In the past twenty years, interest in wood-fired ovens has increased dramatically in the United States and abroad, but most books focus on how to bake bread or pizza in an oven. From the Wood-Fired Oven offers many more techniques for home and artisan bakers--from baking bread and making pizza to recipes on how to get as much use as possible out of a single oven firing, from the first live-fire roasting to drying wood for the next fire.
From the Wood-Fired Oven offers a new take on traditional techniques for professional bakers, but is simple enough to inspire any nonprofessional baking enthusiast. Leading baker and instructor Richard Miscovich wants people to use their ovens to fulfill the goal of maximum heat utilization. Readers will find methods and techniques for cooking and baking in a wood-fired oven in the order of the appropriate temperature window. What comes first--pizza, or pastry? Roasted vegetables or a braised pork loin? Clarified butter or beef jerky? In addition to an extensive section of delicious formulas for many types of bread, readers will find chapters on:
- Making pizza and other live-fire flatbreads;
- Roasting fish and meats;
- Grilling, steaming, braising, and frying;
- Baking pastry and other recipes beyond breads;
- Rendering animal fats and clarifying butter;
- Food dehydration and infusing oils;
- And myriad other ways to use the oven's residual heat.
Appendices include oven-design recommendations, a sample oven temperature log, Richard's baker's percentages, proper care of a sourdough starter, and more. . . .
From the Wood Fired Oven is more than a cookbook; it reminds the reader of how a wood-fired oven (and fire, by extension) draws people together and bestows a sense of comfort and fellowship, very real human needs, especially in uncertain times. Indeed, cooking and baking from a wood-fired oven is a basic part of a resilient lifestyle, and a perfect example of valuable traditional skills being put to use in modern times.
Richard Miscovich began baking European hearth breads in 1996 after graduating in the first class taught at the San Francisco Baking Institute. During that same trip, he visited Alan Scott and was introduced to the Scott brick oven design--just as interest in artisan baking and wood-fired ovens dramatically increased. He immediately began construction of a wood-fired oven in coastal North Carolina, and opened an organic micro-bakery, One Acre Garden and Bakery, specializing in organic artisan hearth breads. Currently, Richard is assistant professor at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition to teaching culinary students, Richard is also a popular instructor for home bakers and brick oven hobbyists, and is a regular guest at venues around the country where he teaches artisan bread-baking techniques, wood-fired baking, and oven-building classes. In 2007, Richard organized and helped teach the first three-day wood-fired oven class track to be offered at The Bread Bakers Guild of America's biannual educational conference, Camp Bread. He served two terms on the Board of The Bread Bakers Guild of America. Dan Wing, a biologist and physician by training, has written for publications as various as Fine Homebuilding and The Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He travels out from his home in Vermont in a gypsy wagon of his own construction, and naturally he built his own bread oven on wheels.