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Archive for August, 2011

Forno Bravo Wood-Fired Oven Demo Reveals Versatility

August 17, 2011 1 comment

  The ARCH hosted a Forno Bravo wood-fired oven demo late in July which was informative as well as energizing. The hands-on experience helped those attending get a much broader picture of what it is like to actually own an oven, and to cook in it.

We started the session at sundown and lit the fire in the oven so that everyone could see that, indeed, the Forno Bravo ovens do heat up to over 700 degrees in less than an hour. We had a mistaken piece of pine in the oven to start with, so we all noted that you do not burn pine as the black smoke will quickly make it’s presence known. After a few minutes, we had a clean fire and we continued burning clean assorted hardwoods- mostly oak, but some apple and cherry as well.  As the fire was occasionally stoked, we proceeded to the kitchen to involve everyone with hands-on experience creating pies with the dough made from scratch the previous day.  Handling the dough takes a little getting used to and is a lesson in itself, but we all created some pretty nice pies with assorted toppings.

It came naturally to Jeff

Jeff and Kim brought a few toppings of their own including a fine Italian sausage as well as Mozzarella di Bufala. We prepared several pies  maintaining a good sense of humor as several “lessons” were noted.  Seen here is Jeff Grimm who was immediately proficient handling the dough.  Jeff has many years of culinary experience including some time spent working with Peter Reinhart making pizzas so we were thrilled to watch him handle the dough with such familiarity.  With a little semolina flour on each peel, we didn’t have a single “accidental Calzone”- all the pies slid into the oven with success!

Jeff had this to say: “The Forno Bravo ovens are easy to use, I had it figured out by my second pizza. I am looking forward to roasting meats and vegetables, in addition to great Neopolitan pizzas”!

Jeff and Kim

The fire continue to burn strong and all the pizzas were delicious. My first attempt at the thin sliced lemon dessert pizza also came through with success.

Thin sliced lemon dessert pizza

I have since tried another but this time I  zested the outer rind just a bit before slicing the lemons. Copious amounts of powdered sugar must be sprinkled on unless you like your lemons sour! 

Zest the lemon but leave some of the rind, then slice thin

Another guest – Nancy has an interest in a community oven for a very innovative cabin development she is developing. Nancy has a terrific idea and excellent placement in mind for an oven between the cabins and the community center for guests to look forward to experiencing. This idea could blossom into a huge guest list over time. From cabin guests to guest chefs,  she has something that is sure to be a big draw. Nancy and her friend Joan were struck by the variety of flavors- and this was just an evening of pizza!

Giving that pie a spin. shown here in a Forno Bravo Casa 2G90 36" floor diameter

Grilling and baking may be included in future demonstrations, but for now seeing the oven in operation and getting involved is a great starting point and experience.

Kim shared the following:  “I didn’t realize how versatile a wood burning oven could be. I originally thought it was just for pizzas!”

The evening was a blast and we look forward to scheduling another oven demo this Fall.  If you have an interest please give us a call at The ARCH 828 253 5455.  Interests are reserved primarily for those interested in considering an oven purchase.

Here are a few more images of another round of pizzas enjoyed more recently – this time with my visiting niece and nephew and brother:

Alex and Tom topping a pie with fresh pesto

Waiting in line

Caramelized onion, mozzarella and Asiago, pine nuts

Lauren created this one

Detail of Mushroom Gorgonzola and walnut pizza

Alex removed another great pie

A great lineup

The cat sat here for the next three days pretty much.

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Islands of Ciabatta and Other Wood-Fired Oven Sensations for The Beginner

"Islands of Ciabatta" baking! The front loaf has Kalamata Olives and fresh snipped rosemary

There are few things more satisfying in life than a fine loaf of bread.  We’re surrounded by talented bakers in the area  yet our own introduction to bread making using our Forno Bravo wood-fired oven  has made us a little giddy knowing we’ve created our most flavorful bread yet! It’s amazing!

Not everyone owning a wood-fired oven will focus on all the different food categories. We have customers interested in primarily pizzas, others in baking, and those that favor grilling meats, fish and vegetables. From professionals to  young children, there is room for everyone to enjoy a Forno Bravo wood- fired oven.  Here are a handful of recent endeavors that show how success can be easy!  We’ve had our oven less than a year and the bread making efforts have yielded primarily larger loaves. All delicious, but this time Jim set out to work with the Ciabatta recipe that can be downloaded on Forno Bravo’s online store.  (see below). The first batch had a great flavor, but was too flat, but the oven was hotter so we had a great crust. Lessons noted.

Baked on Parchment paper trimmed around loaves

The second batch was more carefully tended to.

Assembly line ready to bake

The dough was handled more carefully, we cut  the parchment paper close to the loaves before baking as recommended, the shapes were formed to be narrower and a little more “column like”, the oven was properly misted.We followed the instructions better!

The result was great overall, but we should have had the oven up 75-100 degrees for a heartier crust.   Our third attempt may just combine the best of both experiences!

During our recent oven demo at our home with guests and after a number of very fine pizzas, we made a sliced lemon dessert pizza that I found online. I’d credit the source but I can’t locate it. The recipe was simple: Prepare a thin crust pizza, top with very thin sliced uncooked, seeded lemons, bake in the wood-fired oven. Remove from the oven. Top with dabs of butter  and return to the oven so the butter bakes in.

Delicious lemon sliced dessert pizza

Remove from the oven and top with copious amounts of powdered sugar. A very light and refreshing finish.  If the skins of the lemons seem a little strong, remove some of the outer rind layer but leave some of the rind as  it will not be too bitter as long as the slices are very thinly sliced.

You can also dry fruit and vegetables in an oven as it is cooling down days later.

Assorted summer tomatoes ready to dry in oven. Mostly Roma and San Marzano are best

Shown here are thin sliced tomatoes that we placed on a lightly oiled baking sheet and placed in an oven around 175 degrees. The oven maintains it’s temperature so well that you don’t have to worry about it cooling down. It’s free heat so use it! Drying tomatoes should be done slowly so they took a few hours. With a spatula I removed the “oven-dried tomatoes” and put them in a freezer bag for future pizza use.  (Forgot to photograph). Drying bananas is another great use of your oven.  The best dried bananas can actually bend unlike those horrible “banana chips” you may find from time to time in a trail mix.  Another sweet and simple treat.

Forno Bravo e-book cover with Ciabatta recipe

Ciabatta recipe can be found on http://www.fornobravo.com. Select  Forno Bravo Store from left column. Select e Books and CD Roms near the bottom of the list. Select the Wood Fired  Bread eBook. Download it. Locate the Ciabatta Recipe.Here is the cover of the ebook.

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Prevent Your Deck From Screaming: Help! I’m Thirsty!

Everything Looks so much better with a maintained, nicely finished deck

It’s funny how  every time you have a new product or personal interest, you start noticing that very product seemingly everywhere. You know the feeling; if you’re shopping for cars, you’ll start seeing the same model everywhere and certainly the blue ones. Whether you’re shopping for a new roof, in the market for a bike, or you’re looking at what color to re-finish something, you selectively notice just these objects, colors, and styles everywhere you look.

Deck Cleaning Services available at The ARCH

Well, it has been this way with decks and other outdoor wood surfaces for The ARCH.  It’s seems that we want to breathe new life into old, cracking, (deteriorating in many cases)  wood surfaces. They seem to be everywhere!

What a difference just cleaning it makes. Next comes the finish

So much wood out there is  thirsty for both attention and a new finish! Give the wood a drink I say!

Before cleaning! Dirty and slippery with mildew

One of my daughters  was visiting Asheville this weekend looking at houses to rent and several places we looked at seem to keep up the interiors, but many of the exteriors and decks needed a great deal of attention.

Investing in maintenance and finishes is important. The deck and all that surrounds the house definitely influences the person looking for a new place.

Finish helps protect feet as well as the wood

In need of Vermont Natural Poly Whey exterior finish

If the wood is maintained the renter or seller may actually make the sale, children may not need shoes every time they walk across a sorry-looking deck, years could be added to the life of a house  exterior, and, if someone would only notice,the garden bench might actually make it another decade.

Autumn Red Exterior Finish

Vermont Natural Coatings not only provides protection, durability, and beauty, but it’s healthy, non-toxic and so easy to apply.

Healthy finish required for Health Food bins

I read that a health food store coated vegetable boxes with a Vermont Natural Coatings finish and they’re loving the product because it is non-toxic as well as durable. Shown here are a few projects showing some happy decks and happier homeowners.

Hopefully, I’ll start noticing the details of islands and the varying shades of blue in the ocean!

For more information about Vermont Natural Coatings exterior, flooring and furniture finishes click here.

New Exterior color

New color just in! Exterior Finish Barn Red

All Vermont Natural Coatings products are available at The ARCH.  We also offer deck cleaning service.Free estimates in the Asheville area.