an actual Cave Woman would probably have a fire going all day so her 'oven' would be ready whenever she was. Timing is everything with the bread oven and this time I lit the fire first and then went to make the bread dough. For a change, at least from the last twice I lit the fire, the dome turned white after only a couple of hours and the bread dough was no where near ready for it.
I allowed the fire to simply die down of its own accord and once the flames had disappeared I shut the oven door to keep the heat in. Then I went back to working on the dough. In theory, the oven should stay very hot for a very long time, especially since I left the embers in the oven - as usual. Finally the bread was risen and although I thought the oven was actually a bit cool I went ahead and put it in.
The cheap timer I bought gave up the ghost even before ten minutes had gone by so after that I was sort of winging it. No real temperature gauge and no real idea of how long the bread had been in for. I think the only saving grace that Woman has is the fact that she has been baking bread for more than ten years now.
Nothing can substitute for experience. (undaunted confidence in the learning process would perhaps be a good second).
I gave the bread longer than the usual thirty minutes that the recipe calls for. I managed to bring one loaf out a little overdone on one side and a bit pale on the other but as far as I can tell its cooked properly.
I decided to try an old cake recipe - from a 1920's edition of Mrs Beeton's - since all the recipes call for oven temperatures like 'a slow oven' or 'a steady oven' or 'a moderate oven' I reckoned that the exact temperature was much less of an issue than with a more modern recipe.
The recipe was for a lemon cake... I have plenty of eggs and also lemons... so.... the recipe called for an hour and a half in a moderate oven. That seems like a long time so I decided to watch it very carefully. The oven was very moderate as it took the whole 90 minutes to produce the correct colour.
Sadly, as perfect as it looked, it was HORRID to eat. Just tasted like an overcooked bath sponge. So I think its another one for the learning curve.
As always I wanted to put something in to slow cook as the oven cooled and the easiest thing was soup, using my new cast iron pot that I was desperate to trial. You can just see it nestling in beside the bread pans. Its got three legs and its really really cute.
Again - HORRID. Unlike the other cast iron pans that I have this one hasn't been pre seasoned and it actually leaked iron into the soup - not good, but thankfully easily spotted by colour and the first taste. Goodness me, I never even thought about seasoning the pot, I have read about this but its not something I have ever done. Cavewoman had skills that I haven't even imagined yet, guess I have to learn them all.
Woman learning - Man wondering where his promised soup and cake went.