The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Outdoor Brick Oven - Baking Weather

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bwraith's picture
December 16, 2007 - 9:05am -- bwraith

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tattooedtonka's picture
Submitted by tattooedtonka on

Your Brick Oven looks great.  I had seen some of your earlier posts with the Roasted Pig which looked great.  Is it hard to maintain temp in that oven during these snowy months? Or is it pretty stable regardless of ambient temp.?

Just curious, either way, its very impressive looking.

TT

bwraith's picture
Submitted by bwraith on

TT,

It's pretty much the same now as it was earlier when it was very warm outside. I guess it drops in temperature a little faster, but the difference between 80s and 20s doesn't seem to matter when the oven is somewhere between 650F and 300F while using it, depending on what I'm doing.

I haven't done any pizza outside in the winter. I guess I could make them inside and take them out one at a time, but it doesn't seem the same. Pizza was fun when we could sit outside and shape them, put on toppings, and bake them one after another right there next to the oven.

On the other hand, bread baking, roasting, and braising require only short trips to load or tend things in the oven. Winter temperatures don't seem to make much difference so far. I just have to be a little more careful not to slip on some ice. The warmth near the door of the oven offsets the outside temperature to a large extent.

I do try to avoid running the oven when its pouring out. I don't think hail would be too much fun, either.

Bill

 

Mini Oven's picture
Submitted by Mini Oven on

picturing you shoveling a path to your oven when most are happy when the driveway and walk are done.  Tell us, do you shovel it first?  ...or last savoring baking thoughts as you put away the shovel? 

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...."   

Mini O

bwraith's picture
Submitted by bwraith on

Mini Oven,

Very perceptive. In fact, I did walk outside and ponder whether to shovel a path to the oven, an additional effort not required in the past. The deliberation didn't last long, as I had such success with bread and dinner just recently when it was snowing lightly and ice was covering the walks. The path to the oven was shovelled first, once I decided.

Yesterday we warmed up to about 40F outdoors, which allowed me to clear much of the ice off the roof. I expect to do one more bread and dinner for a small gathering here before we all begin Christmas expeditions.

Then, I'm away with the family to visit my parents in Montana, an idyllic setting in the mountains, skiing nearby. White Christmas in a cozy cabin if we manage to traverse the air transportation nightmare.

Bill

 

MoJen's picture
Submitted by MoJen on

Hi, Bill-

 My husband recently completed our brick oven, to date, we have only cooked pizza.  What recipe do you use for bread?

I would be happy to share photos if you are interested.

 

Thanks-

Jen 

bwraith's picture
Submitted by bwraith on

Jen,

I almost always bake sourdough breads. If you check out my blog, there are lots of recipes. The more recent ones have been baked in the brick oven. If you are more interested in yeast breads, this site has a zillion recipes that would be great. The only tip I would have is that temperature management is important with the brick oven. You want to make sure the temperature is right for the type of bread. Breads with extra oil and or sweeteners, as well as whole grain breads, need lower temperatures. Hearth breads can be higher. The temperatures that are ideal are lower than for pizza. For example, I crank the oven as high as it will go for pizza, which means getting up to about 650 or 700F. For focaccias, I might get the hearth to about 550F. White hearth breads could be around 520F, while the high extraction loaves seem to work starting with a hearth temp around 500F. I usually let the temperature get all the way down to about 425F, even for lean whole wheat breads.

I would love to see a photo of your oven. It's always interesting to compare notes.

Bill