Brick Oven Bakery
Artisan Baking Fresh from our Brick Oven
In the summer of 2006, we were approached to build a brick oven and open up a bakery at Merridale. We thought for mere seconds and said, "Of course!". We use this brick oven for our breads, pastries, apple pies and special occasion menus. From late spring through early fall, we also make pizza, particularly for our famed Sunday night pizza on the deck. Imagine relaxing in the orchard on one of our decks, listening to soft guitar music in the background while savouring brick oven baked pizza–it’s a little taste of heaven.
But back to the brick ovens–brick ovens are much sought after for authentic country-style cooking. We now have two different kinds of brick ovens at Merridale.
Our wood oven generates its heat from the wood fire, which is absorbed by the masonry walls and evenly released to cook the foods inside. It takes more than 16 hours to get the oven up to proper baking temperature. After the fire goes out, the oven is swept clean and is ready for baking. Very high temperatures are reached, so the food cooks quickly. This is why the baked goods taste so good and different. The oven is very large and allows us to bake large quantities of bread or pizza.
Our gas fired brick oven uses much the same science, but a gas fire is used to heat the bricks. Once heated the bricks radiate heat back to the bread or pizza. Once again, high heats in excess of 650 degrees are used for baking. This oven is smaller and is thermostatically controlled to give some versatility.
Besides the radiant heat from the brick ovens, there is one other distinct difference in our breads. It is the yeast our bakers uses. Our bread is made from cider yeast as a leavening agent. Live yeast is skimmed from our actively fermenting cider in the fall. Then, the yeast is kept alive year round and used in the bread. This live cider yeast is much different than commercial active dry yeast. Commercial yeast are fast acting and make the bread rise quickly. The slow moving cider leaven makes the bread rise slowly thereby making it more dense with much greater body.