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Any good recipes for a wood fired oven?


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Greetings,

I'm in the process of building a wood fired oven im my back yard. It seems this is the wrong time of year to start playing with cement and mortar.... Regardless, the oven progresses and I'm curious if others have used one and what successes have they had.

I'm hoping to branch out well beyond the pizza and bread that I've found many hints and recipes for. I'm hoping others may have dared brisket, porchetta, savory tomatoes, etc. Suckling pig?

Any ideas would be great and I'll share the good and the bad once the mortar dries...

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I recommend Bread Builders by Daniel Wing and Allen Scott. It is filled with theory and practice of making great bread with a brick oven.

2 bits.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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I would say Farinata Genovese, made with chickpea flour, but I don't have a recipe right now, mainly because I'm not sure that the chickpea flour in the US is the same as the one ised in Genova or Sicily, and the amount of water needed will be different.

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Wood ovens are awesome!

So many things to make -

Your veggies will sing (making a paste from veggies cooked in a wood oven fire is awesome!)

Wood oven smoked tomatoes are fantastic.

Meats and fishes will love you even more.

Bottom line - almost everything tastes better in a wood fire oven.

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you might want to check out Jamie Oliver's book "Jamie at Home". He often uses his wonderful wood fired oven for just about anything. I remember wonderful game, game birds, tomatoes and other veggies. Just make sure to have similar size items. He had whole small birds and cut up/flattened larger birds in the same roaster. It looked so yummy, I wanted to lick my TV screen.....

When I looked into building one (which I will in the near future) I also found a couple websites that listed recipes, though I unfortunately lost the links. A quick google might help. One site was from a guy in Australia who also sells a dvd with instructions on how to build your own oven. I think he had recipes on there.

I'd also mix up some bread dough while you're at it, and stick that in once the oven cools a bit. You should be able to feed your entire street with baked goods from the residual heat, but at least try making one bread. It's so much better from a wood fired oven!

Of course, a pizza party is called for too! Have all the fixings in bowls and let everybody make their own, they should be done in less than 2 min.

Oliver

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Mary Karlin, who teaches at Ramekins in Sonoma, has a cookbook devoted to wood-fired cooking that is coming right off the grill.

http://www.amazon.com/Wood-Fired-Cooking-T...33174954&sr=8-1

Some sample recipes off Mary's website, here: http://www.elementsoftaste.com/wood-fired-...ng.html#recipes

I've cooked and tasted Mary's food in cooking class, although I haven't seen the cookbook yet, and I think her food is good.

ETA: Ten Speed Press says the release date for the cookbook is Feb 17. But you know how that date can be approximate.

Edited by djyee100 (log)
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Marlena de Blasi chronicles the construction of her wood fired oven in her book "A Thousand Days in Tuscany" and gives vivid descriptions of what they cooked. It will also be interesting for you to experiment with the progression of dishes that work best as the heat changes from initial fire to smoldering. Saying that I am jealous is just a bit of an understatement.

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It will also be interesting for you to experiment with the progression of dishes that work best as the heat changes from initial fire to smoldering.

This is an interesting point and it should factor in the design of your oven. The more mass (i.e. bricks and concrete) the more stable the temperature will be over a period of time after firing it but the longer (and the more wood) it will take to bring your oven to temperature. Backyard pizza fanatics might prefer a lighter construction in order to have pizzas more often but serious bakers might prefer having more thermal mass to increase their baking time.

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You should be able to cook anything you'd normally cook in a gas or electric oven, but you have to learn how to control the temperature which takes some getting used to. Elevate your pans on bricks and grates, and play with using the door to control the heat.

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Start here: http://www.fornobravo.com/

sorry, I'm new here, so not sure how to add a link. They mfr ovens and have 3 free e-books (pizza, bread and general cooking) as well as a forum

Some things I make off the top of my head.

Always cook my whole chickens in there. Use the Zuni recipe and pay special attention to the salting and air drying prior to cooking. Unlike Zuni, I still truss my birds. I've tried both ways. Be carefull of temp of oven (not too hot) and make sure you're birds are room temp.

Get a couple Lodge cast iron fajita skillets. They are great in there. I actually take some of the wood ash from the oven and rub it into skillet with oil before searing red meat. I came across it by accident, and It's really quite nice.

Scallops are great in there. A large all-clad type pan allowed to get screamin' hot. Remove from oven and add some high temp oil and place seasoned (never previously frozen) jumbo scallops in. Return to oven about 2-3 minutes. from here you can either flip and return another minute before removing scallops to rest while you deglaze/reduce, mount with butter and herbs, or don't flip and drop in a bunch of butter and baste scallops with this to finish cooking, making a scallop brown butter at the same time. You're definitely not limited to butter sauces either.

When I have tomatoes coming out of the... garden, I cut them in half horizontally and squeeze out seeds (strain and save juice for whatever) and place cut side up on sheet pan with olive oil. Put this in oven once fire is completely dead, but still warm. close door to oven and slow dry (maybe 6 -8 hours?)

I recomend getting one of those infar red thermo's. I've seen one at Harbor Freight for like $6. Not sure if I trust $6 compared to usually like $90, but at that potential savings, I'd give it a shot. Eventually you'll know how hot your oven is. I do pizzas at over 700. Takes about 2.5 minutes, finish by lifting to the top of oven where flame wraps around to really brown toppings. (btw, you WILL burn a few pizzas)

sorry for the long rambles, home this helps. I've only had about a month with one of these things, so I'll revisit this post this spring summer when Wyoming allows me to cook outside again.

Edited by pfunk_49 (log)
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I'm so jealous.  I've wanted  a wood fired oven in my backyard for ages.  Can you post pics and tell us about the progress?

Hi Jean,

Thanks for the note.

Here's some progress pics for you:

http://picasaweb.google.com/bbellWFO/BillS...feat=directlink

Have a great weekend.

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My wife and I finished a WFO this past summer and it's heaven. We constructed a barrel design which differs from most seen on the fornobravo site. The Alan Scott plan sets are OK and the CD from Rado in Australia is very good. We built ours for a variety of cooking methods that required large thermal efficiencies. I generally start by building a fire to 1000 - 1100 degrees and allowing it to back off to 750 degrees, at which time we cook pizza and calazone. I usually do 6 pizza and a dozen calazone, which freeze nicely. I then move the coals to the oven center/front and place a grill inside that is 14" X 14" and 4" tall. When the temp has dropped to 500 degrees +/- I toss in a couple of chickens butterflied and cook approx 40 minutes. A shallow pan below the chickens with onion and potatoes in it will cook from the fat that drips from the chickens. After this is completed we usually bake a couple of loaves of bread for the next week or 2. The key, which I am still learning, is to have complete utilization of the oven if you heat it. I've done braised shart ribs, seared on the grill first then into a cast iron cooker with fluid and vegetables. The best place to score cast iron ware is the Goodwill or thrift stores. I'm stocking up on loads of zinfandel to practice my oven skills this summer. Let me know if I can answer any questions.

"I drink to make other people interesting".

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Another tip: after using your oven, if you plan to use again w/in a few days or so, set up logs in the opening to start your new fire. The heat still in the oven will dry them very nicely and your next fire will start in an instant.

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I recommend Bread Builders by Daniel Wing and Allen Scott. It is filled with theory and practice of making great bread with a brick oven.

2 bits.

Dan

I'm sorry to have learned today from an article in the NYT that Alan has recently died. Years ago we spent some time together when he was in Maine and kept in touch for some years after. He was a great guy, and a very interesting person to hang-out with.

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Here is what I do with my oven:

put in a pizza or two (the oven is way too hot for anything else) for lunch.

take those out and throw in a few loaves of bread

when those are done take them out and throw (literally) in a few onions (peel and all)

slide in a chicken and a tray of mixed veggies (season as you like)

The oven by then isn't super hot so you can let them cook for a long slow time and nothing will burn but usually the items in the oven have enough heat to get golden brown (chicken skin).

The whole onions chucked in the oven and basically forgotten about is amazing. They become really soft and you can just squeeze the onion out of it's skin - drizzle with oil and a dash of salt.

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I was actually just thinking about the whole onions today and how I can't wait to get back to cooking in that oven. I was contemplating weather roasting them in a big bed of aromatic salt (rock salt, whole peppercorns, juniper, crushed bay, various zests etc...) would improve them. It's probably not worth it, but maybe something to try.

I was just at a bakery here in Tuscany with a huge WFO that had a cool little trap door built into the floor right by the door. all of the ash and coals are just raked into this and it's clean. Drops into a big bin like an old fireplace cleanout. I forgot my camera, but I'll be working there a few days next month, so If anyone is interested...

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I suggest having a look at the Au Pied do Cochon topic for inspiration. Their whole menu is cooked before your eyes in a crazy-hot wood-fired oven, and there is some truly incredible food there. Also, I think I read someplace that the very old school method for making Cassoulet is to cook it overnight in the cooling oven. Sounds like fun, even if it doesn't turn out to be true!

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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