i'm planning to fire the oven up tomorrow to cook the sunday roast and maybe a few loaves of bread, i'm just wondering the best way to do it!
i'm thinking of firing up in the morning until the dome clears then raking out the ashes letting it cool down for a while then put the door on and see what temperature i'm at! is this the best way to go in peoples opinion?
in my wfo cookbook it says start fire until required temp is reached then push to the back and cook with the door on. my concerns with this are one, i've heard about backdraft fires when you seal in a live fire and also wont the door being on just put the fire out therefore causing too much smoke and ruin the food? and two, if i only fire for say 45 mins to an hour to get to the required temp say 190 - 200 degrees the dome wont be hot enough clear and will be black with soot does this matter?
For me, I would get the soot to clear and let the oven cool until you are at the temperature you want. That's what has worked for me when I want to roast meat and bake bread efficiently. My wood fired oven has to achieve heat saturation and then gradually cool to work properly. I usually try and make the most of every stage of the `full heat and cool down` process. Full heat for pizzas, flatbreads, etc, and then work down from there. I have tried taking the oven up to the required heat to roast a chicken and a ham, but found that it took far longer than doing the same when the oven was cooling after a full burn. I realise that I am only expressing what I have done; others may advise completely differently.
all in all it went fairly well! i lit the oven about 9.30am and had the dome cleared in an hour, left it about another half hour then raked the coals out and put the door on. (dome temp was about 480 and floor about 300 at this point!) went back to check the door thermometer about 30 mins later and the oven had settled at about 150c, not quite as hot as i wanted or thought it would have been! had to pop to sainsburys after dinner so when i got home i refired for about 40 mins then pushed the coals to the back and put the door on, temp about 240c now. left the oven about 30 to make sure the coals had extinguished then went for it and put the chicken in! when i closed her back up i was bang on 200c right about where i wanted it! throughout the cook after adding various things the temp dropped to 160c.
it took about 1 hour 20mins however the internal temp was well above the safe 65 degrees so it probably could of come out to rest sooner than that. it tasted great, far better that when cooked in the electric oven! and the roast potatoes were probably the best i've ever had !
i thought about putting them in when i took the chicken out but the temp was only about 170 at that point and i didn't think i had enough heat for them to rise, but i'll try it next time see how i get on!