Monday, April 14, 2008
A new toy
Do dreams come true in real life? Perhaps only the Divine knows the answer and sometimes they do come true. Unfortunately for most of us, we do not know what is really good for us. I was told that if the Divine gave us everything we wished for, there would be an excess of firemen, bus-drivers or any occupation that a kid think is 'cool'.
Ever since I started baking, I have always dreamt of doing it the traditional way in a wood fired oven. After reading Dan Wing and Kiko Denzer, the idea of baking in a wood fired oven was so enticing that I even toyed with the idea of flying to Australia to take a course in baking bread in wood fired ovens just for the experience. However, this remained a dream with my limited resources.
One day, out of the blue, I received an email from a fellow baker who bake breads out of a wood fired beehive oven. Needless to say, I accepted the invitation to see the oven in action without hesitation. The foccacias and bread that came out from the oven was exceptional. It was the kind of bread that I'd have loved to bake and eat. I was amazed by my friend's passion in baking bread and culinary talents which exceeded mine in all counts.
My friend told me that there was still one more oven left sitting in the warehouse. After almost half a year later, the oven is finally sitting in my front yard. The months were spent on indecision, procrastination and anxiety about whether the oven will survive the move. Finally, I opted for the lowest cost solution in siting and housing my oven. Instead of getting a contractor to do up a lean-to extension in my backyard, I opted for a wrought iron stand and a parasol. I will be fabricating an aluminum cover to keep the oven out of the rain. The canvass cover that came with the oven was clearly insufficient for our climate.
This weekend, I finally got to fire up the oven. This was neccessary to season the oven and drive out the moisture in the walls. I got a lot of advice from my kindly friend. The week before, I went down to Temple Street and picked up an ash scraper, a pair of charcoal tongs, a brush for clearing the ash. It was exciting firing up the oven. My wife took the opportunity to pop in chicken to roast since she was in the process of preparing lunch. I couldn't wait for next week to bake some foccacias and pizzas.