We’re so close now we can taste it! Er, and taste it we did! Yesterday I made a modified Pain au Levain (aka Holey Hannah), 65% Rye (Ryed On!), Multigrain (Grainy Day), and Spelt bread (Speedy Bread), AND THEN WE BAKED THEM IN THE BRICK OVEN. Wow. Our friend Christine was there to document the inaugural baking (photos below), and then later Margaret and Emily just “happened by” and got to do some tasting. The oven never reached the temperatures we wanted it to, so some of the bread didn’t cook so well. I guess that means the next time we fire the oven it will be pretty damn hot as we burn barrow-loads of firewood to over-compensate for the low temps last night. We get a lot of comments about our choice of firewood: beetle-killed, super dry pine, as opposed to birch, the only real hardwood in the area. The birch doesn’t grow right in Wells, however, and neither does Douglas Fir which would also be a more BTU-rich firewood. We would need to go 50-80 kms west for birch, and about the same east for Douglas Fir. I know it IS possible to get the oven up to the proper temperatures by burning pine, this is what the folks at Red Rooster Artisan Bakery in Prince George use as firewood. We will just have to learn how to fire the oven properly over the next few weeks or so. I really don’t think cutting down live birch trees in Quesnel and then trucking them all the way to Wells is really the kind of thing we want to get into – one of the nice things about having a wood-fired bakery is that we are not burning any fossil fuels to produce the bread. Except for gas and chain oil for the chainsaw. And until the climate changes enough that we can grow grains in Wells, we’ll be burning gas to drive to Quesnel to pick up supplies. And, there’s the lighter fluid in the lighter to start the fires, and…
So, this is the first few days of this week, curing the concrete and insulating the oven.
And while the concrete was curing we were busy making things we will need before we go into production.
Now the real test: actually making food that should be somewhat edible. We had to have some pizza with the first bake day, it just wouldn’t have been right not to.
Next the bread goes in.
Today we are re-grouping and getting ready to bake for the first big public test: The Wells Farmer’s Market, Sunday July 13, from 9 am to 1 pm at the red-roofed gazebo where the highway crosses the Willow River. Be there to support the inaugural market! The markets will be every second Sunday through July, August and September.