Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sourdough and focaccia on a Sunday night

On Sunday, we attached roofing felt and metal lathe on three sides and the roof to prepare for attaching the slate, stone and stucco to finish the outer oven cladding. So far, it has taken us two months - since Labor Day - to get to this point. Larry says this is the funnest thing he's ever built. I'm glad we get to build another oven at our property up north.

After working on the oven for a while, I was half tempted to NOT start a fire to prepare for baking bread (late in day, getting dark, blah, blah, blah). And then friend and neighbor, Sue, stopped over. She has just made the first two loaves from some new sourdough starter and wanted to know if our oven was going. So of course we started it up and told her it would be 2 hours to bake time.

I whipped up some focaccia dough (recipe from Cook's 4-Ingredient cookbook), but before we cooked the bread, we cooked some chicken breasts. They were FABULOUS! The oven was at about 500 degrees F, so I marinated them for less than an hour in Chicken Becker marinade from "The Joy of Cooking." I placed them (with some olive oil) in a large iron roasting pan and slid it in with the fire going and the door off. They sizzled and smelled wonderful and they were cooked in about 7 minutes. A simple salad and some whole wheat bread that I had made a couple days before completed the meal. After dinner, we cooked Sue's soudough (shown). It turned out great - maybe a shade too done.

Next day, the stove was at 315 dome and 285 sole, so we put a pork roast in for the day and went to work. The fire had been out for about 12 hours. The whole process (from splitting wood to eating) is SO much fun! It really makes me spend WAY more time outside than I usually do this time of year. And so I am a happier camper!

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