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First Fire

After a lot of hard work we finally reached that milestone of lighting the first fire in our wood-fired oven last Saturday, July 24.  Early May when we broke ground and were digging in very cold rain seems like such time ago now.  I’ll be writing about more about what it took to get us this far in the project but now here are some more pictures.

Chimney is 2/3 finished

The chimney enclosure built from the weathered bricks is about two-thirds finished.  We’ll build it higher, cap it and put a spark arrestor and chimney cap on top.  The bricks were salvaged from a neighbour on the island who was tearing their chimney down.

Unfired dome

That’s what the dome looked liked before the first fire.  Chances are that it will never look that clean again…

Fired dome.

Because this is what it looks like during and after a fire though at top temperatures the fire will burn the soot from the dome (known in brick-oven slang as “clearing the dome”).

Obviously the oven is about food.

Melted Cambanzola on crackers

And wine.

Coyote's Run 2007 Red Paw Cabernet Franc from NIagara

And more wine.

Norm Hardie Unfiltered Chardonnay from Prince Edward County

And dessert.

Blueberry-peach cobbler before the toppings (and whiskey whipping cream) were added.

Right now we’re going through the curing process where we light an series of increasing large fires over several days.  The idea here is to slowly drive all the moisture out of the masonry so that it can uniformly reach pizza-cooking temperatures.

We’ve installed the insulation and that means that other than finishing jobs like the chimney and finding or constructing tools our only major task is the stucco we’re going to put over the dome.  We still have to settle on a final colour for the stucco so I’d appreciate any input–especially that references movies set in Italy or British sports cars from the sixties.

Speaking of tools I’d appreciate suggestions on where in Toronto I can find good, three to four foot long peels.

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  1. Manny says:

    I totally have brick oven envy! Tap Phong is a great spot in Chinatown where I usually find oversized kitchen needs.

  2. Sean says:

    How is the Norman Hardie PEC Chardonnay? I’ve tried his Pinots and his Riesling – which was delicious but not to all tastes (the petrol on the nose suited me just fine but was overwhelming to some of my companions).

  3. Monica says:

    Nikolau might have what you’re looking for. I also saw some oversized peels at Nella.

  4. foodwithlegs says:

    Hi Sean, the Chardonnay is quite nice. It has that muskmelon aroma that is distinctively unfiltered chardonnay for me. Alright amount of acid and not at all overwhelmed by oak–in fact I don’t know if it’s oaked at all. My only complaint is that it was a bit thing in the mouth but I started with the Cab Franc so that was probably my error.

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