Timo's Oven...Because I can!

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.

Just About Final Look

General — Posted by timo @ 14:28

This is just about the final look of the oven. I might wash the dome in a darker shade, but I have always loved orange, and right now it's in season.

It is more waterproof now, but not entirely. I still have lots of wood in the storage area below and want to keep that dry. The walls have a washed orangey-brown, mottled look to them and a texture that's both smooth and rough. I like it a lot.


Hard to believe it's been over 6 months since I started this project. I broke ground on May 2nd, and just hammered on it really hard. Now the real fun begins with all of the great breads and pizzas to be making in it. I haven't had the chance to make much of anything lately, but I believe next week I will be making some pizzas and bread. I have the makings for some multi-grain breads and I want to make a rye lavash.


Here's a picture of the very beginning.

All I can say is...wow! What a big difference.

By the way, I went to the doctor and looked at the scale and it looks like now that I am done with the heavy lifting, I better start running again.

Next week is the Bears game, but it doesn't start until 7:30pm, so maybe I'll have some neighborhood people over before the game for pizzas. We'll see...

PS. Here's a nice picture of Alex and Tate on the trails at Starved Rock.


How to Stretch a Dough Ball...

General — Posted by timo @ 03:37

Here's a post about shaping pizza dough. I am including a couple videos so guests can get an idea on how to stretching their dough, without adding dirt to it.


The first one is from Tony Gemignani. Remember, in this situation gas is your friend :)


Here's one a bit tamer.

Here's the Visa Pizza commercial. This guy is crazy good. Remember, you don't have to be this good to make a great tasting pizza with a brick oven and some decent ingredients.

If you want to have some fun, you can play the Visa Pizza Tossing commercial music, Mambo Italiano! The song is 3 minutes long, about how long it takes to bake your pizza in the brick oven.


Download song Here.

Bread and Pizza

General — Posted by timo @ 07:03

Here's some pictures of the loaves of left over pizza dough from this weekend's neighborhood pizza party.

The light colored ones are the left over pizza dough. The other ones are 5 grain loaves. They turned out really nice. Nice flavor and texture.

I mixed about 30#'s of dough in the Kitchen Aid mixer. It lost a bolt and the main locking pin almost fell out, too. I won't be mixing that much dough again for a while.

I don't have any pictures of the pizzas, but all had a great time, well, except for Mr. Klein. Gary, please don't sue me.  I hate that wooden deck and the sooner it's gone the better. A concrete patio is much  better.


I am going to try and freeze some of the loaves, too.

Mini-Loaves, or Buns?

General — Posted by timo @ 15:01

Not too sure what to call these just yet. I have a sourdough, a sourdough rye, and a sourdough-rye/wheat combination. I learned that the oven has to be heated enough to soak the firebricks well, so when the flame is gone the retained heat will do the baking. I was very close with these, but the temp should have stayed 100 degrees higher for longer.

I have a bunch and sent some home with Dennis and Nancy. The sourdough flavor is just right: You can taste it, but not overly powerful. The rye flour is good, but the wheat/rye loaves have the most flavor. A nutty, slightly bitter flavor with a nice crunchy crust on the bottom.

The steam released after ten minutes was tremendous, so I think I have learned a bit about how wet to make the dough.


Here's one more:

Pizza Party Pics!

General — Posted by timo @ 14:01

Here are some pictures from the big Neighborhood Pizza Party.  People stopped in at different times. I was surprised a few people tried new pizzas all together.

 I was very glad the weather cooperated, but toward the end it got pretty darn cold out. Thanks to the Bloomquists for helping out at the end to clean up and organize.



Here's a shot of me doing what probably made my back give out a bit. Too much leaning in and stooping down to keep an eye on the pizza. To many words between glances at the pizza and it was a completely, charred wreck. Lesson learned.





As my wife described it, "Every guy had to stick his head in the oven to see the fire!" That's OK. Pizza and fire is a guy thing.



Here's a shot of some of the pizzas from the day. Some of the dough really shot up in the oven, making some giant bubbles to pop up and get charred. Ummmm, charrrrr.





I am glad to have a picture like this. I was covered with flour and tired and my back hurt, but 20 years from now I'll remember this time.


For all you budding pizza oven builders, notice there's no smoke coming from the chimney, just clean hot exhaust.


What kid doesn't like pizza? But where's the pizzaiola?





Next up is Thanksgiving. Hoping for a turkey, fresh ham, bread, pizza the night before, and perhaps apple turn-overs the morning of. Need to start planning now...

Thanksgiving Test Loaf

General — Posted by timo @ 15:09

I plan on baking four different types of rolls for Thanksgiving. I am testing some recipes for a giant center piece loaf, and I think this may be it. It's a naturally leavened bread, which means it's sourdough leavened. It's also a 50/50 whole wheat/bread flour bread, too. I cheated and dropped in an ounce or two of honey to temper the slight bitterness from the whole wheat. I also bought a bag of vital wheat gluten-it's the stuff that makes the bread act like bread that rises and holds and traps the gasses from the leavening agent in dough.

The pictured loaf weighs in at 4.068 lbs. I think it's got the size, color and shape to make a great loaf. I haven't had a chance to taste it yet, and of course that's the last part. The main loaf will either be whole wheat based, or a rye. I'll try a rye next time. Have to get the rye starter ready about mid-week and try again next week end.

Thanksgiving Turkey...Almost...

General — Posted by timo @ 16:29

Well, sorry about the turkey being late. I don't exactly know if it was the thermometer, or what, but it took entirely to long to get out of the oven. At least the ham was good. And the bread. Here's a pic of the spread. To repeat...sorry about the turkey, bread good.


Timo's Oven

General — Posted by timo @ 13:58

Here's the cover drawing from a recipe book my daughter made. After scanning it, I tossed some more color into it and I think it looks really nice. I think it would make a really nice apron, and perhaps a nice logo.

Maybe a coffee mug, too. I bet it could even be made into a rubber stamp.




Fire Up the Oven!

General — Posted by timo @ 03:15

Here's a short video of firing up the oven prior to making pizzas and bread the following morning. More about getting the oven ready for baking. Enjoy!


Why a Brick Oven Video

General — Posted by timo @ 12:09

Watch the latest video tiltled, "My Oven Journey" and see how it all happened.

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