The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Firebrick Bread Slideshow

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Firebrick Bread Slideshow

So, last week I had a photographer come over and take some pictures for my website. While we're waiting to get the website finished (it's about 75% done), I played with the pictures she took and uploaded the following clip to Youtube.

Enjoy,

Stephan

http://youtu.be/GtkrWZqe4QE

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Nice oven........I'm jealous.  You are a few hours away from me and I hope that on a Monday during market season that I can get over to see you.  I'll bring a loaf of bread with me,

Jeff

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Jeff,

that'd be fun! Market season starts May 7.

Stephan

PiPs's picture
PiPs

Nice photos ... You have a great setup there ... Oven looks like a beauty!

Cheers,
Phil

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Stephen,

I loved the video and the sound track!

Your WFO is beautiful and so are the loaves coming out of it.  I was surprised to see sandwich panned loaves loaded at the same time as our free form leaner loaves.  I would think they would burn up in that high heat....I learn something new everyday...

How much wood do you go through firing it up to temp?  Once at baking temp.  how much time do you have to complete your days baking?

Take Care,

Janet

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Hi, Janet.

 

I load the Whole Wheat Flaxseed loaves first, so they are in the back and can stay in 5-10 minutes longer if needed. The Whole Wheat Sourdough and Cranberry-Walnut Sourdough loaves go in the front of that. I bake at around 500 degrees. It will fall to 450-425 during the total bake, which usually includes two to three batches of bread. In the slideshow I did the first three breads first and then baked the French loaves afterwards (at around 450-425).

It takes me about 8 hours of firing to get the 8 inches of mass heated to 600 degrees.I fire it the day before, close the doors at 10pm and about 800 degrees inside. When I start my day at 5am, it's usually around 650 inside and drops about 10 degrees/hour - perfect for baking around noon or 1pm. I could pretty much do four or five batches if I timed it right.

Takes about twice the hearth area filled with wood to get it to temperature.

 

Take care,

Stephan

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Hi Stephan,

I find it very interesting that today I am baking a Cranberry-Pecan SD and tomorrow I will be baking a ww Flax Seed loaf.....Planned well before watching your video I might add....

Anyway, thanks for the burn info.  Amazing that it takes 8 hours of firing to heat all the stone up.  How much wood do you go through in a day? (I have somewhat of an idea of what you are talking about only because I burn firewood for heat in a cast iron insert, also loaded with ceramic bricks, but no way would it hold those kinds of temps. for such a long period of time....I wish :-)

 How often do you bake?  What do you do with all of the ash resulting from your burns?  Makes great compost :-)

I am surprised that the ww flax seed panned loaves don't burn at that high of a temp.  I usually bake panned loaves at only 365°.  If I go higher the crusts get burned....Must be the difference in the  heat.  Interesting...

Take Care

Janet

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Janet,

I bake once a week, on Mondays, for my "regulars". The past six weeks, I would also bake on Wednesdays for our church. They did a Soup Supper during Lent, and I volunteered my breads instead of the usual "frozen, thaw and bake at church" loaves. Needless to say, the bread was a huge hit (and nice advertising for me and the upcoming Market season...:)

To bake on Wednesdays, I just needed a smaller fire to get the temps back from about 350 (since Monday) to 550 on Wednesday. So, I don't go through wood too fast, even though my wood shack could probably be replenished sometime soon. I have a ton of cut wood behind the house that could be split anytime.

The ashes are still "under the oven". The guy who designed the plans for this particular unit built in an "ash chamber": the whole front half of the foundation is hollow (about 4 feet wide by 2 feet high and deep). I rake and sweep my ashes into that chamber. There's a cleanout door on the left side of the foundation that will allow me to empty it out once full enough. That might happen sometime in late fall or during the winter. I plan to put an ad on Craigslist to see if anybody can use the ashes for their garden.

 

Stephan

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Stephan,

Thanks for answering my questions.

I really like the idea of the ash chamber - just like in a free standing stove though they are called 'ash pans'.  Is that a common part of a WFO?  I imagine it helps out tremendously in maintaining your high temps for so long - especially if you get some good coals in with the ashes.

My wood piles are in need of refreshment too - I store 2 years worth so I know that it is really dry when I am ready to use it.  Around here I have to order it from local tree trimming companies.  I gave up splitting my own several years ago and trying to get the teenagers to do it is harder than splitting it myself unless I rent a gas powered splitter in which case my 15 year old is more than willing to help out :-)

Janet

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Janet,

the "ash chamber" is not really a traditional feature - most ovens have an opening under the hearth and the baker rakes the coals and ashes into a metal garbage can or similar receptacle. when I first saw the design, I was surprised, but then it made perfect sense - there is virtually no exposure of any kind once the coals and ashes are raked down the slot.

I don't think it helps in maintaining heat - the ashes are usually cold - occasionally there will be some embers still glowing. Even if there was heat below it, I don't think it would make it upwards through the insulation to get "back" into the hearth.  The oven is very well insulated, with 4 inches of foamglas under the hearth and a thick blanket and about 6 inches of vermiculite around the sides and top. That keeps the temps from falling too quickly. That and the fact that I do heat the oven until even the outermost parts have reached "baking temps" - that way, none of my baking heat is drawn to the outer layers.

 

Stephan

 

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

Regular market season starts this Weds and I'm still without a real oven! Your's is very nice and I'm sure makes your life so much easier!

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Gabe,

I do like the fact that I can easily bake 2 dozen loaves at a time. If I wouldn't have built the oven, there's no way I could sell at a Farmers Market.

I haven't used it much past pizza and bread baking - did a turkey last Thanksgiving and the occasional BBQ beef slow roast, but not much else. I need to find more things I can cook in it after the temps have come down a bit.

Stephan

Hubitom's picture
Hubitom

Stephan,

 

habe diesen Song schon seit laengeren nicht mehr gehoert!!! :)

Anyway, still trying to find the right timing for my oven. Did some breads and rolls, but use it primarily for pizza as of right now.

Question: Are you using water inside in order to keep the humidity high, or are you just keeping the hydration levels higher? I usually keep the dough as moist as I can handle it.

 

Thomas

MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

What better way to "line" a baking video than with "Bakerman" by "Laid Back", right? They did well in Germany, but I don't think too many people around here remember "Sunshine Reggae"...

 

I, too, keep my doughs well-hydrated (though not super-wet), but most importantly, I use a sprayer with a brass wand to spray water on the front floor bricks right after loading. The water turns into steam instantly, which really helps with the oven spring.

Stephan

Hubitom's picture
Hubitom

I'll try that next time I'll bake (Sunday). And yes, who could forget Sunshine Reggae!