Earth Oven - Early fall baking
Still working on the nuances of oven temperature. It’s really a comedy of timing between two ancient processes—bread making and fire building. It seem like if I get it over 600 degrees at the start, it takes a good 45 minutes to reach a more comfortable 550 for bread baking, but then it holds the temps nicely for hours. Handy if you have multiple batches, less handy if you were hoping to cook your dinner at 350 degrees anytime soon. I do crack the door to bring the temp down a bit quicker.
Common occurrences when firing your mud oven:
- If you think the fire is not hot enough, it will be MUCH hotter than you think.
- If your oven is ready, and your bread is not, it will only get HOTTER if you wait to pull the coals out, and you will spend even more waiting for it to cool down. Fortunately, this will give your bread plenty of time to catch up!
- By the time your oven cools to 350 degrees, you will be too tired and/or stuffed with bread and other roasted goodies to bake that last batch of cookies that you had planned.
Improvised proof box: Sunshine + moisture to keep it from getting a skin. Worked fine in a pinch...
Like opening a package, it’s always a thrill to open the door and discover loaves like these:
I guess there’s always this thought in the back of my mind that the loaves will be charred black, or pale little lumps with no oven spring. Even though it’s not that much different in the end than using my indoor oven, there’s something magical about baking in my little mud hut. It also smells better. Also? The low-angled sunlight of fall doesn’t hurt the aesthetics.
I just did a bit of bread this time--a batch of Columbia and some Multigrain loaves. After the bread came out (well actually, while the last multigrains were still in—I was hungry) I made a pot roast and some baked potatoes. Also roasted a butternut squash to make soup out of the next day.