Visit us at The ARCH in Asheville and you’ll find that we’re happy to talk ovens and hearth bread! We don’t claim to be baking professionals and yet we continue to surprise ourselves with delicious loaves of hearth bread. Often we add a little rosemary from the garden or bake Ciabatta with a little Asiago cheese. The recipes are endless. Add a summer fresh tomato, avocado, and goat cheese,….what more do you need to enjoy a delicious combination with fine bread while sitting on your deck this summer? Artisan breads generally cost from $5.00-$6.00 in Asheville, so, let’s see…. $6.00 times how many loaves? Considering the cost of flour, this is a great savings but more importantly it could be your bread. Shown here is just a small sample of delicious food that you can make in a hot wood-fired oven.
The ARCH offers competitive pricing on all Forno Bravo ovens and outdoor fireplace units, accessories, Caputo 00 flour, tomato sauces and more. We offer full service and installations as well. See Jim’s gallery of installations here. Give us a call at The ARCH today at 828 253 5455. Showroom hours: T-F 9:30-5:30, Sat. 10-3. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.thearchnc.com
For more on Jim’s outdoor oven “conversations”- follow Jim’s Wood Fired Ovens on Facebook.
The flame is being fanned all across the country for Wood-Fired Ovens and the delicious food and entertainment they provide. We’re fanning the fire for exciting tile installations! We recently installed the tiles shown here on the arch of our own oven at our home. There are so many ways to use tiles on an oven installation but I suggest including something creative into your oven design whatever you do. Break the boredom and drop the minimalist look from time to time!
You can choose tiles that are colorful, whimsical, classic, craftsman, Latin, glass, stone; the possibilities are endless. Mosaics flow nicely and so believing I could work with the pieces we decided to combine these classic handmade decorative art tiles with a simple grey stone, both of which are available through our showroom The ARCH. Just give us a call and we can discuss creative ideas with you. I selected a grey grout which still allows for the various stone colors to pop out. Over the years the dark grout color won’t get dirty in appearance and it tones down the brighter tiles to blend with the earthy primitive nature of wood-fire cooking.
I started with a cardboard template of the arch and some paper cut outs of the tile pieces and stone shapes to see how it would flow.
After sketching and playing with some layouts, I attached the template to an arch on one of our showroom Forno Bravo models. (The oven shown below is the Casa2G80 32″ interior diameter which happens to have the same arch size as our Casa2G90 36″ interior diameter oven).
Once all the selections were made I special ordered the metallic glaze beauties from a local artist whose work we display at The ARCH, and the stone tiles that come on a mesh material.
I hand picked the most workable stones, placed them on the template and played and played with them until they were working with the tiles.
A few modifications from the original layout so I recommend careful measuring of the template. The process installing the mosaic was more enjoyable than I predicted as I had not completed a mosaic before.
It was a very sculptural feeling when it came to moving the grout throughout the mosaic. I used a grout bag to squirt the grout around all the pieces given there was so much variation in sizes and heights. The highs and lows of tiles and stones all connected as I smoothed the grout between the pieces.
Finally, the arch was complete!
The counter surface will meet up with the oven floor entry for easy use when cooking.
It was a pleasure to finally relax and see the fire nestled in the oven with the tiled arch surrounding it.
Christmas day had been a very full day. I wasn’t sure I wanted to cook an evening meal in the wood-fired oven or just hit the sofa. After a large breakfast, lunch with extended family, the occasional bites of date bars and chocolate throughout the day, did any of us need dinner at all?
We fired up the oven, tending it off and on for a little more than forty-five minutes which is typical for our Forno Bravo Casa2G90. The temperature outside was in the 30’s, the oven coals somewhere over 1000 degrees, the dome creating the perfect convection experience – all ready to sear in the flavors like no other cooking method. I prepared a couple of platters of vegetables (which took all of ten minutes- rinse vegetables, drizzle with oils, herbs, etc…, arranging and considering the grilling order and placement in the oven). The carrots were set to one side of the oven ahead of the rest of the vegetables allowing for the most generous amount of grilling time. I have read that cast iron may cook too hot in a wood-fired oven- but I believe it is more a case of knowing your oven and what you are cooking.Setting the heavy pan to the side of the fire works great for carrots. Want more heat? Move the pan closer to the fire. Want less? just pull it away, stirring on occasion, but not too often as its the caramelized skins that are delicious. Next, the portobellos were placed on the grill and then the peppers, checking up on them from time to time, giving the peppers a turn, evening out the coals beneath until all were roasted and just beginning to ooze their delicious juices.
Vegetables don’t take that long,so they want your undivided attention at this point. No problem. I was glad to be outside tending the beautiful red coals and watching the fire. The last vegetable I placed in the oven was the asparagus which had been placed on a foil covered roasting tray and placed on the Toscana grill. Drizzled with olive oil, herbs, garlic, fresh lime juice, combined with the perfect heat of the dome and coals beneath they provided the ultimate chorus and just listening to them sizzle was, well here…listen for yourself.
And they were absolutely delicious! They were so good that I grilled a second batch after dinner to eat the next day.
For more information on grilling in your wood-fired ovens, give us a call at The ARCH at 828 253 5455
Our Forno Bravo wood-fired oven continues to inspire us as we explore recipes and techniques, which often includes baking delicious hearth breads. Though we’re not professional bread bakers, we’ve surprised ourselves with some pretty delicious loaves of bread, and we remain admirers of the bread baking world- learning… learning… learning.
Shown here are a couple of Ciabatta loaves that Jim made that we thoroughly enjoyed alongside some Fire Roasted Tomato Soup that included roasted wood-fired tomatoes from our oven as well.
We have a lot of respect for the many master bakers that surround us who truly understand the art and science of creating beautiful and delicious bread. Cooking in our wood-fired Casa2G90 Forno Bravo oven has led us to seek out practical as well as artistic accessories for food preparation as well as cooking with the oven. You really do cook “with”a wood-fired oven as they have a lot to teach us. Wood-fired ovens offer a delightfully interactive experience.
We started out with the much needed and necessary long handled Forno Bravo tools, peels, pizza accessories,and cast iron grill, yet we still have a wish list. The tools each oven owner needs all depend on how you cook and use your oven. Give us a call at The ARCH 828 253 5455 if you would like some advice on what tools you need to get started with.
If I were camping for example, I can appreciate managing meals with a sparse supply , carving out “the forgotten spoon”, and all the improvising and creativity that goes with it, but when it comes to home, I admit enjoying tools that make a task easier or have an artistic appeal. Some of our bread baking “improvised” props have been successful, but some have not worked out so well for us so we’ve decided to add A NEW COLLECTION OF ARTISAN BAKING ACCESSORIES in our showroom The ARCH!
We’re very excited to explore baking hearth breads with the artisan rustic spiral raised lines and interesting cuts. We now carry Brotform proofing baskets, liners, baker’s couches, dough whisks and Bordelaise Lames. All are professional grade and very well made. Brotform baskets are handwoven bread molds made of cane, brotform, also known as brotformen or banneton. They are used to form and shape artisan loaves during the proofing and rising stage.
We’ll be adding to our inventory, but we’ve started out with the following: 8″ round Brotform baskets, 13″ Brotform Baskets, 18″ Baguette Brotform baskets, liners if desired (an option for another great crust texture) to fit any of the baskets we’ve ordered, Baker’s couche precut at 24×35″, Danish dough whisks in 11.5 and 14″ lengths, and Mure-Peyrot Bordelaise Lames. We’ll share some of the results soon!
Here’s a helpful link to an article discussing in greater depth the use of Brotform proofing baskets.
Give us a call at The ARCH for accessories as well as the complete Forno Bravo line of ovens, outdoor fireplaces and installation service at 828 253 5455
Hours T-F 9:30-5:30,Sat 10-3
Usually I grill salmon on a cast iron grill positioned over hot coals in our wood-fired oven which is always delicious, but the following Wood-Roasted salmon cooked by means of direct or indirect heat in our Forno Bravo Casa2G90 wood-fired oven resulted in a wonderfully moist and flavorful salmon.
We fired up our oven using dry hard woods about an hour prior to baking to give the oven a little extra heat retention. The Casa2G90 oven has a 36″ diameter oven floor so keep in mind that each oven is different in size and mass and may require different amounts of time to maintain the desired temperatures and results. One simply has to get to know their own oven and pay close attention to temperatures.If grilling directly over hot coals, we usually allow for about 40-50 minutes to build a nice bed of good size coals, but as I said, I like the extra heat retention when baking as it tends to sear in the flavors that much more with the wonderful heat convection yet keeping the fish moist. Your fish is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees. Beyond that you will dry out the fish. After allowing the coals to subside somewhat I pushed the coals to the side to allow for a little extra wood flavor and more direct heat but you can remove the coals altogether if you prefer as noted below. Below is the recipe I used from “The Ultimate Wood-Fired Oven Book”. The difference being I baked a large single fillet of wild salmon rather than separate smaller fillets (this would also be good) and I didn’t need the amount of time required in our Forno Bravo oven as in the original recipe. The original recipe suggests 15-20 minutes, but this would have been much too long for the fillet shown here and our oven for some reason. I did maintain 450 degrees in the oven consistently. Part of the faster cook time may also be due to the lower fat content of wild salmon which is also a healthier choice than farm raised. I’d be interested in other people’s experience and knowledge in regards to fat content of fish as it relates to cooking time. The end result was a fabulous salmon meal.
36 ounces of salmon fillets
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped green celery leaves (the younger leaves are best)
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1/2 cup salted capers (rinsed under running water and then soaked in bowl of cold water for 30 minutes)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 3 lemons
1 lemon sliced
Original recipe: Place the salmon on an oven platter or shallow baking dish. I used an aluminum heavy platter. Spoon 1/3 of the olive and herb mixture over the fish. Add lemon juice to the olive and herb mixture and set aside. You can bake the salmon with direct heat (in an oven where the fire has been moved to one side) or indirect heat (where the embers and fire have been removed). Bake the salmon in a 450 degree F oven around 10 minutes, longer if the fillets are very thick or if the oven isn’t holding as much heat.
Remove from the oven and place on a serving platter. Add the remaining olive mixture to the baking dish and put the dish back into the oven for about 1-2 minutes to combine with the fish juices.
Pour the olive sauce over the salmon, sprinkle the rest of the parsley on top, and serve with a slice of lemon.
Excellent article from “The World’s Healthiest Foods” non-profit organization: Is There Any Nutritional Difference Between Wild-Caught and Farm-Raised Fish? Is One Type Better For Me Than Another?
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.
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”!
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.
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!
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:
It is 90 degrees in a mid-summer heat wave and you’re thinking about firing up an oven? Absolutely! We enjoy a Forno Bravo Casa2G 90 wood-fired oven which is built next to our deck far from any air conditioning. Basically, the heat is kept outdoors and will not heat up your home that you invest in keeping cool. This is an energy saver in itself. It’s perfect for summer evening cooking as well as the harshest winter months. The actual time spent cooking in a Forno Bravo wood-fired oven is very intentional and generally fast compared to cooking with a gas grill. You develop the art of timing when cooking with wood and it takes a little finesse but it’s sooooo well worth it!
Summer is all about eating outside when it’s cooling down, enjoying your yard, and eating FRESH! Fresh everything. The tomatoes are actually red and juicy, the squash, eggplants, herbs, corn, are either fresh from our own garden or from local tailgate markets.
Supporting local farmers feels great as we know it feeds the local economy. When you own an oven you can cook light fare or cook up a feast, but the best part of all is when the sun has set you’re on your own deck or patio with friends savoring some of the finest flavors that could otherwise cost you a pretty penny. Around 6pm fire up the oven and occasionally feed it a few pieces of dry hardwood to increase the heat.
The exterior of the oven doesn’t put off high heat. It’s better than a thermos. The exterior may be warmed naturally from the sun, but the oven is so well insulated it is never too warm to touch. If the oven hasn’t been used for a good week or more, the interior behaves much like a cellar as it maintains what seems to be the same air temperature as outside if not a below ground cooler temperature.
After forty-five minutes to an hour, you have a fabulous bed of coals to push the heavy cast iron grill over. I put a cast iron fry pan nearer the entry but in front of the fire to caramelize summer carrots as we wait for perfect coals for the salmon filets.
As we were entertaining for a birthday party (and the crowd magically grew), we put ten salmon filets on a single heavy duty cast iron grill which took between 4-7 minutes tops to cook with the intense convection of the oven. Combine this with delicious cooler summer salads, corn, a fresh peach pie and homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert and you have some very happy campers. As the oven will still have retained at least 300-400 degrees overnight, we’re cooking a light fare meal tonight of eggplant with freshly made pesto, fresh tomatoes, fine bread with garden herbs. Forno Bravo wood-fired ovens are designed for year-round use and the enjoyment of wood-fired cooking unlike any other kind of cooking.
A Facebook comment we received from David Horn just today (during this heat wave):
“Great selection of your many products and services. Thanks again for the great job by Jim and Tom on our Forno Bravo oven in Lenoir. We have had lots of pizza and lots of guests over- more tonight!” This says it all.
Some links of interest:
Buy Local NC Facebook
Slow Food Asheville Facebook
Asheville Grown blog
Jim’s Wood Fired Ovens Facebook/ gallery of oven installations (please “like” Jim!)
Jim Erskine Masonry and Applications web/ masonry services at The ARCH