Sourdough in the Wood Fire Oven

Heavenly is how I would describe the taste of sourdough loaves cooked in a wood fire oven. I absolutely love the taste and that’s why I often buy my loaves from Red Beards in Trentham. (My friends informed me that they have had the same “master yeast” for the past twenty-something years).

I am new to all of this baking business but it is apparently common knowledge that bakers will take their master yeast with them as they travel around the world as it’s one of their most prized possessions. I also only recently learnt of “master stock” where Chinese and Thai families pass their stock down through the generations. They use the master stock as the base, add to it, take what they need from that batch and keep the rest, repeating the process and collecting all of the flavours of the ages. Amazing!

Inspired by this lesson in history, I attempted my first lot of sourdough loaves in a wood fire oven on Easter Monday, and although there is some serious tweaking that needs to be done next time, overall we were all pretty happy with the results.

Firstly, I let the dough rise for too long so it was absolutely exploding before I placed it in the oven (probably shouldn’t put it in direct sunlight). Secondly, the oven was too hot so the outside cooked too quickly and the middle of some loaves were not cooked through (contrary to my blog on conscious cooking, i need to correct myself as the bread should be baked at around 200 degrees so before the lamb…). Thirdly we rushed it so next time we will give it an hour between taking the fire out and baking the bread so that the heat is more evenly distributed. We had to keep turning the loaves as they were burning on the side closest to the back.

Overall the result was great. Freshly baked bread was enjoyed with good friends, olives, tomatoes, olive oil and dips…and of course some beautiful wine. We are planning regular bread-baking experiments and I can’t wait to try the next batch!

Pics of my boys enjoying the afternoon…

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