The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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pmiker's picture
pmiker

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andychrist's picture
andychrist

that you have room to instal would be a great boon, if you only have a conventional floor model right now. It is great to be able to see your goods baking on eye level and not have to crouch down.

pmiker's picture
pmiker

My home is a manufactured home.  While the kitchen is open I have a conventional oven against the outer wall.  It would probably require a major redo of the kitchen to put in a wall oven.  BTW, do wall ovens have a greater capacity than conventional  ovens?

Time to google!

proth5's picture
proth5

you have 5-6 thousand US dollars to play with, love your mixer, and are searching, put "Pleasant Hill Grain" into your favorite search engine and look at "Electric Stone Ovens."

Enjoy!

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I bet the electric company would love that.  Up to an hour and 15 minutes to pre-heat?  I'd have to pay an electrician to set up the 220v circuit for it.  Probably a dedicated circuit.

Nice to think about.

pmiker's picture
pmiker

Probably a stupid question.  How does a small Haussler like the Alpha compare to the Ankarsrum. 

proth5's picture
proth5

 If all you mix is bread and bread like items (like brioche) the Ankarsum does a nice job - the Haussler does a spectacular job (I have the two speed). Because I am spoiled by the Haussler, I see no need to mix bread in the Ankarsum, but I did it just because some other people asked.

If you are baking cakes, cookies, etc. the Ankarsum has much more versatility (yes, I also have an Ankarsum - I do a lot of other things than bread and it's my favorite for those.)

Because I cannot sell product baked in my home, I made the decision long ago not to equip myself with anything but a home oven, but if I were prioritizing where to put my money - a mixer, or a larger capacity deck oven, it would be the oven.  There's a lot of breads that mix nicely by hand or stretch and fold even in larger quantities - although a good mixer can speed things along. There is no real substitute for a good oven - we try with our home ovens, but for those of use who have used the big steam injected ones - it's never really the same.

With a deck oven you need to make sure that the stone deck is thoroughly heated, thus the long pre heat time, this pays off in faster heat recovery if you are baking a number of batches.

Hope this helps.

Melesine's picture
Melesine

I do cakes and cookies in my Ankarsrum all the time with the roller and scraper. It works incredibly well. The only thing I've really found I need to use the white plastic bowl and the whips is for beating eggs whites and some frostings. 

pmiker's picture
pmiker

for the reply.  I've always wanted the Ankarsrum but I have a perfectly functional Bosch Universal.  In terms of capacity I believe they are comparable.  I've mixed six whole wheat doughs, about 9-10 lbs, in the Bosch without a problem.

Texas may allow sales from the home of homemade bread.  I'd have to double check that.  But I do not live in a community conducive to that.  The neighborhood has a poorly maintained dirt/rock road and most of the neighbors put up security cameras, keep out signs and gun signs up and generally don't want to know their neighbors.  The neighborhood has gone down over the thirty something years I've been here.  So probably no regular selling of bread.

So, I bake for friends and family.  Family being just two of us except on special occasions.  With juggling I can bake at least eight pan loaves in my conventional oven without steam.  Steaming reduces the space and I usually have a stone in use during those bakes. 

Those ovens do look nice.  But I may just do small upgrades.  A flaker attachment for the Bosch so I can make spelt, rye and wheat flakes. (I'm allergic to oats so no oat flakes.)  A sifter for my home milled flour for occasional use with the Bosch.  A larger auger for the mill so I can mill some bean flour.  I've seen some recipes calling for garbanzo flour I'd like to try.  I'll probably mail order some flour to try it before I get the auger. (I'm also allergic to corn so I won't be making corn meal.)  Things like that, little upgrades.  Perhaps a freezer if I can find a spot for it as well as a reason for it.

But those ovens do look nice and so does the Haussler mixer.

Thanks,

Mike

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Save your money on a flaker.  Oats, being a soft grain, are about the only grains that flake without cracking unless you are willing to soak you grains prior to flaking and then allowing them to dry a bit…

Sifters are a hassle too.  I bought one and returned it after it sent flour flying across my kitchen.  Operator error when placing the container onto the base but it is easy to do.  At least with the electric one I purchased.  Several people here sift by hand and use sieves of varying mesh sizes to achieve the texture they want.  Time consuming.  Why grind your own and then toss out the nutritious part of the grain??

I have owned all the mixers mentioned.  Bosch, DLX and the Haussler 2 speed.  Haussler beats the other 2 hands down.  DLX beats the Bosch hands down too in its ability to handle small as well as large batches of dough.

I have to agree with Pat. If I had the $$$ and space my $$$ would go to a deck oven.  I prefer to stay married so I stick with my home wall oven a counter top convection oven - a Cadco for baking my breads.  I still check out those ovens on PHG from time to time though…

Have Fun with your search.

Janet

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I was curious as to how flaked non-oat grains would come out.  The flaker is a Family Mill product that seems to be available for many of the mixers.  I have purchased rye flakes over the internet and thought that this device would let me make them at home.

I prefer to use whole grains but there are just SO many nice recipes out their calling for lighter flour.  I have found that my finely ground whole wheat does not seem to put out bricks.  I usually mix red and white flours.  The L'equip sifter for the Bosch seems to snap onto the bowl in the same manner as the regular lid.  Of course, I'd have a lot of bran left over for bran muffins!

Due to feedback, I am looking at the Cadco ovens.  How many loaves at a time can you bake in one?  I saw quarter sheet and half sheet models.

Mike

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I have bought other grains flaked too but when I attempted to flake them myself they all cracked and looked like they were coarsely ground rather than flakes.  Only the oats produced a flake.  You may get different results with a different flaker though so you might want to talk to the sales person to see what they have to say.

I have only baked with whole grains that I have  milled myself.  Since baking my way through Peter Reinhart's book Whole Grain Breads I get wonderful loaves of breads.  I have never used store bought flour so when I see a recipe I want to try using bread flour or all purpose flour I simply use my whole grains and increase the hydration level to compensate for the thirstiness of my grains.  His book is great and his method is really easy to use.  You might want to check out a copy from your local library to see what you think and how his method works in your kitchen.

I have the Cadco XAF113 which has 3 shelves and accommodates 3 trays - cookie sheet size.  I think they refer to mine as the half sheet size.  It can be run on regular house circuits and is my summer oven.  I put it in my garage and bake my loaves there rather than in the kitchen which makes my house temps. way too high for my comfort :O.  In the Fall I move it indoors and use it when I need the extra oven space.  

It will hold about 4 500g − 600g boules and a tray of rolls.  I have only loaded all three shelves with rolls once and did not like the results - air flow was not even at all.  Now I place my baking stone on the bottom shelf and bake the loaves on it while rolls are baked on the top shelf at the same time.  If I am not baking rolls the shelf and stone sit in the middle position.

 It is a very nice little oven and when only using one or two shelves it bakes very evenly - more evenly than my Electrolux wall oven.  The fan is very powerful so it is like a wind tunnel.  When using parchment paper the edges will flap in the turbulence created by the fan.  They do sell deflector plates at a nominal cost to minimize the blowing but I only use that when baking cookies.

Another member here, Varda, owns a larger Cadco and I know she bought steel plates to bake on rather than using a stone which makes for more head room for larger loaves.  

Take Care,

Janet

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Janet, do you use your Cadco XAF113 to inject moisture?  If so,  how do you like the results compared to other home methods?

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Yes, I do.  (See more detail in my response below.)

Results are the same as I get using hot water in a cast iron pan filled with lava rocks which I use in my wall oven.

Janet

 

pmiker's picture
pmiker

for the reply.  I do have the PR book Whole Grain Breads and have made a bread or two from it's formulas.  I had planned on making a boule on Tuesday using my stone and steam and I was going to use the JH Honey-Spelt recipe again from Bread.  I know the PR book has many transitional recipes that call for bread flour.  I'll see what catches my eye.  I should have time to make soakers,  bigas or whatever by then.  I tend to get Sunday and Tuesday off as well as Saturday afternoon.  It sometimes makes it hard to plan bread making.

I tend to mix red and white wheat when I want something lighter than 100% red whole wheat.  I tried store bought white wheat and was unhappy with it but the stuff I mill seems to work well.  I could do that with PR's 100% whole wheat bread recipe from the above mentioned book.  I've made the bread before but I used loaf pans.  I prefer loaf pans because most of my bread is used in sandwiches.  It's easier to slice a loaf or baguette into sandwiches.  Boules...not so easy.

The Cadco looks very nice.  It says a water pump is included.  I see there is a water tank you can add to the oven.  What type of water do you use?  It calls for 'de-calcified' water.  Do you have to adjust cooking time or temperature to account for the convection action?  If it has steam and can handle a stone then that would keep me from possibly damaging myself or my standard oven when I try to steam in it.  Every once in awhile I do just manage to touch the hot stove when doing steam.  It gets your attention. 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

 

This is the 'water tank'.  A small plastic pail I purchased and fill with filtered water.  It is external and a tube attaches to the back to the oven.  Water is drawn into the oven and blown about by the fan.  Not very sophisticate but it works.  (Oven sits on the shelf above the pail.)

Due to the fan I load my loaves.  Steam. Turn off the oven for 10 minutes so the steam can do its thing without being blown out of the oven.  I turn the oven back on and continue my bake.

I pre-heat to about 450° (enriched loaves)- 500°(lean loaves) and when steaming is done I lower the temps.  For lean loaves I lower it to 425°.  For enriched 375°.  I bake for 10 more minutes and then adjust heat as necessary based on crust color.

Steam can always burn you.  WHen adding hot water or when opening the door to your oven that has hot steam in it.  I use caution, pot holders and distance *)  I purchased a great watering can from Lee Valley that gives me plenty of distance when using boiling water in my wall oven.

Hope this helps.

Janet

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I saw your water tank in another posting you had while I was searching around.  I notice that the company that makes the oven makes a rectangular water tank.  I can find no installation instructions for it so I do not know if is external like yours or mounts on or in the oven.  How do you filter your water?

I could possibly get a rack like that from Walmart and install it into what used to be my daughters bedroom.  It's now my hobby room and I already have a few pails of wheat there.  That would contain the heat better since I can shut the door to the room and not heat the rest of the house in summer.  In winter it can go to the kitchen.  The family room, kitchen, dining room and living room are all open to each other so in winter I could probably heat the house!

Does an oven like this bake like the pro's or does it require the electric stone ones like the Haussler?

Mike

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Can't answer the question you have about instillation of their tank.  Must be a different model.  I suggest you call the company and ask since they have many models.  I have talked to them several times and they always welcome questions.

A WallMart rack probably isn't strong enough to hold a Cadco.  Mine came from a local restaurant supply store.  It is much sturdier and has castors so I can easily move it around from room to room.  It is in my daughter's room now too but when she comes home for breaks it goes into the living room.  Summer it goes to the garage.  It does indeed heat the space it is in but it is well insulated so don't expect a whole lot of heat in larger areas.

I highly suspect that it does not bake like a pro's.  I say that with no experience baking in a professional oven so you will have to get that question answered by someone with that kind of experience.  It suits my needs as a home baker and I have been more than happy with it for these past 2 years.

Janet 

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I have a similar looking rack that I bought at Walmart and each shelf hold a 3 pails of wheat and I have two shelves supporting the pails.  They are 6 gallon pails.  I figure each pail weighs 40 lbs or more so the rack is supporting over 200 lbs.  It's rated pretty high.  Mine is a taller one that came with four shelves but I just use three.  The pails are kind of tall.  

Once it gets closer to time to buy, I'll call.

Melesine's picture
Melesine

I'd build a wood fired oven. 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Mike, I agree with proth5. I have a number of mixers, and while I love the Assistent, I can't say that the bread mixed with it tastes much better.  If you can find a way to get a steam injection oven, I would try to swing that.  You would probably need plumbing and a dedicated 240 volt outlet, but from what I have read, steam injection will up your game.  We try with dutch ovens, wet towels, ice, etc,  but watch a video of a steam injection oven, and it looks like a different process.  Another option is to get a countertop oven with steam injection.   I don't know anything about this one, but it is one I found in a google search.  http://www.katom.com/175-40702.html .  If you go with a commercial oven, you would want to follow all installation instructions, most importantly,  making sure you have the appropriate clearances to combustible surfaces - which may mean installing stainless steel sheets as a back splash.   Also, I would want something that injected steam, not water, since if you inject water, it takes a lot of energy to convert that to steam.

BobBoule's picture
BobBoule

that could reach much higher temperatures than typical home ovens would be at the top of my list because you already have a decent mixer and are unlikely to make better bread with a better mixer but with an awesome oven you could mae better bread and pizza. Oh yeah, seriously good pizza.

BobSponge's picture
BobSponge

I'd like to cast another vote for wood fired oven.  Put one in about 8 months ago and use it almost every weekend.  We got it mostly for pizza, but now use it more for other things.  I have gone from making two loaves to sometimes 12 to 16+.  With proper firing and planning we can bake bread all morning!  One of my favorite things is pulling out a dozen loaves of freshly baked bread, its such a cool feeling.  

 Secondary benefit of a wood fire oven is retained heat cooking.  We fire it Saturday for Pizza then can cook in it for the next 4 days!.  After 20 or so pizzas on Saturday night (we are now the go to place for my sons friends for pizza ) Sunday morning breads, followed by roast chicken, late afternoon cakes and cookies. Monday/Tuesday slow roasting of meats.  Wednesday we make yogurt. 

For us its been so much more than just an oven…. 

 

pmiker's picture
pmiker

It is said that steam is required for the great crust and such in artisan bread.  I don't know if this is true in wood fired ovens.  I also doubt my ability to construct one.  I do have the book on building an earth oven but it is beyond my capability.  If I used local dirt/clay wouldn't I leave a pit in the background? 

Doesn't it require a lot of planning to use one since it takes so long to get it ready plus it is weather dependent?

Mike

nickr's picture
nickr

is generated from the bread itself much like cooking in a dutch oven. It is best to have a low dome (ceiling height). You have to load the oven full of dough and prevent any ventilation (i.e. close the door and/or the flue on the chimney)

This is on my list to buy as well. I have been researching them and day dreaming about them for a year now.

pmiker's picture
pmiker

Just how much would a basic cobb or brick wood fired oven cost?  I assume I would need a patio and a cover as well.  It sounds way out of my league.

I've been googling them and have heard first hand from someone who has had a pizza from such an oven.  It sounds good.  I'd have to do more planning so that I had the dough ready for bake day since it stays hot so long.

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

pmiker, IMHO,  a brick oven is great for pizza, but a lot of work for bread, as you point out, you expend a lot of energy ( from burning wood ) to get the oven heated.   If you want something to make great pizza,  try a Blackstone.  It should fit in your budget pretty easily, and it makes great pizza,  I used mine once to make bread, it came out okay, but nothing great.  If you want a wood fired oven for baking bread, I would not use a W F O, but would get a kamado knockoff - it is much more fuel efficient - you can find subforums on different models here  http://www.kamadoguru.com/  Here are some photos of bread baked in a Big Steel Keg, also know as a Bubba Keg, or Broil King Keg. http://forum.bigsteelkeg.com/index.php?topic=5168.0

 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

if you have 20 ares of wood to chop to feed it, or a very large bank account to buy the wood, if  you aren't' selling your wares to pay the cost of firing it up fo large batches.

I think Janet and Varda had it right with their counter top high capacity  Cadco ovens that are steam injected.   Not expensive and way less than you budget including the electrical and plumbing.  Still as a home baker making a couple of loaves a week, it is way past being overkill but if you bake a lot like Jane or for profit like Varda, that Cadco would be on m ylist and you would still have $4,000L:left over from the 6 spot. 

I day Cadco Oven or the much more epensive in the Derek has in Australia - around 6 rand If I remember right but you would need to be a commercial baker for that one.,

BobSponge's picture
BobSponge

There are a couple ways you can steam in a WFO, you can either put an old sheet pan loaded with damp rags into the oven, or give it a long spray with a basic garden sprayer. If your oven is hot, and you want a lot of steam, you can do both. 

Cost is all over the map, a lot depends on how much work you want to do and how you finish them aesthetically. 

pmiker's picture
pmiker

I've looked at the Pleasant Hill Grain site at the Haussler electric stone ovens.  You also mentioned deck ovens.  I've looked at the sites featuring Cadco and other ovens.  Some have steam injection and some do not.  Some are lined with stone and some are not. Do these ovens have to be built in or can they be countertop?  Pardon my ignorance, this is the first I've contemplated a special oven.

I also have problems figuring how many loaves these can bake at once.  Some use half sheets and some give weight such as 11 lbs of dough.  I could make about 8 loafs in 11 lbs or several individual boules, baguettes, etc.  But will they fit into the allotted space.

I'll keep googling.

I scrolled down the PHG page.  The Rofco ovens cost a lot less than the Hausslers.  Know anything about them?

 

proth5's picture
proth5

Sorry to have neglected you.

I own neither a Haussler or a Rofco oven, so not having first hand knowledge, I'll answer your questions as best I can.

Both Haussler and Rofco ovens are "deck" ovens. That is, you bake on a solid stone usually without pans. (Although you can put pans on the stone.) The advantage to this is that you get a very steady and intense heat at the bottom of loaves bringing somewhat better oven spring and a crisper type crust. With both the Haussler and the Rofco, you will need to use a peel to load the ovens. Bigger deck ovens (like the MiWe Condo, which is out of your price range) can be fitted with loaders which make loading many loaves, or cantankerous things like baguettes much easier.

I believe the Hausslers come with steam injection. The Rofco does not. It can be fitted with steam trays (Which are basically stainless steel trays with slots on top, filled with rebar. Once heated you can pour water into them. Put you do have to go to the trouble to pour in the water.) I am an avid gardener and enjoy beautiful tools. I use a long spouted Haws watering can to pour water into my steam trays.

Deck ovens are best for free standing rather than panned breads. They are not used for Vienoiserie (croissants, brioche, etc). If you are mostly baking panned breads you will not see much advantage in getting a deck oven.

Although many people are enamored with wood fired ovens, most breads (not pizza) are baked in a wood fired oven after the burning wood has been removed and the oven cleaned. It is the heat retention of the brick or other material that creates the appeal. A good deck oven will perform very much like a wood fired oven for bread, without having to learn fire management. That is the appeal of the deck oven. Again, pizza is another story.

Either one is a big purchase.  You should pay close attention to oven dimensions. You should CALL and ask your questions to personnel at PHG. I believe that both brands of oven are free standing.

"Sheet" and "Half Sheet" are standard pan sizes, so if your oven can only fit a half sheet - you pretty much know the size. Capacity are also roughly expressed in pounds of dough because as dough is loaded it will cause temperature to drop. If you load too much dough into a space, it will take too much heat from the oven and you will get inferior performance. Your experience may vary, but that is what the manufacturer thinks is a maximum.  But you always want to look at the dimensions of the baking space - including height. You also want to look at the doors and how they open - as heat can be lost that way, also. For example, the Haussler has individual compartments for each baking surface. On the Rofco, a single door accesses all of the decks, so each level that you load requires that all levels will be exposed to ambient air.

Every oven has its own "personality." I have heard a well qualified baker stand at the side of his new, high tech deck oven pining for his old oven - "That oven had soul..." I have baked in a high priced Pavaillier and it still had hot spots. If you decide on an oven, you will need to take time to learn how to use it.

Convection ovens, like the Cadco, are more versatile and can be used for all types of baked goods. These ovens are fitted with racks. Many bakers retrofit them with stones or steel or bake on pans. If I could sell my baked goods from my home and I had the space, I would seriously consider a Vulcan convection oven. I tend to think in terms of an oven holding at least a full sheet pan, and I have experience working with Vulcans. They have adjustable speed for the fan and vents, so if you do steam them (and you must do so manually), you can vent them. Janet and Varda are the Cadco pros. Vulcans are free standing (and will bid you to "live long and prosper"). I would contemplate this type of oven because I want to do pastry, Vienoisserie, etc. It would be a compromise for bread.

Before deciding on an oven, you should understand how you will use it. It could be that the one that is currently in your kitchen will be the only one you need. But a convection oven, no matter how you retrofit it, will not be a deck oven, and a deck oven will never be a convection oven. Don't let anyone convince you that you can just save a buck by buying the less expensive oven and be happy with it if it wasn't the right oven for your needs.

It's just that you're one of the very few people whose budget would allow you to contemplate those tempting ovens sold by PHG.

I wish you luck in your quest.

 

pmiker's picture
pmiker

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proth5's picture
proth5

I am an "uncomplicated" person who takes people at their word. Let me suggest that with budgeting as with oven buying, you understand your needs and goals and act accordingly.

Although my home oven frustrates me with its small capacity, I have worked with commercial ovens and am spoiled rotten. There are very good home ovens and you can do a lot with them if you are organized and efficient.

Best of luck as you move forward in baking.