Brimfield Bread Oven is a European style bakery in Brimfield Township, Ohio. Everything is made from scratch with simple ingredients, hand-shaped and baked in an off-grid, wood-fired oven.
The bakery began from a cottage foods bakery that we (Jud and Genevieve Smith) began in 2014 using a mobile wood fired oven at our home. After learning that Ohio does not allow cottage food bakeries to use wood fired ovens that are outdoors, we decided to get a permanent space to build a bigger oven and share our passion with our community. With determination, luck, the support of everyone who backed our Kickstarter and of course our family and friends, Brimfield Bread Oven officially opened its doors January 6, 2016.
What does it mean to bake in a wood fired oven?
It means you have to be part bread baker and part lumberjack! Our wood is a combination of slab wood scraps we buy locally and wood we have gathered from fallen trees in our local area. We split and cure most of our wood at home whenever possible. As they say, "It's the sort of heat that warms you twice!"
Each night before baking, we build a fire in the oven and maintain it for several hours or more to thoroughly saturate the oven's masonry. It is during this time that we can do pizza (yay for multitasking). Once we reach our desired core temperature in the oven, we burn the coals down to ashes and seal up the oven for the night to allow the heat to equalize throughout the oven mass. In the morning, we rake out any ash and sweep/mop the oven thoroughly so it's clean and ready for the bread baking to begin.
Baking in a wood fired oven also means we "bake on the curve". Since there's no fire in the oven during baking, we use the stored heat in the oven's masonry to bake our breads. Think of it like a battery we charge up with fire. The order of baking is mostly determined by what temperature a certain bread bakes best at: breads that can tolerate the highest temperature - like focaccia, flatbreads, pretzels and baguettes - go first. Larger breads, like rye breads and sourdough miches, require a "softer" oven heat and come later in the baking cycle. Managing the oven temperature and the dough readiness for baking is a daily practice and art.
Organic & Local:
We use a variety of grains and flours for our products. Much of our organic flour comes from La Meunerie Milanaise, an organic flour milling company in Quebec, Canada. We're also extremely fortunate to have dedicated and skilled organic grain growers right here in Ohio. All of our spelt is passionately grown by Dean McIlvaine at Twin Parks Farm in West Salem or Stutzman's in Millersburg. (Our Honey Spelt Bread is made with 100% whole grain organic local spelt - and all local honey from Kline Honey Bee Farm.) We also buy all of our rye from Stutzman's, so if you want to support local and try a 100% whole grain organic local rye bread, our Vollkornbrot is one of the best; made as a sourdough (no commercial yeast) with flax seeds, sunflower seeds and sprouted rye berries. Beyond spelt and rye, we of course buy a lot of local wheat and have also been experimenting with other local organic grains such as Einkorn. We are happy to say there is at least 10% local organic wheat in all of our sourdough breads, French breads, pizza crusts and viennoiseries. We will increase that number as we grow and connect with local farmers and millers. If you are looking for local grains, get in touch; we would love to discuss ours and share with you!