Friday, December 19, 2014


Check out this video posted by Richard Moscovich. First I thought I was watching three-card monte until the final stage.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Oven Completed

The final step in finishing off this oven was a roof, and here it is. Nothing more than a simple piece of metal roofing draped over the dome. In previous posts, you can see various phases of this oven under construction.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Lefse is a Norwegian flatbread made with potatoes and flour. Check out the video

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Gluten. Another thing to make you lose your mind? No it isn't. Michael Specter's article, Against The Grain in The New Yorker, November 3, 2014 issue is the most intelligent thing I've read about gluten. If you're a bread baker, check it out.
illustration Paul Rogers
Nearly twenty million Americans now say that they regularly experience stomach problems after eating products that contain gluten.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Bakery Work

Check out this wonderful video, but turn down the music.
Bakery Work

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Runny/messy dough

Okay, you've done everything right, but the next day you look in a horrified manner at the dough that has been working overnight. It is an unsightly, runny mess.
You've done everything right, but we can usually narrow the problem down to two possibilities.
If you've been making no-knead yeasted bread, there is a very good chance that your proofing temperature was too high. Higher than 70º F. is too high. A long cool proof is best, and that is between 60 and 70ºF.
If you've been making sourdough bread and you experience this problem, there are a couple of possibilities. Temperature control is important just as it is in the yeasted bread. Go with the long cool proof. The other factor is the duration of the proof. If sourdough proofs too long, then the proofing dough tends to become sourdough starter! It is sharp smelling, sharp tasting, and it has no glutenous structure, simply falling apart when worked. The remedy is to cut back on the duration of the proof.

Runny dough (bad stuff/not good)

Nicely textured dough

Monday, September 29, 2014

oven no longer in progress

This should say everything

See previous posts that show how the oven builders got to this stage.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Oven Within Oven

Small brick oven by the pond

Just yesterday everything changed for me. I finally learned how to bake bread in my small brick oven. The problem I was having in the past was the result of not enough mass and not enough insulation, and the breads were terrible. I simply could not get the oven to retain enough heat for bread baking. Yes, I could make pizzas and flatbreads because I could maintain a fire in the back or on the sides, but without the constant flames, the oven would soon lose its heat. 
I decided to try something different. Instead of firing the oven to a desired temperature, sweeping out the hot coals, peeling the loaf or loaves in, closing the door and finally, keeping my fingers crossed, I thought I'd work with my Dutch oven. 

Dutch oven preheating

First the Dutch oven was preheated in the flames. Then The bread dough went into the Dutch oven, and I slid it over to the edge of the fire. I baked the bread for 45 minutes with the cover on and then 10 minutes with the cover off.
After the first 15 minutes I lifted the cover off to check the bread. There was good oven spring, the crust was starting to develop, and I knew I would be okay. 
After the allotted time, the bread was beautifully baked.

 Bread beautifully baked

The oven temperature? That's hard to say, but I tried to keep it around 500º F around the Dutch Oven. Here you'll have to  experiment.Using this technique to make just one or two breads at a time is perfect, even if your oven is not, and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

No Roof Here

I've always said that you need a roof over your outdoor oven, but I'm trying to prove myself wrong. Building a roof over your oven is no simple chore, and that's why so many ovens are left roofless and are damaged by rain and snow.

oven by pond

A couple of weeks ago I added more insulation to my brick oven, and I changed my ratio of perlite to Portland cement. Normally I use 6 parts perlite to one part dry Portland, and the perlite holds together because of the Portland,but it's not terribly robust. Over this layer I used 6 parts perlite to 2.5 parts dry Portland. This cuts way back on the insulation value because all that Portland provides highly accessible thermal boulevards for the oven heat to escape through the dome, but here, I was interested in creating a rugged exterior that wouldn't require a stucco or a roof. Time will tell, and I'll let you know how things hold up.

                          new rugged exterior (I hope)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Oven In Progress part# 7

Mud is getting mixed up

Oven fired

It looks like a layer of insulation has been applied, and next it should be stuccoed. After that, a roof would be ideal.