We had a good night in the kitchen, though we did need to enlist the help of an electric fan. I had the fan, the participants had plastic aprons and a wood-fired oven – that really tested their capacity to stay cool under pressure.
In a way it was fortunate that we’d decided to light the fire by committee. I asked the farmer if we could have it lit and he passed the message to Tim. The farmer thought 4 pm was soon enough to light it and Tim was a bit on the cheese-paring side with the wood. All in all, we didn’t end up with the roaring furnace that I would have done, but I suppose we could say they were being careful with the Earth’s resources.
You could also say they were being tight, but as I use TESCO’s cheapest flour and cheapest tomato sauce I’m not one to talk. I’m not known as the Prince of Parsimony for nothing. (OK, I admit I just made that up).
You test the temperature of a pizza oven by bravely thrusting your arm into it. If the hair on your arm instantly burns off, the temperature is right. Of course, you can only do that around twice a month. Ideally I would have had a variety of dough and casseroles available to cook as it went down in temperature.
If it doesn’t burn off you aren’t up to temperature. I still have two hairy arms. However, it’s a challenge rather than a disaster so you just have to be patient.
Fortunately everybody was patient and good-natured, but it did take over an hour to cook all the pizzas. It isn’t the fastest process in the world, even using baking paper, but it should have been quicker than that. If we’d used an electric oven the convenience of the eating experience would probably have been improved, even if we may not have laughed so much. We ended up using the electric ovens for the last few anyway. Funny how we’re retro about food, with wood-fired ovens and old methods, but I don’t see anyone sitting on the side of the river bashing their washing with stones.
Just a thought…