Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Brick Oven Bread vs Pizza: no contest

traditional Quebec oven
Dufferin Grove Park Bread Loaves

When I examine the motivation that drives people and communities to build  brick ovens, it tends to come to BREAD.
It's fair to say pizza is a close second but an old, if perhaps folkloric, story of the roots of pizza may frame the contest as a cooperative game:

Garden and Oven meet

Town bakers, readying the great oven for the baking of bread, got hungry. The logs in the oven were blazing, heating the dome and hearth bricks. Beside the bakers  troughs of  bread dough rose softly. Nearby (perhaps in a sack) were hunks of local cheese, maybe a pepper, or tomato. They would have had their stoppered flask of olive oil.
Pinching a bit of dough from the bread trough, they flattened the lump, crumbled some cheese on the disc, sliced on a piece of vegetable or hard sausage and slid it in the oven. Minutes later, they sated their appetites with the risen, baked, bubbling flatbread.

Reasonable enough?  Pizza can be an end in of itself.
But experienced (read 'hungry') bakers often see the pizza fire as just the beginning.  Each time I fire my oven, I prepare bread dough for loaves.  The even 500-degree oven that follows the pizza firing is perfect for bread baking and, for me, the satisfaction gotten from pulling fresh loaves from the oven is unsurpassed.  Give me any reason and I will make many more loaves than I can reasonably eat myself.
30 hours later, I'm still eating the bread (having given away the fresh loaves the day of the baking), and the oven is still warm enough to slow-cook.

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