The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Spontaneous combustion

valentinelow's picture

Spontaneous combustion

The other day a friend offered me the use of her wood-fired oven to bake a loaf. I normally use a cloche inside my regular oven, which does not get that hot, and so was delighted to take up her offer.

She fired up the oven, and then at what seemed to her the appropriate moment, she swept the embers aside and let me slide my sourdough loaf in.

A minute or so later, we decided to check on how things were getting on. 

My loaf had burst into flames.

I know what went wrong: she was too enthusiastic about feeding her fire. Also, she later told me that she makes her own bread inside a Dutch oven within the wood-fired oven, which strikes me as a little odd, but what do I know?

My question is: how hot must her oven have been to burn a loaf like that? Any ideas, anyone?

dstroy's picture

wow! I am wondering was it possible that some of those embers she'd "swept aside" had still been floating around in there and landed on the loaf?

dabrownman's picture

It kills yeast and Labs every time.  How fast you kill them is up to you :-)  I think most folks can get their WFO to at least 750 F without much problem adn fairly quickly if not a big oven and others can get them over 1,000 F.  Best to take the oven temp and bake the bread when the WFO getsdown to  450 - 500 F.  Bake 25 pizzas at 750 F for 2 minutes.  Then bake a whole pig , goat and lamb with a huge pile of roast veg. Then comes the bread.   After the bread bake a few pies, cakes and cookies.  Otherwise the bread will flame like a high test gasoline.

Happy baking

Ruralidle's picture

I fired my wfo tonight to bake some pizzas and it was as near as dammit up to 1000 degrees fahrenheit when I moved the fire to the side of the oven.  Our pizzas were baked in under 2 minutes each.

polo's picture

When firing my oven to bake bread I try to soak the mass of the oven to between 550 and 600 degrees. Once saturated, the coals and ashes are removed and bread is loaded at 550 degrees (Fahrenheit of course).

I couldn't tell you how hot your oven was to incinerate your loaf, but if fire or coals are present you are clearly way too hot.

sgregory's picture

That is a story to tell for a few years.  I am still chuckling.  Definatley Hot!  I have had my WFO surfaces >>900F on several occasions, but never spontaneously ignited bread....