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Two Words for 2009: Buon Appetito!

Bread by Charles Van Over, Fresh from the Oven

Bread by Charles Van Over, Fresh from the Oven

The Italian in me has the same attitude come good or bad times: let’s sit down to a well-prepared meal! It’s no wonder then that one of my resolutions is to cook up a storm of new recipes in my wood-fired oven. I will be saying “Buon appetito!” a lot.

Here’s a preview of what is coming up in the months ahead.

I am very excited about the pizza and bread recipes described by Charles Van Over in his classic book The Best Bread Ever. He breaks all the rules of bread baking and the result is incredible! He doesn’t proof the yeast, uses cold water instead of warm, and…get this… doesn’t knead the dough but uses the food processor. Genius.

I met Charles and his wife Priscilla last fall in Connecticut. They are both very accomplished chefs and are installing one of our Italian wood-burning ovens. I can’t wait to turn the spot light of my website to showcase their creative talent for your benefit.

When baking bread and pizza I have found that the taste is greatly enhanced by a wood fired oven. If you are considering installing a modular oven, the best ones are made of refractory clay.

What’s refractory clay you wonder? It’s high quality clay heated to very high temperatures and cooled after it forms into small balls with a hard crust and a porous center. It is in the tiny air bubbles within the center that the heat is trapped and slowly released. The exceptional thermal properties of clay can simply not be replicated within other materials, such as cement alumina.

Refractory Clay

Refractory Clay

This becomes apparent when you bake bread, because you will need to scoop out all the embers from the oven and use only the indirect heat accumulated within the walls and the hearth of the oven. If your modular oven is not well designed and isn’t made of refractory clay, you will find this process much harder.

In addition to featuring recipes by Charles Van Over, I will be sharing my own experimentations in the pizza oven. Lots of new recipes coming up, so stay tuned!

I wish you a very Happy New Year and may it be filled with “buon appetito!”

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