Last weekend we built a roof over our oven to keep the Lochaber rain off, and this week we’ve been slowly firing the oven each evening to get it dried out. On Friday (yesterday) we were ready for bake number 1.
Thursday night Abs made up pre-ferments and built up the sourdough in preparation for making the bread doughs on Friday day.
Abs made 12 loaves – 4 wheat sourdough, 4 country whites & 4 wholemeal tinnies.
The oven was fired for approx. 2-2.5hrs, raked out & then scuffled. We baked the loaves in 2 batches (6 loaves to a batch).
You learn through doing. Last night we did. This is what we learnt:-
- There is a knack to building, lighting and moving the fire around within the oven; followed by getting the embers out quickly & cleanly. We are lacking the right tools to do this – we need 1) an oven brush & 2) an oven rake, and need to make a modification to the oven door so embers rake out smoothly.
- The first batch went in with a door air temp of 225degC – but it was way hotter inside! The first batch crusted up and scorched badly. Too hot and too little moisture. The oven was not fully loaded with 6 loaves = not enough moisture in the bread alone. We rescued them after 30min, and gave another scuffle and a bit of time for the oven to equalise.
- The second batch went in with a door air temp of about 150degC – and faired much better. We added a tin of water to mimic a full oven. 30min revealed nice tan coloured loaves with good oven spring. We gave them another 10min to get a nice caramel crust & a hollow knock.
- The crust on both batch one (the scorchers) and batch two was good and well developed.
- The peel is too big! Its really designed for pizzas. If we want to fully load our oven with 800g loaves, we are going to need to make / buy a smaller slimmer wooden one that can get in the nooks of crannies of our oven. A head torch is useful when loading because it’s quite dark inside the oven!
- All our new proofing baskets worked well – but even with only 12 loaves we are lacking blankets & tarps to proof lots of baskets, and cooling rack space to cool lots of loaves.
- There is more heat to be had from our little oven. We’d like to add a little bit more mass and try see if we can do three full bakes. Theres also scope for doing other stuff (maybe sweets) after bread. Last night at the end we baked a sack of old potatoes for the pigs on the heat of the oven – we had happy pigs this morning 🙂 Baked potatoes for breakfast – treat!
Photos below of bake number below.