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: