Saturday, August 3, 2019

A Bake with Daniel des Rosier

A couple of weeks ago at the Kneading Conference of the Maine Grain Alliance in Skowhegan, Maine, I managed my portable brick oven for Daniel des Rosier of Boulangerie des Rosier in Quebec (

Daniel and his workshop participants started working earlier than anyone (5am) and continued through the three days culminating in a bake.

Because Daniel does not use a brick oven at his bakery, he depended on me to provide both the oven temperature and atmosphere and an oven that could accommodate multiple bakes on one firing.

Without an undue amount of self-congratulation, I nailed it.  I don't generally due the baking in my family; I'm the fire maker.  Twelve years of experience firing brick ovens has honed my sense of the fire/temperature equation.  Add to this, my advocacy of building ovens with sufficient mass AND excess insulation and I make ovens that will satisfy a demanding (but fun) baker like Daniel.

I was up at 4:30 on bake day having banked the fire the night before.  Daniel had the 520F oven for his four-batch bake of 70 loaves.  Throughout the day, I adjusted the oven for others, sometimes bumping the oven up to 700F for Kerry Altieri's focaccia and back to the 400-500F for more of Daniels breads.  We finished with pastries at about 380F.  A pleasure all around.