Although the weather here is not nearly as bad as this time last year, (when we were a foot deep in snow and it was slithery with ice), it can be still damp, dark and devilishly cold, especially walking along the Hornsea beach. Back in my little upstairs office, with Sophie our cat happily esconced on her woolly red blanket on the worktop beside me, purring her head off, I suddenly had a yearning to write about Wood-Fired Ovens. Maybe it was the thought of those lovely warm flames curling up the inside of the oven, or the aroma of a marinaded Leg of Lamb, sizzling gently inside my terracotta Beehive oven, that leapt into my mind. So ‘Anyone Fancy a Wood-Fired Oven’ is going to be about the start of my quest of what is available in 2014 in the Wood-Fired Oven world.
There, I feel warmer already, just looking at the flames leaping up the back of our oven. This is our brilliant beehive Wood-fired Oven, getting up to temperature last year. We bought this oven about seven years ago, and it has been a pleasure to learn to cook remarkable dishes in it. The fun we have had, and many’s the time we have shared it’s warmth and the metaphorical fruits of it’s womb with family and friends. In the last few years, many different types of these ovens have come on the market, so I decided to have a look at some new shapes and materials and designs of wood-fired ovens that will be available this year, for any of you who fancy having a go. The Stone Bake Oven Company is one I really like the look of, and when the time comes to replace my Beehive Oven, I am seriously considering buying from this company, because of the thought and design that has gone into their ovens.
The Stone Bake Oven Company
This company, The Stone Bake Oven Company, has been around since 2009, steadily building up a reputation and a knowledge second to none. Here’s the technical stuff first. Their ovens are made in the UK “from only the finest refractory materials. Each oven is engineered to ensure excellent heat conduction and heat retention, whilst Micro Mesh technology exclusive to the Stone Bake Oven Company reinforces the oven throughout, to ensure its structural integrity.” Much research has gone into making this environmentally friendly, and their hand-cast ovens are super-efficient when burning fuel.
The Stone Bake Oven Company are both the manufacture and distributor and their team is at the customer’s disposal to both reassure and answer every query. For the domestic chef, who delights in an outdoor kitchen, there are three different types of oven. The Primo 60, a compact form which can be used outside or built inside. The door measurement for this sort of oven is important – it is no good marinading your food for hours then you realise that your dish won’t fit through the oven opening – so this door opening for the Primo 60 is 13 inches (330mm). Everyone wants to cook Pizza in a Wood-Fired Oven – the flavour is second to none, and it only takes 1 – 2 minutes.
Here is a comparison of the 3 wood-fired ovens for domestic use. But look at the company’s website for a good deal of useful and fun information.
Primo 60 The Primo can be either portable or built in. The size of the door is 13″/330mm It can cook 1 large or 2 small Pizzas at the same time. The time to reach maximum heat is 20 minutes, and it retains the residual heat (when you’ve stopped adding wood) for 5 hours.
Mezzo 76 The Mezzo can be wither portable or built in. The size of the door is 15″/381mm. It can cook 2 large or 3 small Pizzas at the same time. The time to reach maximum heat is 30 minutes, and it retains the residual heat of 5 hours.
Vento 100 The Vento is to build in. The door is 20″/501mm. It can cook 4 Pizzas at the same time. The maximum cooking heat it reached in 40 minutes, and the residual heat lasts for a brilliant 24 hours plus (which means you could slow-roast a large piece of pork, or huge turkey, or bake bread for hours and hours), and still have enough heat to cook breakfast the next day.
The added beauty of these ovens is that you can have a simple wood-fired oven, or customise it to suit yourself, or your decor. Some of these ovens end up as works of art, covered in tiles, or mosaics.
At the present time, the Primo 60 basic price is £699. The Mezzo 76 basic price is £1,100, and the Vento 100 basic price is £2,000.
The company also make commercial wood-fired ovens, and are used in some of the top restaurants around the country. Also on the site is a brilliant selection of Recipes for use in these wonderful ovens: recipes such as Stone Bake Focaccia, Stone Bake Grilled Asparagus Spears, Wood Roasted Beer Can Chicken, Wood Roasted Monkfish with Capers, Stone Bake Meaty Calzone, Stone Bake Wood Roasted Lobster, Stone Bake Rock Cakes and loads more interesting recipes to cook in your wood fired oven.
I shall definitely be having a go a some of these delicious recipes this summer, so if you see wisps of smoke spiralling up from my Hornsea garden, and you sniff the wonderful aroma of delicious food, you know that I will have lit up my oven and am just sitting down on a garden chair, awaiting an incredible meal, cooked in my own wood-fired oven. But if any of you fancy a wood-fired oven as well, keep reading, because I will be searching out sites that I feel will be well-worth looking at in the search for a reliable and well-made wood-fired oven.