find out what they looked like and their specs. They are what many of us here in the Pacific Northwest would call 'Skookum' . Don't worry, it a has a positive connotation. It generally means high quality, strong, durable, that sort of thing. What a bonus that it will produce a 280C temp! So nice having good equipment to work with, isn't it?

Skookum applies nicely to your first bread from the new oven as well. Your 1st Pane Nero di Castelvetrano looked great I thought, considering the ordeal it went through, but this one is better still. Such a soft looking crumb inside that shattering crust. Truly an excellent loaf on all counts! If all goes well with the WFO fix-up, soon you'll be in the enviable position of having to decide which oven to bake your bread in. Nice!

Great post Andy.

All the best,

Franko

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Franko,

Yes I'm pleased with the new oven, and this first loaf too.

Of course Giuseppe was quick to remind me today that I should be using re-milled Durum flour alongside the Tummilia, and not the regular white flour combination I concocted.

Alison and I sat and talked about our holiday and itinerary possibilities in Sicily with Giuseppe and his girlfriend Caroline this afternoon.   Personally, I think I'll make this bread again once I've tracked down some local fancy durum flour to accompany the tummilia.   However, I'm going to stick with strong flour in the levain!

Good word, my friend, and I'll happily accept the compliment.   Thank you indeed

Very best wishes

Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Andy,

When you're in Sicily, hopefully you'll have a chance to try the authentic Pane Nero di Castelvetrano, and may find that a durum flour levain, in part or whole, lends a very nice, somewhat sweet and nutty (for lack of a better term) flavour to a dough. If you have the schedule to babysit this quickly fermenting stuff and use it at peak, it's worth trying for the flavour alone, as well as it's leavening power. Course grind semolina will ferment easily, but has a slower cycle than durum flour or other fine grinds, so something you might like to try as an experiment in new starters at some point.

Best to you as well Andy,

Franko

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Franko,

you are probably right that I should use a durum leaven at some stage.   Maybe finding some local Sicilian "blond grain" durum flour will be the best chance I get?   I'm not exactly bowled over by the choice of durum flours available right now here in the UK...but that's fair enough.   We don't exactly share similar climates with places like Sicily, so I can only really hope to find very ordinary industrial versions.   I really only want to make the durum leaven if I have access to really special materials.

All good wishes

Andy

hanseata's picture
hanseata

An oven heating up to 280 C - wow! And making your own phyllo dough? I'm speechless with admiration...

Karin

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

That is some exacting work.  Beautiful bakes, Andy.

Congrats on the new oven.

Glenn

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Glenn,

As with all pastry; patience and care

More to follow

Many thanks for your comments

Best wishes

Andy

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Karin,

This is the first home oven I've ever owned which I actually have any confidence in!

I'll post more on the filo when I get home tonight.

Very best wishes

Andy

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Nice post Andy and really nice bread too, i think all ovens take a little bit of getting used to, and i'm sure yours will be churning out lots of nice breads most weeks.

With the wood fired oven that we have here at the college it is essential that we produce the minimum amount of smoke as it can be drawn into a few of the air ducts and upper floor classrooms,which could lead to a ban on its use. So we have to make sure the students add firewood  little and often, also that it is not green but good and dry too. We do have a really excellent hard wood here called Jarrah (makes beautifull furniture and was used for railway sleepers too) and that burns well giving a lot of heat but again has to be built up little and often. Another trick is to use the heat from the oven when you have finished the bake to really dry the next load of firewood.  Where does the featured loaf originate?

I recently aquired a set of scales that my late  father in law used in his potting workshop and intend taking them into work to use  when im doing a decent sized batch.

Kind regards Yozza

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Derek,

It's really good to hear from you, you have been away from TFL too long!

The bread originates from the NW corner of Sicily.   The tummilia flour is local only to these parts.

Alison and I are going to this region for a holiday at the end of October!

I'll have to respond to other posts tomorrow; sleep calls

All good wishes

Andy

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi Andy 

You do visit some great spots! I can cofirm that we are coming over to the old country next year as i was hoping, the only thing that is a little different is that we are coming over for the Royal Rendevous, Cunards 3 Queens (Victoria,Mary 2 and Elizabeth) all in Southampton for Her Majesty's  Jubilee.

We get to sail on all 3 over 30 days traveling  to St Petersburg and Estonia, Finland,Sweden and Norway.

Then into the Mediteranean and all the usual  spots  Monaco, Genoa, Rome , Naples, Corfu,Dubrovnik and Split

lastly across to France  Le Havre and who knows where else  should be fun then another 6 weeks visiting family and friends around the UK. so i hope we get chance to meet up

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Derek,

Yes, we are so looking forward to our next holiday.

Dubrovnik is actually a place I have long wanted to visit myself.

Your trip sounds an amazing adventure, and I do so hope we can get to meet up when you have arrived in the UK

Very best wishes

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Yeah, Dobrovnik is beeaaauuutiful place, definitely one of the most beautiful town I've ever visited. Though it was still Yugoslavia when we visted there.  Everybody in the tourist industry spoke impeaccable English which was a real surprise for an Eastern European country those days. Heard some parts of town were badly damaged during the war.  I'm sure they're now completely restored to the former glory. Hope you'll have a wonderful time there, when you go. ;)

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Thanks for such a recommendation lumos

I will convey this to Alison when I try to convince her we should take a holiday there sometime in the future

Very best wishes

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Just do ANYTHING to get her agree to go there. It's not only Dubrovnik but the whole area is just stunning, not only the scenery but also they've come through such a fascinating and complicated history, it's just like seeing the traces of beautiful (and sometimes cruel) kaleidoscope of history everywhere you look, their architecutres, streets, arts, etc. etc. etc......and the food is great, too. A lot of influence from Italy mingled with local cuisine and Eastern European influence, too. 

My husband's been there just a few months ago with his old mates from the uni (they visit a different city every year as their re-union trip) for the first time since we were there last time, and he said he was again so fascinated by the richness of its history and culture.

Try telling her you won't let her eat your bread any more  if she doestn't agree to go there. It'll work. :p

Good luck!......Really.

lumos

 

 

codruta's picture
codruta

You deserve all the compliments from above! The bread looks perfect!

MadMen, Spanokopita with homemade filo-dough, Pane Nero di Castelvetrano, brother in visit... what a lovely life you have! It's so nice to read your stories!

codruta

ananda's picture
ananda

What a nice thing to write, codruta, thank you

It certainly helps to keep us cheery given my very uncertain work situation at the moment.

All good wishes

Andy

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Andy,

The new oven looks like it provides an even strong bake. The bread looks wonderful. The idea of rolling out home made filo dough for spanokopita is over the top. Please, you have to post a lesson on this. I grew up near a large Greek family in Michigan who every now and then had a big family gathering where the grandma's made spanokopita that was out of this world delicious. I have made it with store bought filo dough but it doesn't satisfy the memory.

Eric

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Eric,

I'm known for being pretty "straight-up".

So, I'll post the filo details later, ok?

Very good to hear from you

Best wishes

Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,

What a gorgeous loaf! Such a lovely golden crust and well-developed creamy crumb. You must be very happy with your new oven.

Best wishes, Daisy

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Daisy,

I am sitting in the canteen at Leeds City College in my suit and tie with a new haircut.

Writing this is a good distraction; the interview looms!

It's always good to hear from you

Many thanks as always,

Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,

Hope you slayed them! You know you can contact me any time you want.

Wishing you all the very best, Daisy

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Andy,
What beautiful, crackled bread. This loaf of yours, what a promise of good things to come from your new oven!
Congratulations on your success with your 'finds' - at the antique store too!
Homemade filo dough?! I'd love to know how you make this, if you were willing to share.
With thanks from breadsong :^)

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi breadsong,

Thank you for your very kind words.

I'll try to post photo of my finds, and will post on filo later too

Very best wishes

Andy

ananda's picture
ananda

Filo Pastry and Spanokopita

Material

Formula [% of flour]

Recipe [grams]

For the pastry:

 

 

Strong White Flour

100

200

Cold Water

60

120

Salt

1

2

SUB-TOTAL

161

322

Melted Butter

50

100

TOTAL

211

422

For the filling:

 

 

Fresh Spinach

 

260

Chopped Onion

 

150

Chopped Garlic

 

20

Olive Oil

 

30

Crumbled Feta Cheese

 

200

TOTAL

 

660

Method:

  • Make the filling: fry the onion and garlic in hot olive oil gently.   Wash the spinach and allow to drain.   Add the spinach and wilt.   Pour off any excess liquor.   Season with black pepper and add the crumbled feta cheese.   Leave to cool.
  • Mix the flour and salt with the cold water to form a fairly tight dough.   Develop for a few minutes.
  • Cover the dough and rest in the chiller for at least 2 hours, preferably 4.
  • Remove from the fridge and divide into 6 equal-sized pieces of just over 50g and mould gently round.   Cover and rest for 15 minutes.
  • Gently melt the butter.
  • Roll each piece of filo dough out carefully.   It needs to be rolled into a rectangle 31cm x 23cm, so each sheet should end up gossamer thin.   I tend to stretch the dough very carefully by hand as well.   Use flour to prevent any sticking at all, but don’t overdo it.   This is to fit my pyrex dish, adjustment may be required.   The weight of dough for each sheet, and the surface area it has to be rolled out to should be taken into account here.
  • Line the dish with some melted butter using a pastry brush.   Carefully lay out the first sheet of filo on the base of the dish.   Brush this with melted butter, add another layer on top.   Brush with butter and add one more layer.
  • Add the spinach and feta cheese filling at this point, as an even layer spread over the filo sheets.
  • Add the other 3 filo layers on top of this with melted butter between each layer.   Brush the top layer with melted butter and leave to rest half an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.   Bake the pie for 45 minutes until the top layer is golden-brown and just turning crispy.

 

My "Finds"

 

<

Best wishes

Andy

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Andy, It's so kind of you to post your formula/method for filo. Must give this a try!
Love those antiques - lovely to look at, and useful too (the joy of browsing in an antique shop - you never know what you might come across).
Thanks again, so much!
:^) from breadsong

codruta's picture
codruta

Andy, can I ask you what are "finds"? I read your post twice, and maybe I'm in a low IQ moment, but I just can't figure what your "finds" are, and how do you use them...?

I made burek may times, so I'm used with this type of dough (but I guess burek is easier to make, because it doesn't necessary require rectangle sheets)... how do you move the stretched dough from the table to the pyrex dish?

thank you

codruta

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi codruta,

"finds" are just some useful bits of bakery equipment from days gone by, which I found in a local Antiques Shop.   I need to buy a set of weights to use with the scales, on the black plate.   Then you can wigh dough directly onto the white plate, or use a bowl on that side for larger amounts.   The scales will weigh upto around 7kg.   The "Scotch" is for cutting dough; a modern version is still just about the most important piece of basic kit in a baker's toolbox, alongside a plastic scraper.

It was the phrase that breadsong used, and I liked it, so used it again.

For the rolled out filo sheets, it is essential to keep just enough flour on the bench so the dough sheets can be picked up and carefully laid out in the dish.

Think of an Italian baker making pizza, but with very fine sheets of dough!   Do you use a "window pane" test?   That may be something to relate to?

Best wishes

Andy