This week has been an exciting time at the bakery as our oven finally made its way from Verona, Italy to Rockford. Since naturally leavened breads require slow wild yeast fermentation, a majority of the production process happens way before any heating element is ever turned on. Thus, peeling the dough onto the hearth of the oven is the final act of baking and the resulting loaves wholly validate all the previous days' efforts. Ovens built specifically for artisan style bread baking provide an intensely penetrating heat from the stone hearth while pumping a generous amount of steam into the chamber which allows for maximum expansion of highly hydrated dough. This combination is what contributes to the breads being voluminous and gorgeous...with a shattering crispy crust and an open tender crumb.
The oven is certainly the heart of any bakery and now that ours has arrived, we feel complete. Over the last couple of months, many people have contributed their time, talent, and resources towards preparing and equipping the C&C kitchen for launch. And a majority of this week has been spent on assembling and running connections to this amazing piece of equipment. The good news is we are 99% done with the renovation. The bad news is this heavy installation week has prevented us from being able to bake for the markets. We will miss seeing you all at City Market tonight and at North End Market tomorrow! Every oven has its own character and quirks, so we will be busy spending all the days until next market to learn and familiarize ourselves with our new friend. I cannot wait to break it in and share with all of you the breads that will come out of it.