Artisan bread loaves

Artisan Bread Oven Considerations

Kimmy and I took a class in Tuscany last May with the Artisan Bread School where we made sourdough, focaccia, ciabatta, grissini and several other styles of bread. Now it’s time to start thinking about designing our own wood-fired oven. It was an amazing week-long course in a stunning setting. What’s not to love about the Spring colors and flavors in the Chianti region in May.

Long story short, we are both hooked on artisan bread. Since being back we have made some decent breads in a conventional range using the same proven methods of preparing the starter and handling the dough that we used in class. But it’s tough to replicate the masonry mass and heat explosion that springs the loaves up and makes for a crispy crust in wood-fired oven.

For artisan bread – you need an artisan oven

I have the utmost respect for the late Alan Scott & Ovencrafters, I mean anyone into artisan bread today has probably been influenced by his books and ovens, but I am leaning towards the Le Panyol oven core because I have a bit more knowledge & confidence from friends that have used them. Plus, since our plan it to sell marketable quantities of bread rather soon in the venture – I don’t want to worry too much about my faults in oven design to throw us off if I was to built the entire oven myself. Then again, I need to make mention of the significant chunk of capital I would have to spring for such a pre-cast masonry oven. Big decision to make.

More possibilities

I found these guys online too. Turtle Rock Masonry in Vermont has some nice designs too that they build from scratch. Their ovens can make use of those cool trays that slide the dough in and deposit it exactly as arranged on the tray into the oven. I’m also keen on a Gueulard style for heating purposes. Maybe I’m not fond of racking coals out? Guess I need to focus on that! Well, here’s some info on the Le Panyols that Maine Wood Heat sells.

Things the Le Panyol ovens have:

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  • Excellent heat storage capacity
  • Terra blanche is a green material used in making the oven’s core
  • Low wood usage
  • Even baking temperatures throughout the entire oven

What do you think? Post your comments and ideas below. Thanks!

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