About two years and ago my good friend Laura, a talented , ever inquisitive chef, gardener, doctor , acupuncturist etc. all around good buddy, decided to take the worlds best class. A professional baking class , working with naturally leavened breads baked in a brick oven. This was no sissy class . I think there were two week long sessions. Anyway she came back with about ninety loaves of gorgeous bread. Of course being the generous friend she is our freezer got filled.
Anyway you have to realize that I’m a bakery freak. I plan my routes on drives and trips by what bakery we’ll stop at.Growing up in the bay area honed my taste buds for fine food from a early age. Or maybe some of my great grandmother’s Danish blood .My mothers good cooking .Whatever , I truly appreciate baked food.So when she showed up on my doorstep with these fine morsels and my husband agreed by wolfing them down as well.I proposed an idea( always one for ideas, my poor friends)…How about I build a brick oven and she can teach me what she learned. Then we could of course bake together. She laughed but probably should have known I would really do it.
Soooo a year later the oven just finished I planned a big party to celebrate.So now I better learn fast how to bake the bread I was planning the party around it . Now I’m a hands on learner not a book learner. Even though she had been pushing books my way they had gone in one eye out the other.So of course as always she pulled it off. Even got excited herself about it I think. She showed up here with a kitchen full of bread baking paraphenalia that would never fit into my extra small kitchen.Scales, bread boards, plastic tubs all sizes and the key ingredient, a starter from the San Francisco Baking Institute .
We began and 90 loaves later we had the most wonderful party with roast leg of lamb( brick ovens cook meat so well), roasted root veggies out of the garden, breads four + kinds , cheeses, salads. A fresh blackberry crisp that kind of burned because we still didn’t know how to judge the temperature of the oven. Anyway we were on our way with that one crash course. I keep reading and experimenting and I think I’m starting to catch on.
This leaves out an important part of this story. How we needed a roof over the oven and what evolved then. Because it might rain at the party.