Backyard Bread Oven
Begin to fire your oven about three hours before you plan to bake. The breadmaking process takes about an hour and a half, so plan accordingly.
Adobe Bread Recipe
3 cups very warm water
3 teaspoons salt
¼ cup sugar, honey or sweetener
3 tablespoons bakers’ yeast
7 to 9 cups flour of any kind
Optional: If you use whole rye or other specialty flour without much gluten, add ½ cup gluten flour.
In large bowl, combine water, salt and sweetener. Sprinkle yeast on top and allow to foam, about 15 minutes.
Mix in flour until mixture becomes stiff but not dry.
Turn onto floured countertop (hint: sprinkle cold water on the countertop and smooth lengths of plastic wrap on it to facilitate easier cleanup) and knead until springy. If you add flour during kneading, make sure dough remains moist, not dry. Kneading should take about 10 minutes.
Clean your bowl and oil it; place kneaded dough into bowl and allow to rise almost double.
Sprinkle cornmeal on cookie sheets.
Divide dough into four pieces and either roll into long loaves or shape into round ones. Allow to rise again until almost double.
Just near the end of this rising, remove ashes, sweep the oven floor clean, and close the door with a damp towel to “soak.”
Carry your risen loaves carefully to bread oven. Open door and set aside. Gently set each loaf on peel, position peel inside oven, and with quick thrust, set loaves on oven floor. Close door.
Bread should bake about 20 minutes, but there are many variables with your handmade oven. Keep your nose and intuition attuned for when bread is done. Loaves should be brown and crusty. You can tap on loaf and listen for hollow sound to double-check.
Use peel to remove loaves when done. Allow loaves to sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting.