BAKING – BIG and SMALL
Very sticky rye dough
This is me working on a small batch of rye dough for baking in my wood fired oven at home.
This is the small oven at my house. It looks as though the oven opening is closed with bricks but what you see is the back wall of the oven. The hearth dimensions are 32″ by 36″. In this type of oven, the fire is built inside and burns, in this case, for about 6 hours. The exhaust gasses exit the rectangular oven opening and go up a chimney between that opening and the front arch. After the burn, the coals are raked out and the oven closed up for an hour or so until the dome heat evens out with the hearth heat. This is the time the baker is dividing, shaping and proofing the dough.
Ciabatta coming out. The challenges in working with a wood fired oven are getting the start temperature right and taking advantage of the falling temperature. The traditional wisdom is to use a wet dough in the hottest oven then heavier and heavier doughs and longer times as the oven cools.
Some of the loaves made from a single firing of the small home oven.
Same oven, same baker, different shirt. In order to saturate the 8 inches of masonry that surrounds the oven with heat, it has to be fired for about 6 hours. By then the inside of that masonry shell is way too hot for bread so have a pizza party and after the oven has cooled a bit, bake the bread.