Bhutan, Meditation, Bread, Learning, Friends, Family, Music, Books, MT

Friday, February 18, 2011

Things I Miss 5

The bottom element in my oven.
Just a few days ago, I was trying out a nice looking recipe from Dan Lepard (he writes for the Guardian) for semolina BBQ buns. The recipe is here. Read the forum for some details from Dan on scoring the tops of the buns. The buns are not separated after cutting and the scoring is done by pushing a butter knife right down to the base.
I let my buns rise for over an hour, but it was quite a cold day. Apparently breads rise faster at altitude. The explanation requires an advanced degree in physics and biology.
After 20 minutes in the oven, the buns looked great. On top. Then I noticed that the underside (the ass ... arse?) was still very moist and not nicely browned like the tops. Had I made the dough too hydrated? After flipping the buns over and baking them longer, they came out quite well. Perhaps not as well-risen as expected.
Then I realised that the bottom rod was not hot. No cozy glow. A cold black. That would explain things. The next problem was the two loaves well and truly risen, and needing a good baking in a hot oven. I used all my mechanical skill to repair the oven. That meant turning it off, waiting a few minutes, then turning it on again. That often works with the computer. Not with the oven. Twiddling the dial to Grill, Toast, Warm and then back to bake had no effect either. I waited more. Patience. That is the solution.
The oven temperature did not get above 150. There were plans to make a visit to Letho at the Ambient Cafe. They have installed a new oven there. Ideal for baking bread. No. In the end, I stuck with my disabled oven. The bread was cooked and edible, but rather flat and insipid.
Yesterday, I took the oven to the appliance store. He was a nice man. Very helpful. The diagnosis was very fast, no need to even plug the thing in. But the news was not good. They did not have any "rods". The last customer that had this problem is still waiting for the part to come.
"How long?"
"We cannot say. It comes from India."
"What .... months, years?"
He took my phone number and wrote some details in his diary. Then he phoned up the supplier. Or was it his mother?
Now, I have a very large toaster that looks like an oven. And I am exploring recipes like Grilled Lebanese Flatbread. See the recipe here.
But I do miss my oven.


  1. Oooh same thing happened to us. We were cooking pizza on our new pizza stone and wondered why the bottom was soggy! K got his electrical testing gear out and discovered the bottom element had gone. We had to wait nearly three weeks for a new one and it was only coming from Auckland!
    By the way, with the oven fully functional, the pizza stone is great!

  2. I suppose it would cost a bit to send me a pizza stone!

  3. Ha - yes , they're quite heavy!
    Apparently you can use a ceramic tile.

  4. I've done some pizza making lately and would like to say that pizza stones make a big difference, and ceramic tiles work 95% as well as a good stone, but you should make sure that the tile isn't treated in any way - sometimes the glazes or just things they put on the stone have lead in them. And even in the US, it's somewhat dubious as to whether you can believe manufacturer's claims that they haven't used things like lead to treat construction products.