It’s art. Dan Williams slid a peel, the large paddle used to maneuver food in and out, across the blackened floor of the North Adams Community Oven and produced a golden loaf. It landed with a hollow thump on a table under the spring sun.
This boule showed the traits of a wood-fired sourdough: a thick helmet of crisp crust, an airy form bulging with steam, and the unique perfume of native North Adams yeast and sweet smoke.
Peering through the oven’s small door, Williams aimed an infrared thermometer at the back of the dome: The firebrick still glowed at 400˚F., hot enough to bake a casserole or cook a stew. “We once spatchcocked [split and spread open], a chicken and roasted it in the oven. Holy moly, it was mind-blowing!” he said.
The oven, now in its second year, continues to inspire amazement and foster community under Canadian artist Eryn Foster’s vision. The wood-fired brick oven seems small in the shadow of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) along River Street in North Adams, but it delivers defiantly big results. Fired with one large load of hardwood, the oven maintains consistent temperatures for hours, yielding crisp pizza and hearty bread with uniform thick crust.… Read the rest