Purpose of this blog

This blog will really be a true web log. I will post here about different wood-fired ovens as I find them.

If you know of any wood-fired ovens I should know about, you can send an e-mail to me. (If you build wood-fired ovens, I would like to hear from you too.)

There will lots of posts and lots of labels, since I plan to create one post for every appropriate web site that I find, and however many labels it takes to describe each one (usually at least the type of page and the location of the oven).

The accumulated information will still be found at the real Quest for Ovens web site links pages, but that is not updated as frequently as this blog will be.

If you are from outside the US and Canada, let me know what you find interesting about it. I see that I get visitors from India and Iran, and other faraway places. I'd like to know what draws you to this blog.

I received e-mail from the organizers of the BBC Two television show asking if the Saint Paul Bread Club could post a notice about their show Great British Bake-Off for amateur bakers. The information they gave me is now accessible through a link. (The organizers don't have a web page for the show itself yet.)

Please share this with any amateur bakers in Great Britain you may know, or post the link where they might see it.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wisconsin Wood-Fired Oven Businesses

I'm experimenting with a mapping application. If it works the way I understand it, this post should include a map showing all the businesses in Wisconsin that I am aware of that have wood-fired ovens.

This includes all of the "wisconsin pizza farm" locations.

Note that the map markers have no links to the businesses' web sites. Some of them are accessible on my Business Ovens web page.

You can't assume that places on this map are operating as retail businesses or traditional restaurants. You will need to check each location yourself, but at least you can see where they are in Wisconsin.

06/27/2001: Added three wood-fired oven restaurants in Madison, WI.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Round Barn Farm Bed & Breakfast & Bread, Red Wing, Minnesota

Several years ago now, I got interested in what I called "bread tourism." While there are obvious places for somebody interested in bread to go (King Arthur Flour and the Kneading Conferences for example), one place I discovered was much closer to home, Round Barn Farm Bed & Breakfast & Bread, Red Wing, Minnesota.

I don't remember where I heard about them, but I did want to pay them a visit, so my wife and I went there and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. I did put some info about them on my Quest for Ovens web site on the businesses page.

Their bread baking and breakfast have their own page.

If you are one of their guests, then you can bake some bread in their oven and later take it with you.

Their breakfasts include bread baked in their oven. (I forget the hearth size, but it's an Alan Scott design built into the oldest structure on the farm, an old smoke house.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tinder Hearth Wood-Fired Bread, West Brooksville, Maine

What do should I do when the domain for business seems to be unavailable?

I found a blog post about Tinder Hearth Wood-Fired Bread, West Brooksville, Maine.

Searching for their site, I found an on-line version of a magazine article about them.

But regardless of which source I tried, the link to their site, http://tinderhearth.org/Tinder_Hearth/Tinder_Hearth.html, gets me the message "Firefox can't find the server at tinderhearth.org."
I get a similar message for http://www.tinderhearth.org/Tinder_Hearth/Tinder_Hearth.html.

I checked the WHOIS data base, and maybe there is a clue there. The WHOIS record was last updated on 5/21/11, and the current status is PENDING DELETE RESTORABLE. Sponsoring registrar is GoDaddy.com.

Well, Google still has a cache of some of their pages.

They have do at least have a Facebook page.

05/28/11: I got a response from tinderhearth@gmail.com about the situation:
Our website is indeed down, and we do not have another one besides the facebook page. ...at this point we probably won't get tinderhearth.org up and running again for at least 3 months.
They are just too busy baking to turn their attention to their web site right now.

Bread & Butter Farm, Shelburne, Vermont

While searching for information about another bakery, I came across the site for Bread & Butter Farm, Shelburne, Vermont. (They were mentioned in the Intervale Community Farm Other Products page.)

They have a separate page that talks about their bread and their oven.

Their bakery page says in part:
Our traditional German breads are unique, even in a state with such a lively bread culture. German bread baking focuses on whole grains, natural leaven, and moist dough. The resulting bread, baked in our wood-fired hearth oven is robust, nourishing, and long-lasting.
They also have a Facebook page.

Good Companion Bakery, Vergennes, Vermont

While looking for information about another bakery, I found the site for Good Companion Bakery, Vergennes, Vermont. (They were mentioned in the Intervale Community Farm Other Products page.)

Their home page says in part:

Here at Good Companion Bakery, just outside of Vergennes,
Vermont, we bake classic European artisan breads in a
wood-fired brick oven. Our bakery is part of a working,
diversified farm raising 100% grassfed Angus beef, all-natural
pork, poultry, and a variety of crops.

They have a wonderful page that's a photo essay of "A Day in the Bakery."

Farm to Hearth Wood Fired Bakery, Salem, Connecticut

My Google Alert lucked out for me again. I found an on-line news item about a bakery I had never heard of, Farm to Hearth Wood Fired Bakery, Salem, Connecticut. (I didn't even know Connecticut had a Salem.)

I couldn't find a web site for the business.

The article says, in part:
When he was 16 or 17 years old, Todd Solek built an earthenware oven in his parents' backyard.
"I fired it up, and it didn’t fall apart, so I started baking bread in it," he said. And now, at age 32, Solek has channeled this early passion for bread-making into his unique new business, Farm to Hearth Wood Fired Bakery, located at 26 New London Road in Salem.
This bakery sounds like one I would like to frequent.

05/28/11: Found a couple Facebook pages, here (not updated since Feb., 2011) and here.

Quest for Oven Links Updated for Mobile Ovens

I have updated my Quest for Ovens links site. I have factored out the two collections of links related to "Mobile Ovens," which had been in different parts. Now you can find "Mobile Oven Suppliers and Projects" together with "Mobile Oven Businesses" on the same page.

This makes the "Businesses with Brick Ovens" links page smaller, as well as focusing the "Mobile Ovens" links page for ease of access.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jack's Wood-Fired Oven, Logan, Utah

My Google Alert spotted an extremely short item from the on-line version of Salt Lake Magazine, about Jack's Wood-Fired Oven, Logan, Utah.

The item is so short, I will quote most of what it says, "Wood-fired ovens are taking over the world, and it's about time. This low-key little place looks like any mom & pop's pizzeria, except for the oven dominating one end of the room."

(Jack's web site could use more than a bit of editing.)

PaneVino Wood Fired Pizzeria, Allen, Texas

Sometimes a place with wood-fired pizza gets good reviews. But, sometimes they don't.

A site called Pegasus News, News and Entertainment for DFW (probably meaning Dallas/Fort Worth), had a review that pretty much panned PaneVino Wood Fired Pizzeria, Allen, Texas.

The review says in part, "Fancy domed oven does not guarantee good pizza." (The domed oven comes from Renato, which is in Garland, Texas.)

If you visit this place yourself, let me know if you agree with the reviewer.

Monday, May 23, 2011

LoveTree Farmstead, near Grantsburg, Wisconsin

Going over my information about "pizza farms," I thought should include that I discovered before I started blogging about what I have been finding.

The LoveTree Farmstead, near Grantsburg, Wisconsin, has been getting some mention in the Twin Cities' press. They started a "pizza by the pond" business to take advantage of their own cheeses. (As far as I know, this is unique among "pizza farms.")

Another difference between "pizza by the pond" and other "pizza farms" is that they have a cob, not a brick, oven.

It's a ways away from the Twin Cities, but there have been expeditions there.

They have a Facebook group.

Community Oven, Athens, Georgia

Sometimes all I can found out about a community oven project isn't enough to help me get much closer.

In this case, my Google Alert found an online news item about architecture students getting involved in building an oven, "Several University of Georgia landscape architecture students plan to build and operate a wood-fired brick oven to serve businesses and community groups around Ben's Bikes at 670 W. Broad St."

There is one name, "The bread oven will replace a shed that previously housed a meat smoker, said John Reichert, one of the students involved in the project."

I would dearly love to find out more about their project. (If you know anything, please comment.)

HeatRock Wood Fired Ovens, Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada

My Google Alert caught an on-line ad for a "wood fired pizza & bread oven" on a site I had never heard of, backpage.com.
The ad provided a link to the main business, HeatRock Wood Fired Ovens, Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada.
Their main page makes some interesting claims:

  • Our Precast Refractory Wood Burning Bake Oven is the most affordable outdoor or indoor oven available! We guarantee it! 
  • This Dual Purpose Oven allows you to cook inside the oven as well as on top of the oven.
  • Propane Options Available - Cook with Wood today and Propane Tomorrow!
I'm not a big fan of oven designs like this, but I did think I ought to share what I find.

5/24/11: Another on-line ad, this time in Salt Lake City, for "Backyard Barbecue - Wood burning Oven Kit." It looks like they have a web strategy.

Roundboy Outdoor Products, Dorrance, Pennsylvania

Sometimes people who create web sites don't consider their audience as much as I would like. If you have a business, I think it is fair to expect that the business clearly tells where it is located.

I found a new oven source, Roundboy Outdoor Products, through my Google Alert.

Looking at their web site didn't really tell me where they were, but there was a link to a blog, and the profile of the bloggers says, Dorrance, Mountain Top, Pennsylvania.

I can't say that I'm a fan of the specific oven design, but I do want people to know it's out there.

Goodfella's Pizza, Staten Island, New York

Apparently I was in the middle of posting about Goodfella's Pizza, Staten Island, New York, but got distracted and didn't finish. (We have been having thunderstorms here in the upper midwest; I disconnect my computer when there is lightning about.)

I was reading the Facebook group, Brick Oven Builders, where Scot Cosentino posted a picture and a link to Goodfella's Pizza.

After following the link, I discovered they also had a Facebook page.

It certainly looks like award-winning pizza.

There is no doubt that they have a wood-fired oven.

Friday, May 20, 2011

J. L. Hawkins Family Farm, near North Manchester, Indiana

Another chance find on my Google search for "wisconsin brick oven pizza farm" turned up an on-line review for pizza nights at the Hawkins Family Farm,  near North Manchester, Indiana.

The review says in part, "HOPE CSA, in conjunction with Hawkins Family Farm, is pleased to announce the return of Fridays on the Farm, the weekly dining event featuring artisan pizzas made with all-natural, locally sourced ingredients baked in an outdoor, wood-fired brick oven. Pizza will be served most Fridays during the summer from 5:00p.m. -8:00p.m, starting Friday, May 6."

McCaffrey's Dolce Vita Twin Springs Bakery, Decorah, Iowa

Doing a Google search for "wisconsin brick oven pizza farm" brought a surprise: The first wood-fired oven business that I have found in Iowa. (I'm not saying there aren't any, only that I am ignorant of them.)

A blog post by Jeremy Iggers at tc foodies mentions A to Z Produce and Bakery near Stockholm, Wisconsin, Vino in the Valley near Ellsworth, Wisconsin, and the Stone Barn, near Nelson, Wisconsin.

The real subject of the post is McCaffrey's Dolce Vita Twin Springs Bakery, Decorah, Iowa. The blog post says in part, "It's a little further afield - about two and a half hours from the Twin Cities, but the setting is charming - farm country in the rolling hills of northeast Iowa - and the thin-crust pizza is pretty good....You can watch the pies, which are big enough for two, being baked in the wood-burning brick oven in the dining room - it takes about 90 seconds."

This sounds like another interesting place to visit when I'm in the neighborhood.

AtoZ Produce and Bakery, Stockholm, Wisconsin

Apparently modern times have caught up to AtoZ (or A to Z) Produce and Bakery, Stockholm, Wisconsin. They now a real web site, and not just a Facebook page (which is run by a fan, not by A to Z themselves).

As far as I know, A to Z was the original "pizza farm." One of their slogans seems to be, "Made where it's grown."

There is a section of my oven businesses links just for A to Z (currently here, but you may need to search for "Stockholm, WI" if the headings change).

They were also the first location that was a destination for a field trip by the Saint Paul Bread Club, way back in 2004, not long after the club was formed.

I think this the place that got me interested in pizza baked in a wood-fired brick oven.

A to Z had been trying to keep a low profile; they have appeared in newspaper articles, but without mentioning their address or giving directions.

Since they have their own web site now, and provide their address and directions, I feel like I can lift the embargo about talking about them.

7/7/11: A to Z was mentioned in an article in the StarTribune about food destinations south and southeast
of the Twin Cities.

8/2/11: Was told that there was a blog post about them on the Pizza Quest blog.

8/24/11: I was there on 8/23, and by about 6:25 p.m., they were serving pizza #131. They had been making more than 1 pizza per minute for the first two hours of business. The rate was probably about ready to drop because fewer people were showing up in line for pizza.

Vino In the Valley, near Ellsworth, Wisconsin

Chance conversation about "pizza farms" brought mention of Vino In the Valley, near Ellsworth, Wisconsin.

Their menu mentions a Sunday buffet (not a Sunday morning buffet!).

Their times and days of operation are here. Not open on Fridays for some reason.

Oops. Missed their Facebook page in the first version of this page.

I have a field report from my visit to Vino in the Valley.

For similar places, click on the vineyard and farm labels on the right of the page. There is also a blog post about Wisconsin Pizza Farms.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bread Baking Link Collection

While normally I focus on brick ovens in this blog, I thought I would digress a bit by putting one of my own subsites forward.

In response to a question from somebody who heard me on Radio KASM's program, Afternoon Delight, I decided to publish my collection of links related to bread baking.

I added them as part of the web site that I maintain for the Saint Paul Bread Club.

I just called the pages Bread Links. They are built using a process similar to the one I use to build the links for the Quest for Ovens Ovens Links pages.

I also have a subsite for my baking and oven-building classes called Baking with escargo.That is mainly of interest to people near the Twin Cities, since that is where most of my classes are held (Minnesota and western Wisconsin).

If you are interested in bread baking, I hope you find the links useful.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wisconsin Pizza Farms, Midwest Living Magazine, June, 2011

For a map with all the Wisconsin wood-fired oven businesses that I know, see this blog post.

While I was waiting for my haircut, the table in the waiting room had the latest issue of Midwest Living magazine.   I never really noticed that magazine before, but one of the cover stories was, "A Slice of Country: Pizza Farms in Wisconsin." (You can only read the beginning of the article without registering at the Midwest Living site.)

They reviewed a couple of "pizza farms" in western Wisconsin.

The first was the Stone Barn near Nelson, WI, which my wife and I have been to. They have a page for their "artisan foods," which includes their pizza.

The second was Suncrest Gardens Farm, near Alma, WI. They have a specific page for their pizza business.

There are other, similar businesses in the area as well, but they were not covered in the article.

Usually when I see somebody searching for a "pizza farm" they are looking for A to Z Produce and Bakery near Stockholm, WI. They have their own blog post here; there are many news items about them (like this one); and I have many links about them collected here.

(If you are interested in all "pizza farms" then you should go to the list of labels on the right of this page and click on "farm" or for related alternatives, "vineyard". For Wisconsin pizza farms, I put a section about them on my Business Ovens page.)

8/11/11: There was a segment of Dining with Dara that covered two different Wisconsin pizza farms (here).

Wide Awake Bakery, Mecklenburg, New York

Sometimes I find new brick oven places the long way around.

I found the Facebook page of the Wide Awake Bakery, Mecklenburg, New York, by chasing some information from the Yahoo! Brick Oven group. (On Facebook they say they are in Trumansburg.) There was a somewhat technical discussion about different kinds of ovens, which led to some pictures of bread and an oven, which led to the Facebook page of one of the group members, which led me to the page for the Wide Awake Bakery. (Here is their own page about the oven.)

The Facebook page didn't mention their home page in the info section, but it was mentioned in passing on one of the comments on their wall; I updated this post to link to it. (Their home page says they are in Mecklenburg.)

Oven builders appreciate their craft for itself, but for many it's only important insofar as an oven can be used to bake good bread (or pizza).

It appears that the Wide Awake Bakery has created an oven that will enable the production of a lot of good bread (and whatever else they decide to bake).

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wood fire pizza ovens in Japan

My Google Alert brought my attention to a corner of the world I don't see much: Japan.

It's a blog about wood-fired ovens in Japan, and aptly named Wood fire pizza ovens in Japan.

They also apparently sell some small ovens. (They do not look like general purpose ovens; they look like they are better for pizza.)

They even have a kids cooking class.

I thank them for making their interest available in English so we can see what they are doing.