Since we began baking so much more bread than usual, we have also started spending a lot more time huddled in front of our oven, faces basking in the glow, closely monitoring the verdict of the oven thermometer.
The hope is that the oven will perform better under close observation. Yet, no! After each and every introduction, the oven temperature sinks inexplicably (The scoundrel he is! [Halunke! Schurke! Schuft!]) from the desired 250°C all the way down to 150°C before crawling, slowly, back up again too many decades later. Adding insult to injury, the heat is biased towards the rear of the oven, which means our breads can be uneven on the rise too.
As recommended, we always use a pizza stone, yet our results are only somewhat more stable after preheating said oven for two hours – in which the temperature only falls to 210°C (!) Practical as he is, Tim reminds me that we are living in Germany, so we should keep in mind that our energy is heavily taxed, for reasons.
Time and again, we ask ourselves two main questions: How can our oven be such an extraordinary and compulsive liar? And why do ovens have patterns of dots on their observation windows?
Curiously, typing that exact question (about the dots) into Google led me to the FAQ page of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Did you know that hummingbirds migrate individually? Fascinating! And did you know that we have hummingbird wallpaper in our kitchen, inherited from the previous tenant? This is it!:
After ignoring all search results describing how to dismantle and clean your oven glass, at last, Google leads me to what looks to be the 1975 patent for heat-reflecting oven door dots, as diagrammed below. They state, and I quote:
“Each dot is composed of a plurality of finely divided glass particles, preferably beads, adhered to the glass panel by a ceramic paint. The clusters of glass particles collectively present a myriad of exposed minute surfaces which radiate heat emanating from the oven to the surrounding atmosphere.”
That was beautifully said.
Although the design above is substantially different in size and pattern, I am assuming our oven door was constructed following the same heat-reflecting principle. The point is, the dots weren’t just put there to annoy us. How obvious it now seems. Oven interiors and exteriors have temperature regulations to adhere to! Let us never look at dotted oven doors the same way again! Multiple layers of shatterproof glass, and rounded clusters of glass particles conspiring to reflect heat back into the oven from whence it came!
But what about, like, new ovens?
Reflective dots were a thing once, but much like televisions, modern ovens offer far better viewing quality than they used to – think vast dot-free viewing panels and spotlit dishes! Dots are a thing of the past, my friend. This newly acquired knowledge, while very interesting, is rather useless. What we have here is a very old oven TV set. Our warm glowing faces wonder if it is even still insulated properly.
Now for what was in the oven
This is a Backesbrot (named after the breads baked in communal village ovens) another lovely rye bread with an aromatic crumb.
The dough had already started tearing while in the proofing basket. It also happens that we hadn’t left the dough to proof long enough, hence the enthusiastically ragged edges once baked, we think.
Below is our second attempt. We let it rise for longer before baking, but not long enough as it still cracked more than necessary. Also, the top got sorrily stuck in the proofing basket. A third attempt at this one is pending.
In other news!
We are flying (aghhhh) to Mallorca for the first time ever tomorrow to celebrate being married to each other and overdose on sunlight with some lovely people for a few days! It is likely that we will bake some bread also.
Which reminds me
My sister-in-law and I once joked, not so long ago, about how some grown-ups (can you believe it!) even take their starters on holiday with them. As I pack a tiny jar of starter into my carry-on, it begins to make sense, and it doesn’t seem that weird anymore. This is all moving so fast.