Image courtesy of King Arthur Flour
In From the Wood-Fired Oven, leading baker and instructor Richard Miscovich offers a new take on traditional techniques for professional bakers, but presents his ideas simply enough to inspire nonprofessional baking enthusiasts as well. Most people know that some items can be baked in a masonry oven with the wood fire burning. But many may not know that other foods can be baked after the ashes of that fire have been brushed out, using the immense store of heat that remains in the masonry mass of the oven dome and the oven floor.
His book explains how you can easily and naturally use all the conditions of temperature, humidity, and radiant heat that the oven produces as it gradually cools. What comes first—pizza or pastry? Roasted vegetables or a braised pork loin? Clarified butter or beef jerky? Readers will find methods and techniques for cooking and baking in a wood-fired oven in the order of the appropriate oven temperature.
Richard Miscovich is the author of From the Wood-Fired Oven. Here, he is shown teaching bread baking techniques.
Appendices include oven-design recommendations, a sample oven temperature log, Miscovich’s baker's percentages, proper care of a sourdough starter, and more. From the Wood Fired Oven is more than a cookbook. It reminds the reader how a wood-fired oven (and fire, by extension) can draw people together and bestow upon them a sense of comfort and fellowship. Cooking and baking from a wood-fired oven is a basic part of a resilient lifestyle and a perfect example of valuable traditional skills being used in modern times
Miscovich began baking European hearth breads in 1996 after graduating in the first class taught at the San Francisco Baking Institute. During that same trip, he visited Alan Scott and was introduced to the Scott brick oven design, just as interest in artisan baking and wood-fired ovens dramatically increased. He immediately began construction of a wood-fired oven in coastal North Carolina, and opened an organic micro-bakery, One Acre Garden and Bakery, specializing in organic artisan hearth breads.
Currently, Miscovich is assistant professor at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition to teaching culinary students, Richard is also a popular instructor for home bakers and brick oven hobbyists, and is a regular guest at venues around the country where he teaches artisan bread-baking techniques, wood-fired baking, and oven-building classes.