We recently contacted a group of clients for feedback on how they were using their commercial, Le Panyol wood-fired ovens. We were very happy to hear back from the Paterson family of Upper Amherst Cove in Newfoundland. The Paterson’s business had been up and running for a while with their Le Panyol 180 oven built into a masonry structure by 3rd generation mason Martin Palmer of St. John’s, Newfoundland. The oven sits in a small addition off the hand-crafted timber-frame building that serves as a restaurant and bakery for the Paterson’s new business venture. Complementing the calm and creative strength of the Paterson family, the Le Panyol oven serves as an anchor of the restaurant. Their Bonavista Social Club is located in Upper Amherst Cove, a small village “out-port.” Here the local commute or workday is as likely to happen on the salt water as on the land.
There’s no reason for me to spin a tale about the Paterson family as it’s already been pretty well told by Jane Adey of the CBC on an episode of Land and Sea, a program that depicts rural life in Canada. Katie Hayes is just one member of the family that the episode focuses on and the Le Panyol 180 oven is her trusted tool. Katie is using this oven in a quite efficient manner judging by her description of her normal day at the restaurant. You can read it below…
So, we lit the fire 5 days a week last summer. We would go down to the restaurant and light it at 5:30 am. The oven would still be around 300 degrees from the day before, as we put the door on at night. At 5:30 am we would put a bag of birch (upon inquiry the Paterson’s said this amounts to about 15-20 lb. of kiln dried shop scraps) on it and let it burn down to coals, the oven dome at that point being white hot. We would pull the coals and sweep and mop the oven at around 7 am. We would leave the door off and let the oven cool a little as the oven floor would be 700 degrees once the fire was out. At around 8-8:30 am, the oven temperature would be around 500 degrees and we would begin our bake. We would do up to 8 oven loads between 8:30 and 11 am, each oven load averaging 25 loaves of bread. That is 200 loaves of bread without re-firing the oven in between. At 11 am, we would light the fire and keep the fire going all day to cook pizzas. The oven gets plugged at 8 pm each evening, where it remains on until the following morning. The heat is always consistent throughout the oven, no hot spots and bakes the bread perfectly even on all sides. It makes my life easy! We have had no problems with it at all and I am so happy with the way it bakes, retains heat and draws the smoke. I hope this is helpful and if you have any questions about the use of the oven, please let me know.
Click here to open the Paterson’s Rural Resolve episode in the CBC Player and learn a bit about the family ventures and life in the cove. Visit the Bonavista Social Club website too, if you like. Be prepared with a hearty snack as cravings might strike when you see the beautiful loaves being pulled from the oven. Katie, Mike and Family, we really appreciate your feedback here at Maine Wood Heat. We hope the oven helps a Paterson/Hayes generation to maintain a productive and enjoyable rural lifestyle in your special place.