The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

One dough, two ovens -- gosh!

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

One dough, two ovens -- gosh!

Having decided to wander over to the Bread Banquet being held in another neighborhood, I decided I'd take advantage of the fact that there would be a wood-fired oven stoked up and available to anyone who wanted to bake.

Since this event wasn't going to start until 2pm Saturday, I mixed the dough mid-afternoon on Friday, gave it a couple of hours of BF with one fold per hour, then put it in the fridge until after dinner. Took the dough out of the fridge, let it warm up a bit, divided, preshaped, rested, shaped, rested and back into the fridge. By then it was about 2am.

This was making me a bit nervous, since Susan's original recipe calls for three hours of bulk and three hours of proof, and here I was, spinning the process out over 24 hours.

We took one beswaddled loaf to the event, which was full of workshops for learning about wheat and grains and bread making, mostly geared toward children. The WFO was there, with space for me, so we unwrapped the loaf, I spritzed, the baker scored (amazing speed and sure-handedness), and into the oven it went. "Come back in about an hour". OK.

An hour later, we learned that there had been "issues" with the oven, so our loaves had been removed to a local bakery. When I saw mine, my heart sank. And it made me very worried about the second loaf that was waiting at home in the fridge.

Preheated the oven,went through my usual spritz/seed/spritz/score/spritz routine and loaded the loaf, 20 minutes covered, 18 minutes uncovered.

I am really surprised at the difference in the two bakes. Both loaves weighed the same before baking, give or take three grams. I had assumed that the wood-fired oven would give a beautiful brown crust, hopefully with loads of blisters. The top looked like it had actually caved in (or someone stuck a thumb into it).

Later that night, curiosity got the better of me, so I cut open the pale loaf:

Crust was extremely thick and hard, bottom was charred and crumb felt wet. Not gummy, just damp. I now have a huge bag of croutons (which will, among other things, wind up in future breadcrumb loaves).

So, if the occasion should present itself ever again to use a WFO, what are the pitfalls to watch out for? Did the loaf need to be in a DO? Or was this the result of the loaf having been pulled out of one oven to be moved elsewhere?

Here's the crumb from the home-baked loaf:

 

yozzause's picture
yozzause

It looks like the issues may have been lack of stored heat in the WFO if it was going to take an hour to bake and still had to be finished off in another oven nearby. But good for you for being involved. the home bake looks pretty good! 

i got to see a great home wood fired oven and meet with its owner and builder when in France recently in Guizerix and hope to be baking in it on my next visit.

kind regards Derek

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

Yeah, I'm beginning to think that the WFO was not up to temperature when the loaves went in. Which meant that the dough was drying out on the surface more than baking. Ah, well.

I don't know Guizerix, but judging by the spelling, I'd wager it was in the Basque country (which I love)?

Happy baking,

Carole

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Mid Pyranees not far from Tarbes and Lourdes

Just some pics from the pizza evening in Guizerix and Jakes wonderful oven he built

kind regards Derek

 

 

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

Miles better hand the one used for the banquet bake. Kudos to your pal.

Lovely region, although I know the Toulouse-Albi side better. In fact, will be back there for Christmas.

Am still intending to try your beret bread 😊

Carole 

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Jake has built two ovens now, and just breathes bread. We flew into Toulouse and caught the train to Lannemezan where we were picked up, I had a great day baking with some students i will post an account of that today but here is a preview and guess what you might spot Un Petit Auvergnet

 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Too hot, too cold not heated long enough, not enough bread in it to steam properly and who knows what else.  Now you know why traditional artisan bread can only be balked in a WFO.  Mastering the WFO is just as important as mastering the bread to get a real artisan loaf out of it!  Everyone looks forward to baking it one but few actually have their bread come out right the first time or even 10 :-) The one baked at home was much better for sure.

Better luck next time

DesigningWoman's picture
DesigningWoman

I think, more than anything else, it's the romantic appeal of the concept! I'll know better next time 👩