Some tricks and tips to know and use better your wood fired oven :
To check the temperature of the oven floor :
- A pinch of flour thrown on the oven floor burns and smokes at 270°C and higher.
- It turns black progressively and turns black at 220°C
- Sugar turns brown, then black from 170 °C on
- One drop of water sprinkled on bricks evaporates under 100°C.
- When a drop of water scatters into fine droplets in contact with the sole, the temperature is above 200°C.
- After grilling, just put the coals on top of the grill spot. All greases and meat juices will burn off.
- To eliminate all marks left by ashes after sweeping, use a coconut brush with a long handle. Dip it in cold water beforehand to prevent it from catching fire.
Lighting the fire
- It is important to light the fire at the entrance of the oven , under the flue, and using pieces of dry wood.
- In order to always have dry wood to start the fire : put it into the oven while it is still warm (not hot). Of course, the oven has to be cleaned of all ashes beforehand.
- Getting the best out of your oven without loosing any time: always plan to cook with an open oven first, then with a closed oven.
For example: Bake pizzas for lunch, a gratin for dinner and, the next morning, without reheating the oven, cook a « cream renversee »
Drying fruit, vegetables, mushrooms
- The oven is closed and the temperature is not higher than 60°C for fruits and vegetables, 40°C for mushrooms
- With time, you will find the right drying temperature
- Drying tomatoes, fruits with pits and certain mushrooms requires several sessions. Dry these foods in two sessions at a three day interval, reheating the oven each time.
- Drying herbs: put the herbs on the swept oven floor (in a cooling oven, not more than 30°C and close the exterior door). The oven is extremely dry, the brick will absorb the moisture from the herbs in 24 hours.
- Drying apples :Peel an apple and cut it into 2 mm slices. Put them side by side on a grill in the oven at 50-60°C. In one night the apple slices will be dry and crispy.
- If the oven is installed outside, it can also be a remarkable smoking chamber, with salmon or trout, for example.
- Put an 8 mm layer of dry beech sawdust in a semi-circle around the edges of the oven floor.
- After salting, the food to be smoked is placed on an elevated grill in the center of the oven.
- Light the sawdust on one end. For about 12 hours, the sawdust will burn very slowly, giving off a great deal of smoke but no heat. This method gives excellent results. It is important to check the oven regularly, as the fire often goes out.