Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stove Pipe Oven

 A very long time ago, Richard Searls and I made a movie about two Maine woodsmen who gave up everything to discover what really mattered in the middle of nowhere. One of the woodsmen, Walter Lane was always baking biscuits in a stove pipe oven that he constructed in his trapper's shack. The oven captured waste heat where the biscuits were placed to bake. The oven shown is quite a pricey affair, but Walt was able to fabricate something similar for just a few dollars.
There was no way he'd allow heat to escape up the chimney without putting it to good use first. Walter was the ultimate recycler.
You can see the opening scene of the movie here.

Mayan Tortillas

 I recently returned from Guatemala and carefully watched the Mayas make corn tortillas. The ingredients are simple, but making them really takes a lot of practice. One thing I noticed that really helps is to have a small bowl of water accessible so you can keep your hands wet when patting them out. Wet hands keeps the masa from sticking to them.Some bread bakers also knead dough with wet hands (I don't because I hate the feel), and this allows one to knead without adding too much flour.