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Monday, September 30, 2013

Shiny Bread from the Wood-Fired Oven

There has been  lot of talk lately on the Masonry Heater Association Chat list about bread baking and I thought I'd share some ideas about how I get a shiny bread from a wood-fired oven.

My niece traveled to France a few years ago and interviewed a baker there who was using a wood-fired oven - the same one used for generations by his family, and the oldest in France.  The baker said that he put a tray of water in the oven every time he bakes, and that is all he does.  The breads do come out with a nice shine to them.  You might try it and let us know if it works for you. 

I do know of another method which has been used by my Italian side of the family for years  - they make an egg wash, just a beaten egg - and brush it over the loaf before putting the bread in the oven.  Not sure where that idea started, but I use it when I bake egg bread every Christmas in the family tradition.  That may be considered cheating by the bread baking purists, but it sure does make a nice looking loaf of bread. When I find a picture of one I'll post it.  

The photo above is a loaf of egg bread I made last Thanksgiving without the egg wash and it is not shiny - but it sure tasted great anyway!