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Playing with Fire and Free Bread – Teaming up with Acme Bakery and the Digger’s Recipe!

Hello friends, I’ve been waiting to talk about this next weekend’s upcoming gig. I will NOT be making pizza Saturday August 27th, but I will be playing with Fire! We are renting out our oven for a special event happening at the Berkeley Art Museum. Teaming up are teachers, participants and learners from the free speech and food movements in the Bay Area over the past 40 years, to celebrate 40 years of Chez Panisse Restaurant and the Edible Schoolyard. More information about the event is here: I will be running the Pizza oven all day with local artist Chris Sollars and Acme baker Steve Sullivan to follow the typical bread-baking schedule that the Diggers used in the 1970s to distribute free bread, baked in coffee cans. More information on the Digger’s movement and the Bread recipe we’ll be using Saturday can be found Here.

On Friday the 19th, we had a test baking session here at FOF headquarters, right in the driveway. We set up a couple tables and opened up the portable kitchen. Chris, Jerome and Amanda brought 24 little steel cans and Steve from Acme brought about 10 pounds of test dough. I brought the fire. I got up “Early” for a pizza maker at 8:30 to get the fire going and start warming up the Hearth. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get a steady low temperature like 450°. I’m quite good at getting it up to 950°, but the slow and low is kinda hard. So small fires, ran one for about an hour and it got up to 200°, Ok, good start, let that sit for a bit, came back and lit a bigger fire to bring it up, and at 12:30 pm the thermometer was reading 550°, sweet, close the door. Up pulls the gang, right on time. Steve arrived with the dough and we began kneading. Got everything ready in about an hour, got all the cans loaded, and hashed out a game plan for the day.

Well, the oven was a success, we baked 24 cans in about 25 minutes, at a nice temp of 425° average. the Tops of the bread tubes got nice and smokey because we left some smoldering coals of almond in there while they baked. I was not sure the walls were quite hot enough, so I raked everything to the edges. Most of the cans came out quite acceptable for Free bread. Darn tasty, but then again we’ve got Steve Sullivan at the helm, duh. Acme Bakery is quite possibly one of the best bread makers around. I’ll just say it again, a sandwich isn’t a sandwich without Acme bread, and I was quite stoked to meet everyone and get involved with this project. Here’s a couple photos from the Finished product. The small cans produce sweet little Bread footballs. I bet a small pick up game breaks out on the Lawn of the Berkeley museum next Saturday. The event is free, so come on out! 11 am till 5 pm, with hands on activities all day!

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