When I built the brick oven in our yard, one of the questions people asked (and I asked myself) was "Will it work in the depths of a prairie winter?" I always figured we'd be OK so long as we didn't let the oven freeze solid but until last week I admit I felt a little trepidation. Well, things went amazingly well, even with temperatures around -25C and the wind chill at -40C. A couple notes:
The oven heated up pretty much as usual. Maybe a little longer burn, but nothing too crazy.
The oven did cool a little quicker than normal. Once the mass is saturated, it usually cools about 10F per hour. In the freezing cold last week, the temperature dropped 20F per hour, which is still very manageable
The door is still the biggest source of heat loss. I had to switch the loaves around a bit but, again, given the temperatures outside it was more than acceptable.
Whoever thought to position the oven so the back blocked north winds was pretty smart! We were as sheltered as possible, without having the oven indoors.
I can load the oven really, really quickly when my hands are freezing.
Those human interest stories on the news are true -- exposed flesh does freeze in a minute or so. I got a mild case of frostbite on my hands by the end of the bake day. Nothing too bad but I had purple fingers for a couple hours.
So all in all, a great learning experience and I was really pleased with the quality of our midwinter bread. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed baking it for you.
I'm really excited about introducing some new bread to the list over the coming weeks, but this week we're going to stick with some old standbys to keep your bellies full during the short days. Comfort food to enjoy wrapped in a blanket, in your favorite chair with a good book and a cup of tea...
#1: Orange Boot Multigrain Loaf: Our best seller, this large loaf is bursting with corn meal, rolled oats, brown rice and local organic unbleached flour. A touch of honey and plenty of buttermilk gives a touch of sweetness and tang too!
#2: Potato, Cheddar and Chive Torpedo: This is a huge favorite with the folks who like cheese bread (like, everyone in our family for example.) With real potatoes, sharp cheddar cheese and a healthy portion of chives in each loaf, I think of it as 'perogie bread'. Either way it's a really tasty treat and is great on its own or in a funky sandwich.
As is our custom — please order by 6PM on Wednesday by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 522-1592. Your bread will be ready for pickup between 3PM and 6PM on Friday and can be picked up at 2904 Wascana Street. If you need the bread delivered I can do that after 6:00PM Friday but please call in advance to arrange for delivery.
Robyn promises to reply and confirm every email order we receive. So if you don't hear from us within 24 hours please call or email again.
Best wishes this week! Mark, Cindy, Ben and Robyn