Synopses & Reviews
Most baking books focus simply on how to bake bread or pizza in a wood-fired oven, but From the Wood-Fired Oven
is unlike other baking books. From recipes on how to get maximum use out of a single oven firing to the first live-fire roasting or drying wood for the next fire, this book encompasses a wide range of useful topics for home and artisan bakers.
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. This 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.
In addition to an extensive section of delicious formulas for many types of bread, readers will find chapters on:
- Making pizza and other live-fire flatbreads;
- Roasting fish and meats;
- Grilling, steaming, braising, and frying;
- Baking pastry and other recipes beyond breads;
- Rendering animal fats and clarifying butter; and,
- Food dehydration and infusing oils.
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.
Foreword author Dan Wing (The Bread Builders) said this is the book that many in the wood-fired oven world have been waiting for: "We have needed a book that addresses everything a wood-firing baker and cook has to know, and here it is. If you are just starting now to plan a masonry oven -- or if you have been using one for twenty years, you are still going to want to own this book."
"Richard has done so much more than just transfer his extensive knowledge about baking and wood-fired ovens onto paper in this book; he talks to the reader in a way that makes you feel that he is right in front of you, sharing his experiences, encouraging you to travel down a path that has brought him to where he is. His personal stories and experiences take this book beyond great, to one of a kind. I like that he doesn't assume the reader knows anything. You will learn about the bones of a wood-fired oven, including not just how to use it but how to make the most of it. He covers all the details and answers all the questions before you have to ask. It is a must-have addition to the collection of any food enthusiast, amateur or professional!"
Jeff Yankellow, board chair, Bread Bakers Guild of America
"Even if you don't have a wood-fired oven, and you bake bread, get this book. The technical information about bread is approachable and correct and will bring your bread baking to the next level."
Solveig Tofte, co-owner, Sun Street Breads, Minneapolis
"Finally, a modern and comprehensive wood-fired oven management book! Richard addresses innovations in oven design and offers intelligent approaches to getting the most out of your wood-fired oven. Interweaving homespun anecdotes with solid bread baking and culinary instruction while offering clear explanations of oven design, this book answers the questions and concerns of bakers of all levels."
Melina Kelson, certified master baker, Bootleg Batard and Kendall College
"This is the book for which all wood-fired oven owners, hopeful owners, and serious bakers have been waiting. Richard Miscovich's descriptions and instructions are both practical and inspirationally poetic -- dare I say, soulful. He ignites the fire within, and compels us to want to know what he knows and to bake as well as he bakes. In this book, he shares it all."
Peter Reinhart, author of The Bread Baker's Apprentice and Artisan Breads Everyday
About the Author
Richard 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.