Amazing Wood Fire Baking

February 11th, 2013 | Posted by greg in Classes & Demo | Daily life...

This is easily one of the best baking day I’ve had in a very long time…

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Several months ago, my friend Ping from Zen Organic Farm showed me plans to build a brand new brick oven, I thought I was dreaming… Have a look here to see the photos of the building process. We are in Hong Kong, a (arguably) world-class mega city where things like that have disappeared and where it is actually illegal to use a wood fired oven because of safety issues; yet, Ping had the greatest idea in the world with his beautiful brick oven, outdoor, at the farm. By the way, if you’re wondering about the fancy paintings, it was done by an art student.

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The great thing about going to the farm is that you find just about anything, anywhere… In one corner I walked pass a bunch of Blue Borage flowers (who are great for infusion and even better when the bees decide to make honey out of it!) and the very next patch was full of ripening tomatoes including lovely cherry tomatoes and stunning black tomatoes!

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I prepared a few things to bake in the wood fire oven and as usual, the excitement took over the reason. So we quickly found ourselves with a queue of food to be baked, but not enough time in the day for all. We started with thin focaccia on which we had the kids garnishing fresh cherry tomatoes, grilled bacon, sea salt, olive oil and loads of freshly chopped rosemary from the garden! The focaccia recipe was the same as in La Boulangerie!

There is something about picking produces from the Earth, prepare them, cook them and eat them – it’s a lesson of life for the kids (and for some grown ups too!) which can’t be taught in class rooms…

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For the focaccia, the oven was very hot and it was a super cool baking moment! I LOVED it! We did about 6 or 7 focaccia and they disappeared within minutes! Next in the queue was the meat to roast, followed by loaves of malted rye sourdough with a dough that had been kneaded a day ahead…

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To end the meal on a sweet note, we had Zen Farm’s delicious strawberries, freshly picked from the garden and a whole lot of double cream custard made with my friend Alain Abel’s Bora Bora Vanilla – it was just pure happiness, really.

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On the book shelf of the farm was a few familiar books. A great day of baking with friends, ending with a few glasses of the Farm’s very own fig & honey wine which matched heavenly the French farm cheeses we brought over for the occasion. The good news of the day is that next to the oven, Ping is building a workshop room where classes can be held! *blink blink* ;)

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