Posts Tagged ‘Wood-fired Cooking’

The ARCH Sells Forno Bravo Ovens Which Means You Can Bake Delicious Hearth Breads!

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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  Website:

For more on Jim’s outdoor oven “conversations”- follow Jim’s Wood Fired Ovens on Facebook.


Antimo Caputo 00 Flour + Forno Bravo Wood-Fired Ovens = Exceptional Pizza!

Antimo Caputo 00 soft wheat flour is available at The ARCH in Asheville!

 If you haven’t tried this remarkable flour you’ll be surprised by it’s soft light crust and extraordinary taste! Bags are 2.2lbs. Since 1924 ” We have produced the best flours for three generations, made from wheat and wheat alone and a passionate and generous interpretation of Neapolitan culinary tradition”.  Caputo is the Mill of Naples   Ideal flour for making authentic italian pizza dough, pasta, focaccia, breads and more.
Delicious Ciabatta
 It’s best to call ahead at 828 253 5455  to find out what we might have in stock and to pre-order as necessary.   A good discussion about why all  flours are not equal for pizza, gluten levels in flour, the 00 rating for the grind of the wheat can be found in this blog entry by Saveur magazine.
From the finest wheat grains
They use only the “heart” of the wheat in the Caputo flours which is a family owned and operated mill dating back to 1924.
 Combine this superb flour with a Forno Bravo wood-fired oven and you have a pizza that can’t be duplicated in other ovens. Once the heat is absorbed into the mass a Forno Bravo oven provides reflected heat, convection and conductive heat to bake the perfect pizza in just 90 seconds!  All three- the crust, cheese and the sauce is cooking at the same time. The live fire arcing over the interior dome browns the top of the pizza with a rich brown color and imparts a deep flavor. The Convection heat combined with the moisture in the oven helps steam and puff up the cornicione (the outer rim or crust) of the pizza, and with the intense floor heat direct heat extracts moisture from the dough of the pizza resulting in a unique crisp crust. This is hard to achieve in a conventional oven.  On the other hand,  these flour choices will improve your pizza crust in any oven!
Wood-fired ovens combine all the best conditions! For a more detailed explanation of Forno Bravo’s oven operation and cooking benefits click here.
Yum Yum and Yum

The ARCH is your full service Wood-fired oven location in Asheville!  We offer: oven sales, installations, and delicious Caputo )) flour for the very best pizza crust. Contact us for an estimate or just stop by at 2000 Riverside Dr Unit 10 Asheville, NC 28804

The ARCH can now sustain your pantry as well as provide sustainable finishes, flooring and more!

Wood-Fired Oven Holiday Cooking With The Cool Night Air-Listen To The Asparagus!

December 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Crisp green roasted wood-fired asparagus

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?

As it turned out cooking outside in the cool air was an invigorating and satisfying way to enjoy the evening and, as it turned out, for everyone at the table. It was actually an ideal time to get away from the “lazy warm inside air”.  I had picked up a number of fresh vegetables the day before which included carrots, asparagus, portobellos, red, yellow and orange peppers. I had planned for a lighter evening fare after heavier meals throughout the day. I didn’t get back to the crowded holiday lines to pick up the fish I considered, (and I love fish), but our house includes vegetarians and vegans as well as meat eaters,  so knowing how incredibly delicious wood-fired vegetables  are  I knew we’d be just fine especially if we included some Kalamata olive wood-fired hearth bread from the day before, some fine wine or other drink of choice. It all made for a great finish for the day.

Kalamata Olive hearth bread

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). Grilled carrots carmalizing on left. Asparagus taking the place of the peppers and portobellosThe 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.

Wood-fired vegetables ready for serving.

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

Brotform Proofing Baskets and Other Wood-Fired Oven Accessories Available at The ARCH

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.

Ciabatta with Asiago and Feta

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.

Close up of Delicious

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.

Long handled tools a must

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! 

Spiral Lines and artistic cuts on artisan bread

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.

Results of a Brotform basket before baking

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!

8" round Brotform

Liner for Brotform basket for desired texture

Bakers Precut Couche

18" Baguette Brotform with Liner

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

The ARCH Supports Oceana With Forno Bravo Oven Sales

Support Our Oceans

My end of summer reading included  a fascinating book by Ted Danson- Oceana. The format of the book is filled with facts and has an almost text book format. In fact, it would be a fantastic text book for high school or college students.  It is so full of critical and disturbing facts about our oceans that I  could not  put it down, but instead wanted to take notes and list all the highlights so I wouldn’t forget the astounding numbers and their daunting truths.

Bottom Trawling Has Devastating Consequences

Covering pollution to the devastating consequences of industrial trawling of our ocean floors,  this book is truly an eye-opener.  So what does this book have to do with Forno Bravo ovens and wood-fired cooking? Well, I set out to locate a sustainable fish recipe to post in our newsletter and it brought me back to all that Oceana supports in terms of sustainable fishing.

Vulnerable corals to carbonic acid

Our oceans are in trouble and our fish population is in trouble, so I wanted to spread the reminder that it is very important to support sustainable fish choices and to learn the facts, whether you are dining out or cooking seafood in your wood-fired oven.  Fish2fork is one organization that is devoted to reviewing restaurants and whether their seafood is sustainable.  The international organization Oceana has a broad agenda including keeping our oceans free of pollutants, protecting marine wildlife, preserving threatened marine places, promoting responsible fishing, combating effects of climate change on our oceans, and monitoring irresponsible fishing and more. I highly recommend getting acquainted with their website.  Here is a handy seafood guide that they provide that is helpful (and can fit in your wallet) as you select your groceries and dine out.

Getting back to locating a sustainable fish recipe, I looked further into a great local source in our Western North Carolina mountains  and was reminded of a well respected source: Sunburst Trout Farm.  I am very impressed by their practices and excited to try their recipes in our wood-fired oven.

Fresh Fresh Fresh Sustainably Harvested Rainbow Trout

Sunburst Trout Farm raises their fish with no pesticides, no animal by-products, no growth hormones and the use of cool mountain waters results in a very fresh trout with a healthy high content of Omega-3 fatty acid.  I included a favorite recipe of theirs  in The ARCH October Newsletter for Rainbow Trout and it looks delicious.  We’d love to get your feedback on this recipe and other sustainably harvested fish recipes.

Commitment to Donate to Oceana

The ARCH offers sustainable flooring and finishes, and  will contribute a DONATION from all Forno Bravo oven sales through The ARCH to Oceana whose mission is to protect our oceans.  Forno Bravo has also agreed to match The ARCH contributions!  Forno Bravo owner, James Bairey  liked the idea and has been a 20+ year member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Monterey Bay Aquarium makes recommendations for healthy seafood choices through their Seafood Watch Program as is noted on the above seafood guide.

More sustainable seafood recipes from Oceana’s website.

More on Ted Danson’s book Oceana

Forno Bravo’s Community Cookbook: Rainbow Trout Recipe

Support sustainable fishing practices and spread the word!

Wood-Roasted Salmon in a Wood-Fired Oven

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Wood-Roasted Salmon

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. 

Comparison Chart of the Casa Series. Ask us about other models as well.

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?

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.