Saturday, October 11, 2014

Wood-Fired Oven

My Hubbers rides a Harley as one of his hobbies.  In the biking world there is a saying that goes "it's not the destination, but the journey"; basically don't be so concerned about where you're headed to that you don't enjoy the ride along the way. Shouldn't life be like that, too?  We all know there will be an end to our life here on earth. Our goal in life should be enjoying the journey along the way, to follow our dreams, to dream big. There is something gratifying about working hard and having your dreams come to fruition.

For the last few years I've been dreaming of having a wood-fired outdoor oven. We (especially me) are homebodies, our house is our castle. I love to cook and bake, my Hubbers loves to socialize, so an outdoor oven appealed to me on many levels. After much "hemming and hawing" we bit the bullet and our oven is now finished! At first, this was my dream and my Hubbers just went along with me.  The inner caveman in him has emerged during this process (man + fire equals some sort of mystical combination!) and he is very excited about the oven, too.  I know we have a steep learning curve ahead of us but it will be fun, something that we can learn together.
We opted to have a masonry contractor build the oven, though I know many do it themselves. Our contractor is wonderful, he did our brick courtyard a few years back.  Watching him and his crew work is like watching a symphony, all the parts blending together, truly magical.  After seeing the process I'm glad we didn't attempt it on our own.  It would've taken us forever and our marriage may have taken a hit! It took three highly-qualified men four days to complete this oven! The process began with a concrete pad. A block frame was then constructed on top of the pad. Another layer of concrete was done and the actual oven dome (which is from Forno Bravo) was placed on top of it. Then the dome was insulated and surrounded by more block. Sand was poured between the dome and block walls to further insulate the oven. Finally this was all topped by more blocks to enclose the unit.  Brick was then applied to get the decorative finish we desired. Whew!
The Forno Bravo cooking dome and fire-brick oven floor. Looks rather like an igloo!

The block frame complete and ready for brick. The bottom area is for wood storage.
We have about two more weeks that the mortar needs to cure before we can start using the oven.  The mortar has to totally set so that the high heat the oven gets to won't crack it.  In addition, we have to start with small fires in the actual cooking dome, gradually building up to a full roaring fire over about a week time span. We think we will have our first meal from it the first of November.  In the meantime, I'm devouring cookbooks, website articles and YouTube videos, trying to learn as much as possible. Our first venture will be pizza, that seems to be an easy process, but anything can be cooked in the oven. Our future will hold many nights of various wood-fired meats, vegetables and, even, desserts coming from this oven. I'm anxious to bake bread in it and we plan to do a lot of entertaining.  I can't wait!

No comments:

Post a Comment