Considering the variety of stuff that is produced from the bakery wood-fired oven; sough dough bread, pizzas, pastries, complete meals for not-so-long table gatherings, and the Original Garlic Scape Salt, we get asked a variety of questions about it. So here are answers to the top four most often asked questions about our wood-fired oven bakery.
1/ Did you build the oven?
No. As far as we can tell the oven was installed around 2007 as part of a wood-fired brick bake oven workshop led by renowned oven master Alan Scott.
To our knowledge, the oven is one of two commercial ovens of this size in North America to be installed personally by Mr. Scott.
2/ How big is the oven?
Big. The biggest Alan Scott oven design out there. Measuring approximately six by eight feet (50ish square feet or about 4.5 square metres) the oven chamber is about as large a wood-fired oven can be and still be practical.
The oven can accommodate over 70 x 700-gram loaves when you know how to load it.
3/ How do you load the oven?
With a peel and aplomb. The peel (resembling a long, exaggerated paddle) is large enough to accommodate four loaves and long enough, ten feet give or take, to reach the back of the oven.
Farmersdotter first sprinkles cornmeal on the peel which allows the bread to roll off easier. Then three or four loaves of bread are placed onto the peel, scored with a lame, then with a precise thrust the loaves are positioned in the oven rank and file like crusty soldiers. Rinse and repeat twenty or so times until the oven is full of wonderful naturally fermented bread.
4/ How do you build the fire for the oven?
The oven chamber ostensibly is the fireplace.
For each firing, we use approximately one-quarter (30ish cubic feet) of a cord of wood to get the oven to temperature. Once the fuel has been exhausted the coals and ash are raked out and deposited into an enclosed ash pit directly below the chimney. The oven then is swept a few times with a homemade wet mop to clean the brick floor in order to accept the bread.
As a pizza oven, we retain some coals in the chamber which develops an ideal pizza crust.