Bread baked in a wood-fired oven is a special treat, as high heat is the best environment for the perfect risen moist loaf with a crunchy crust. Baking bread in your wood-fired oven is an art in itself and unfortunately a little time consuming since you need to fire up your oven to the optimum temperature and then let it cool down again. Perfect bread is usually baked at a temperature of 130°C – 200°C and it is, therefore, convenient to use the heat of the oven after you’ve just cooked a feast in it to make the most of the cooling process. An indicator of your bread being cooked through all the way is to tap the bottom of the loaf in the centre for a hollow sound. To ensure a crispy crust you can also spray water to the centre of the oven dome to create steam. We have put together three tried and tested delicious bread recipes you want to make the next weekend.
Ingredients: 500g flour, 2Tbsp salt, 4Tbsp sugar, 70ml lukewarm milk, 6 eggs, 350g butter diced and at room temperature, 30g yeast, 1 extra yolk for brushing
Method: Let your wood-fired oven cool down to a temperature of about 170°C. Place the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and slowly add the milk and yeast. Mix everything together and carefully add the eggs one by one. Once all eggs are incorporated, add the butter per dice. Your dough should be shiny and smooth and not stick to the bowl before you let it rise covered with cling film for about an hour in an ovenproof dish. Lightly brush the dough with the egg yolk and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes.
Ingredients: 550g flour, 2Tbsp sea salt, 325ml lukewarm water, 20g yeast, 45ml olive oil, 90g blue cheese, 90g shredded mozzarella, 90g brie
Method: Allow your oven to cool down to a temperature of around 200°C. Put flour and salt in a mixing bowl and dissolve the yeast in the water in a separate container. Add the olive oil and mix the liquid with the flour and salt. Knead the dough thoroughly for about 10 minutes and allow proofing for one hour. Divide the dough into two balls and roll one out on parchment paper to the size of about 20x10cm. Gently prick with a fork and sprinkle over the cheeses until 1cm around from the edges.
Sprinkle the gap with olive oil and roll out the second dough ball the same size. Place on top of the cheese covered dough and seal both together using your fingers. Make sure no cheese can leak out. Let sit for another 20 minutes before poking the classic focaccia holes into the surface. Sprinkle with seas salt and drizzle with olive oil before popping into the oven for about 18 minutes with the door slightly left ajar. The focaccia is served best when still warm.
Ingredients: 550g flour plus extra for dusting, 225ml lukewarm water, 1Tbsp salt, 1Tbsp honey, 300g sourdough starter, oil for greasing
Method: Mix the flour with the water, salt, honey and the sourdough starter in a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined and not sticky, otherwise add a little more flour or water to get the texture right. Once the mixture is combined knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 3 hours. Dust the dough with flour and knock out any air bubbles only to let it rise again for another 6-8 hours under cling film until doubled in size. Let your oven cool down to a temperature of about 160°C-180°C and place an ovenproof dish with water in the oven to create some steam. Once you see steam rising place your loaf right on the oven floor and bake for about 40-45 minutes until golden brown and there is a hollow sound when tapped. Let cool for about 20 minutes before cutting.