Timo's Oven...Because I can!

Stucco Coating

General — Posted by timo @ 18:21

Here's a picture showing the stucco. This is just the second layer. I added another layer that turned out nice without any cracks. Then I fired up the oven and still no cracks -meaning no heat escaping into the stucco, so that turned out good.

 I still have to seal the flue and crown joint before it rains, which might be soon. I wasn't planning on rain until Monday, but they lie!

I really like the red brick color and chimney. I do not like putting stucco on, though. I just don't have the patience to make it smoother, or perhaps a clue on how to do that, too.

But anyway, it will be covered with some nice acrylic latex exterior paint hopefully 28 days from today because that's about how long a good cure is needed for concrete. So, I am assuming stucco is the same, but I'll double check that.

I haven't tallied the receipts yet for the total cost of this project, but Jackie has a number in her head because I am sure she has festered about how much I've spent...$1,400 is what she believes is the current cost.

I think it is about $200 less. So, in her calculations, each pizza costs about $120 right now. That's some dang costy pizza. I can take care of that, though.

I just have to make enough pizzas to get the costs down. So, tomorrow is the first real run at a pizza party. I'll take pictures and videos hopefully of all the fun and goings-on. We are expecting 13 people over and I want them to all make their own pizza, but not for themselves, but to share. Sort of like, "Hi, my name is Tim and my pizza has peppers, onion, and Italian sausage with provolone and mozzarella on it" Then you and everyone else has a chance to try your pizza. With 13 people, everyone can get a piece and the best part is the next pizza will be 3 minutes away. That's if they didn't put too many ingredients on it, or forgot to flour their hands and peel well.

Speaking of peels, I bought a store peel from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, using of course their coupon for 20% off one item. That brought the cost down to $8. I can't make one for that much...I don't think. Only problem is the handle is very short, so I might be risking my life getting it into the oven, or at least the hair on my right arm. 

Well, I spent a chunk of today cutting all the vegetables, precooking all the meat, and mixing dough. Dennis and Nancy brought over some of the best flour you can buy: King Arthur Bread flour and all-purpose unbleached. All the best bakers always speak highly of King Arthur. Dennis even got the 00 type pizza flour, so this will be interesting.

I plan on making 12 pizzas, two focaccias, and six loaves, or boules of french type bread. I'd like to try a sciacciata, but don't know if I'll have the time to bring the oven up, make the bread after letting it cool a bit, then bring it back up for pizza.

 I've also had my eye on a crab stuffed mushroom recipe that you can dip pita bread in the garlic infued oil. Of course that means you need a good pita recipe, so...



First Pizza Party

General — Posted by timo @ 18:53

We had our first pizza party. The pizzas turned out very good. Everyone pretty much made their own pizzas. The dough was a bit wet and difficult to manage for most, so I did a lot of that. I don't think dough management is big with this group... Take it easy.

  This is the oven during fire-up stage. The soot and creosote builds up on the walls until the bricks reach about 700 degrees and then they go white and it all burns clean.

The oven is beginning to fire hotter now. I believe it is curing and the use of hard wood creates more heat. The chimney got hotter than ever before,, so too did the brick arches and the flue and, well, everything. It was a bit scary how this oven can behave.

Click the flaming picture to watch the video and see what these flames look like when they are churning away in the dome. For some reason most people mumble something about the flames...It's kinda scary sometimes.

Here's a focaccia with salt and rosemary on it. I sliced it and served it to the shower planning committee. It was gone very quickly. Everyone said it was good, and... I have to agree. It was pretty darn good. Plenty of oil and hot out of the oven. It was just nice to finally have a really good piece of bread come out of the oven.

As far as the other hearth loaves, let's just say I am still dialing in the art of artisan bread.


 So, I'll just keep trying. Usually the bread is better than what I will admit, but still not want I wanted. The dang oven was just too hot. The dough over proofed waiting for it to come down. Usually the temps fall quicker, but because of the heat soaking and curing, the oven just sat at 740 forever. It was amazing to swab the hearth with a soaked cloth and clean and steam it. Then the temp raced back up after the steam faded.

I'll toast them in the morning to see what they tatste like.

Another recipe that actually turned out were the stuffed mushrooms.

I thought I put enough oil in the pan, but the mushrooms soaked it all up,except for a little. I loved the taste of these so much I forgot to place some oil in a dish to dip the focaccia.

Not bad for the first pizza party though. There are no actual pictures of pizzas, though. I was manning the oven and not the camera, so...

Next time I will have to take pictures of the pizzas as they come out. The best ones were the ones that charred a bit. That meant the crust was crunchy and the char actually provides flavor.

That's all for now. I will take a break from the oven for a few weeks after tomorrow. Lot's of work prepping for the party...



Now That's a Pizza!

General — Posted by timo @ 15:21

This was the first pizza out at the first pizza party and it was made by Nancy. I think it was one of the better ones because it has some char and looks great. The dough also used King Arthur type 00 pizza flour. Hard to work at times, but tasted very good from the oven.


Biscotti, Focaccia and Pizza Sunday

General — Posted by timo @ 18:03

The Bears still stink. But the food is great here at home. I'll let the pictures tell the story. I liked the biscotti with the chocolate dip...mmmmm.

That's the end of the pictures and the end to a very tasty night.

Gus's Corner Oven has Even More Final Touches Now

General — Posted by timo @ 15:08

Here's some more pictures of the oven. This one shows the flagstone known as El Capitan.

I placed some flagstone in the cooking area with screenings between the stones.

I used one giant, thicker and larger stone about 2x4, set so I can step on it when cooking. I call it El Capitan. Everyone looks at me like I am crazy, but I am the chief on the rock when it's time to work the oven at 800+ degrees.

In the rain, it looks like the doors are doing what I wanted to do, which is keep rain and eventually the snow out.

The iron hangers on the sides are actually iron dachshund heads. We bought three of them in Door County this summer. The ones on the right hold the oven door when not needed. The one on the left will be for paddles and such.

The doors were actually made out of some treated wood I salvaged from a ramp Gus once used to travel up and down to do his daily routines. Don't worry, they were belt sanded down, anyway if any food touches the doors it's probably going on the ground, too.

After 14 years it finally caught up with him and his joints and just about everything else was making it too hard to do anything, but travel flat. Still miss that little dog a lot and can almost see him sniffing everything out and then blessing it all in his own special way.

I had to cut the inside edge of the doors at a 45 degree angle so when they close they don't hit the walls. The gate latch seems to work well as a clasp . There is a bit of play but that is alright. I found an old cart on the roadside that I thought would work well. It is all metal with two side flaps that fold up and a center area with a small metal draw. There is also a small shelf underneath were I should be able to store wood for the night so I don't have to keep going back under the oven when cooking.

A few more weeks I will paint the stucco dome and perhaps the walls.

Next Friday is my birthday and then Sunday is Paula's baby shower. I think for Friday night I will make some pizzas and try to keep the oven really hot for the next couple of days to really dry it out and cure it after this week's anticipated rains. Then, on Saturday I will have to try and make some turkey breasts for the shower. I'll have to get a few chickens to toss in with the turkeys, too, just to experiment.

Hope the rain goes where it should!

A Nice Slice...

General — Posted by timo @ 17:08

Here's a nice slice of pizza from today. We made four pizzas and a few small loaves from the left over pizza dough that actually turned out prettty nice.This piece is nice because of the hole pattern of the crumb. It was crunchy on the outside and chewey on the inside.This recipe was from my newbread book by Jeffrey Hammleman. More of a commerical style book, but has some good recipes and techiques.

Aren't These the Cutest Little Loaves...

General — Posted by timo @ 03:16

From the left over pizza dough, I popped these in and this is how they turned out.

They browned up nicely and are dense and chewey. With some butter they are really good. I tried some the next morning.

I think some day soon I would like to make some rolls like these. They remind me of the bread we use to get at the Water Stone Market, but they closed down.

Almost addicting to chew and taste with butter. Mmmmm.

This afternoon we experimented with turkey breats in the oven. I think I am going to slow roast them, but lite a small fire in a coffee can with some wet, mequite wood chips. Mmmmm.

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