Friday, October 22, 2010

Baking day

Using the cob oven is introducing me to the old-fashioned tradition of a baking day. If I'm going to the bother of firing the oven up for an hour or two and heating it up to 600ºF, it seems ridiculous to use it for 6 minutes of pizza-baking and then leave it to gradually cool overnight. All that stored heat deserves to be put to use.

It seems to be settling into a Friday or Saturday tradition. Last week in between homeschooling activities at the school, playdates, gym time and gaming night I managed to bake a couple of pizzas and then piggy-backed three loaves of bread on at the end. The oven was ready for plenty more, though: the loaves were done in 16 minutes and the bottom crust was a little overdone, so they definitely went in when the oven was too hot and there was certainly enough heat for plenty more baking left over when they came out.

As an aside, I think I'll invest in a laser infrared thermometer so that I can check the oven temperature. The oven interior is of course very dark, and I'm usually baking after nightfall, so not only does an analog thermometer suffer from questionable accuracy sitting right on the fire bricks, getting in the way of the food to boot, but I have a hard time reading it even with a head lamp on. I've discovered by trial and error that 90 minutes of firing with hardwood makes the oven just right for pizza, and that the oven needs to cool substantially from that temperature to be suitable for bread-baking.

This week the plan is to cook pizza when the oven is maximally hot, wait half an hour or so and then whip in three loaves of dill-onion bread followed half an hour later by a dozen and a half spelt buns. Finally, when the buns are done, I'll tuck the pot of beans in and leave them overnight. There's no one around to eat the beans with two thirds of the family gone for the weekend, so they'll go into the freezer and be a reserve meal for when we have one of those days where there's no time for dinner prep.

The one thing I miss with the cob oven is the smell of the bread baking. I smell it as it steams and cools, after it's done baking, but it isn't quite the same.


  1. How about Yorkshire puddings as an in-between pizza and bread item? My pizza I do at 250C and Yorkshire pud at 240C, bread at 190C. Yorkshires freeze well.

  2. You're always so good at keeping me up with with all these fabulous wee gadgets. A laser infrared thermometer! Sounds worth finding out a bit more so as to maximise usage

  3. Ohhh, we have baking day here, but not quite the same as with a home made cobb oven! Love that.


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