Build Your Own Barrel Oven is the name of a book I just heard about, and it certainly sounds interesting. If speed is your thing, and you don't want to wait a few hours for your earth oven to heat up for bread baking, then consider a barrel oven. The author's claim that only after a 15-20 minute firing, the oven is ready for bread baking, and that I find quite impressive. Probably I'll download a pdf so I can read the book. I'd sure like to hear from you if you've had experience with this type of oven.
Open the link to read samples from the book.
Amanda's oven is protected from the howling winds and snow. Really, in a northern climate without an adequate roof, you very well might kiss your oven goodby. Take the time and build a roof to protect the oven.
Just when I think that I have a solid understanding of sourdough, something happens, and I have to start all over again. I normally use about 1/4 cup of starter in each bread, but yesterday, for no apparent reason I thought I'd push the limit. I used 1 cup of starter in a single loaf of bread. I thought something bad might happen, but no, something good happened. I baked one of my best sourdough loaves ever. The loaf had a thin, crisp crust, was tender inside, had lots of mouse holes and a mild taste. Just the way I like it. If you're wondering why I didn't bake in my wood-fired oven, I can only say that it's been too damn cold outside, and I wasn't ready to stray from the kitchen. To make an outstanding loaf of bread, lots of elements have to come together such as: quality of the flour quality of the starter correct amount of water room temperature correct duration of the proof and there's more In a domestic oven, ALWAYS bake undercover in a Dutch oven.
Just returned from Guatemala where Masons On A Mission (Not to be confused with The Masons or with missionaries) built 40 energy efficient stoves with the Mayas.
We divide into small groups of three where each group builds a stove a day. The wood-fired stoves are used for making tortillas, beans, stews, etc. Being vented to the outdoors, the Mayas will no longer be breathing smoke from their traditional three stone fires.
The paleo diet certainly has an appeal for a small group of people, but there doesn't seem to be a place for bread. Paleo folks didn't eat bread (they never knew what they were missing) because there wasn't any. Michael Pollan, who probably knows more about food than any of us, tells us why it's okay to eat bread, but of course, you already know why.
Michael Pollan has written extensively about food and the environment, and I highly recommend all his books.
Next week I'll be going back to Guatemala with the group Masons On A Mission. In Guatemala we construct energy efficient, wood-fired cook stoves with and for the Mayas. I'm only gone for ten days, but I've been going for about nine years, and it is something I always look forward to.
We work in small groups, and each group is able to easily build one stove a day. Our payback is knowing that more families will be breathing cleaner air in their homes by using stoves that vent to the outside and by burning less firewood.
We work in the spectacular Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala, and I believe that it's a real privilege to be able to work and spend time in such a beautiful country.
Bread Earth And Fire: Earth Ovens And Artisan Breads
For the past couple of years I've been revising my book, Bread Earth And Fire. I've added the subtitle Earth Ovens And Artisan Breads because I feel this more fully explains what the book is about. Along with the photos, you'll now find drawings that better illustrate the oven building process, new ovens to build as well a history of bread from the "beginning of time."
Bread Earth And Fire: Earth Ovens And Artisan Breads is available as an ebook or print copy from Lulu.
I write about bread and wood-fired bread ovens. Sourdough bread baking is my specialty. While the dough is rising I have time to make art, lots of art. Each winter I travel to Guatemala to build energy efficient stoves for the Mayas.