Test bake No. 1

Ughh! Well, last night I went to Bar Tozino to see what their oven can do. I used it last year at Camp Bestival where I baked some simple little baguettes for Tozino’s famous Iberico sandwich. It worked perfectly. They looked like this:

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The oven is hot enough to bake sourdough and I have a huge piece of granite to bake on. the only problem I would encounter is generating enough steam to prevent early gelatinisation of the crust, resulting in a heavy unsightly lump, rather than a beautifully decorative and ornamental burst like this:

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Being a total bread geek, I visit bread forums to share techniques and look at bread pornography.  I heard of a steam technique that made me very excited. As I mentioned in my first post, this technique involves a hot tray of lava rock that once at full temperature has a full pan of hot water introduce to it creating billowing clouds of steam. In theory this should create an atmosphere close to that of a professional steam injected deck oven.

I finished work early so I could go home and pack a bag with everything I need. It was the heaviest bag I have ever packed. As heavy as my very heavy guitar amplifier.

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Effing HEAVY. The granite would be the contributing pain-in-the-ass. I thought ‘No way I can get on a Borris with this’…I was posh and got a taxi.

Arriving at Bar Tozino I was buzzing with excitement, and stupidly optimistic. I had every faith in my little volcanic steam pals to provide me with litres of face melting clouds. So without even eating any incredible Jamon Iberico, I went straight upstairs to shape my dough (which I made the night before) for it’s final prove in my new proving baskets.

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The dough was beautifully soft and airated and very promising. It was an untested recipe, but I was confident it would deliver the artisanal goods.

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This is me hoping the old timer will serve me right.

WP_000747One for my friend Greg: Using cardboard as a bread peel. What would that get me on the ‘Artisan Scale’?…That’s a scale I just made up…But I’m going to say it’s a 9.

After a couple of hours (and the most incredible chorizo and chickpea stew and Moritz beer) the dough was ready to bake. I slashed and loaded my loaves on to the searing hot granite and haphazardly sloshed a pan of water onto my volcanic layer. After a few minutes I could see that I was going to be disappointed, there was not much burst and the end result wasn’t tempting to look at. Not enough steam! After they had cooled I cracked one open, and to be honest, it wasn’t too bad for a first attempt in an oven I don’t know, with new techniques and a new recipe. But as you well know, I don’t want ‘not too bad’, I want goddam perfection! And I will achieve this, no matter what it takes. The hard work has begun, and I feel extra excited.

Tune in next time when I will be using MORE rocks, MORE steam, and some cast iron!

Love RPS.  x

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