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Rofco: Our Brand New Bread Oven!

We waited long, but it was worth it. Finally our Rofco bread oven has arrived from Belgium. Brought by the Rofco Company owner Micha himself, it came with elaborate and enthusiastic instructions. That was last Friday. And we haven’t stopped baking since! The first two breads that came out of the Rofco were, in our eyes, perfect in look and taste. Until now we have baked loaves and breads and cakes of all shapes and sizes and, apart from some misshaping of our own, we were very happy with everything that came out of the oven. Yet, I also feel a bit restless, because I keep thinking of all the things I would like to bake, preferably today. But I have to breath in and out and realise that I have to take my time. Like with good bread, time is my friend, not my enemy. So I am going to relax and stare at my starter dough.

The Rofco bakes your bread with the principle of an old style wood burning brick oven. It stores a lot of heat inside the chamotte stone floors and releases it slowly but fiercely into your bread. In comparison with a normal household oven which is made from light sheet metal the Rofco is much heavier and simpler build. It is a rvs steel casing filled with rockwool isolation with good seals to keep the warmth and the water damp inside the oven. Each floor has a heat element underneath the stone and above the stone with a simple but perfectly working mechanic thermostat. The oven needs to warm up for at least 2 hours. In the first hour the heat elements do most of the work to heat up the stones. In the second hour all this heat stabilizes and equalizes throughout the oven. The key to good bread with an open crumb structure is a lot of heat from the start of the baking which the stone floors deliver through the bottom of the bread into the dough! A household oven fails to do this because when you open the oven door to put in your bread it loses a lot of warmth. Also with the help of spraying the insides of the oven with a plant water pressure sprayer you can produce a lot of water damp (for a good oven spring) without being afraid to damage the oven. At the final stage of baking you open the tiny steam vents to release the moist from the oven so your bread crust can crisp up.

Our Rofco B20 has two venting holes through which steam can escape

Sourdough bread from our own captured culture, just out of the Rofco

We are very pleased with the open creamy crumb structure and the very light acidic taste

Can’t resist making a white ‘boule’ because it’s so good with brown sugar and fresh dairy butter!

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29 Responses to Rofco: Our Brand New Bread Oven!

  1. Anya says:

    Congratulations!! Both the oven and the breads look rib-stickingly fabulous!! One question though, what do you do with all the baked goods flying out of your Rofco at a (nearly) lightning speed? I mean, you share or give them away as gifts, or rather, locking yourself up in the house and enjoy the goodness by yourself? Which, come to think of it, is an excellent thing to do!

  2. Martijn says:

    Wat een mooie oven! Ja, de Belgen weten wel hoe ze moeten bakken. :-) Ik ben erg benieuwd wat jullie er nog meer mee gaan maken; houdt ons op de hoogte!

  3. Sophie says:

    Wat een mooie oven: wat een masterpiece!! De broden zien er excellent uit!
    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…..Veel success ermee!

  4. Marieke says:

    Thanx!
    No Anya, no locking in here. We like to share, and so family, friends and colleagues al get a loaf, or two, or three. Our goal is to keep on baking and improving and trying out new recipes and different types of flour and cultures. We have a big American fridge, but that is also fully stocked with bread, bread and more bread. Haven’t bought any bread for a while now but not missing it one bit. The joy of baking and eating your own bread, knowing that there is only goodness in it, is wonderful.

    Marieke

  5. Anya says:

    Marieke, is there any chance this individual (me) would get one of your blindingly beautiful breads? Is it too bold of me to ask? :) Yes? No?

  6. Marieke says:

    Hi Anya,

    As we say in Holland: ‘a bold person owns half the world’ (‘een brutaal mens heeft de halve wereld’)and in this case that also goes for bread. So yes, we would like to share our bread with you. For the particulars regarding the transfer I will send you something called an e-mail. :-)

  7. Christiaan says:

    Le Fournil de Dorre :) Mijn tips; de Boule Beurre (de AH aftroeven), een Préfou (eens zien hoe goed Sebastian is) en een Galette des Rois (met uiteraard Veluwse honing van fam.Eppinga). Onze voortuin is trouwens verse omgespit, dus wellicht een optie om eigen tarwe terassen te planten met Paindore, Soissons en Exclu?

  8. Anya says:

    Marieke,

    Will wait with anticipation! :)

  9. Marieke says:

    Dank Chris,

    En vergeet de Apache niet, maar de Paindore past natuurlijk nog beter bij ons.
    Voor honing houden wij ons van harte aanbevolen en dan vliegt er vanzelf een Galette jullie kant op met heerlijke frangipane van eigen makelij. Maar eerst zijn jullie van harte uitgenodigd voor een live demo van de oven en ga je de deur niet uit zonder vers brood!

  10. Alan Downing says:

    Where can one buy a Rofco oven – it may be just what I need in my bread testing. Thankyou.
    En as jy Afrikaans can praat, toe vra ek vir jou asebelief se vir my waar kan ek ‘n Rofco bak’oond kon koop. Dankie.

  11. Marieke says:

    Hello Alan,

    The Rofco oven comes from Belgium. They are completely specialised in these little stone ovens for the serious home baker and small shops. Micha, the owner and also maker of the ovens usually brings them to the buyers and gives instructions etc. I don’t know about South Africa of course!
    But you could always contact him via the website:
    http://www.rofco.be
    Dronckaertstraat 289
    8930 Lauwe/Menen
    België /Belgium
    Tel: +32 56210688

    Ik spreek geen Afrikaans, maar ik begrijp het wel als ik het lees. Net zoals jij waarschijnlijk het Nederlands wel zult verstaan.

    Groet,

    Marieke

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  13. Alan says:

    I am considering purchasing a Rofco oven and since you have been using one for several years, I have some questions. Are you still happy with the oven? Has the size of the oven been sufficient or do you wish you had gotten a bigger one? Are you able to get enough steam? I was pleasantly surprised at the cost of the ovens, even with the hefty shipping fees to the U.S.. I look forward to finding out if you are still as enamored with your Rofco.
    Thanks,
    Alan

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Alan,
      May I ask if you already had contact with Rofco? We recently spoke to the owner when he came here with our new oven (yes!) and I remember him mentioning the shipping fees to the US and that it would be probably to much for people..
      Hope indeed this will not be a problem and you can have your oven too. Because yes, we love our Rofco and we do not have any problems with it. The only thing is looking back and seeing how much we are baking now, we should have gone for a bigger model right away. So that is why, after using the B20 for over two years, we now also have a B40. We will not use the B20 that much anymore probably, but we will keep it for the moment. And yes, getting steam in the oven, up till now with a plant sprayer, is very easy and I hope you can see by our pictures the steam is doing it’s job. It is now also possible to buy metal steam units with the oven. We do not have much experience with them yet, the only thing is they take up a little bit of oven floor space. So it is a big yes to the Rofco from us, also, as you mention, because of the price and the fantastic baking results we have!

      Good luck with the process!

      Marieke & Ed

  14. Dave Foster says:

    Hi
    Just to let you know I bought a B40. I am now experimenting.

    Dave

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Congratulations! Hope you have lots of happy baking days with it. Be great to exchange experiences!

  15. Koen says:

    Dag Marieke & Ed,

    Ik lees altijd met veel plezier over jullie bakactiviteiten.
    Zelf bak ik ook elk weekend, maar wel wat minder dan jullie en dan met name patisserie.
    Ik wil mij nu ook wat meer op brood gaan toeleggen.

    Ik sta op het punt om een Rofco oven aan te schaffen. Ik twijfel tussen de B30 en de B40. Waarom hebben jullie gekozen voor de B40 en niet voor de B30? En zou de B40 wel iets voor mij kunnen zijn omdat ik een beginnende broodbakker ben? Op de site van Rofco staat dat je voor de B40 vakkennis moet hebben…

    Hebben jullie er ook een rijskast bij gekocht?

    Ik ben heel benieuwd naar jullie antwoorden!

    Groeten, Koen.

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hallo Koen,
      Het voornaamste verschil tussen de B30 en B40 is de afstand tussen de stenen en de spiralen. Doordat de afstand bij de B40 groter is dan bij de B30 kun je met de B40 volcontinu doorbakken. Bij de B30 moet je tussen batches door de oven eerst weer voorverwarmen voordat je verder kunt. Dit scheelt iets van 15 tot 20 minuten aan tijd tussen baksels. Voor een bakker die meer wil produceren is dit van belang natuurlijk. Voor een beginnende bakker is het vooralsnog geen issue. Enige vraag is of dit in de toekomst van belang zou kunnen zijn, dat is een vraag die je voor jezelf moet beantwoorden, anders zal de B30 ook prima voldoen en de prijs zal ook iets lager zijn.
      Wij hebben geen rijskast, ten eerste is het weer een extra aanschaf en een extra apparaat dat ruimte inneemt, ten tweede hebben we tot nu toe niet een sterke behoefte gehad aan een dergelijke kast. In de zomermaanden is onze bakruimte warm genoeg, in de koudere maanden passen we de temperatuur van het water aan zodat het deeg toch de gewenste temperatuur heeft en als het echt heel koud is verwarmen we wat bij. Neemt niet weg dat het, mocht je de ruimte hebben, een handige toevoeging is aan je bakarsenaal.

      Groeten,

      Marieke en Ed

  16. Marco says:

    Beautiful bread! Nicely done. I wonder if you’ve tried any wet doughs directly on the stone. Focaccia, pizza etc. Also, have you done anything au bain marie such as cheesecake in the new b40? I’ve just purchased a B40 and it has just been completed at the factory. I ‘ll have it in a few weeks and I can’t wait!

    Groetjes,
    Marco

  17. Marco says:

    Beautiful bread! Nicely done. I wonder if you’ve tried any wet doughs directly on the stone. Focaccia, pizza etc. Also, have you done anything au bain marie such as cheesecake in the new b40? I’ve just purchased a B40 and it has just been completed at the factory. I ‘ll have it in a few weeks and I can’t wait!

    Groetjes,
    Marco

  18. Marco says:

    Just saw your video “Baguette with a 80% hydration dough”. I guess that answers my wet dough question…
    Nice video!

    Groetjes,
    Marco

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Thanks a lot for your compliments Marco and congrats on the new oven. You can make pizza and focaccia in the Rofco directly on the stone but the reason we do not do that is because of our ‘fear’ that things like onion and garlic will come into contact with the stones and maybe give unwanted taste to our regular breads. So for our very limited bakes of pizza we use our ‘Alfredo’ (see: http://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/pizza-until-you-have-that-wood-fired-oven/). As for the focaccia (we usually make it with a very wet ciabatta dough) we put that on a baking tray first before it goes into the Rofco.
      We have never tried anything ‘au bain marie’ in the Rofco. Would be interesting to hear about your results. Love a baked cheesecake!

      Let us know about your first results with the B40! The very best of luck with everything and have a great weekend.
      Groetjes,

      Marieke

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  20. Sanderijn says:

    Dag Marieke en Ed,

    Ik heb al eerder wat vragen gesteld. Inmiddels weet ik zeker dat ik de B40 wil aanschaffen. Ik vraag me echter af, of ik qua elektra nog iets moet doen. Micha zegt dat we de oven gewoon in het stopcontact kunnen steken. Een vriend van raadt ons echter aan hiervoor een aparte groep te maken, zodat er geen andere apparaten dan de over op dat stopcontact zijn aangesloten. Wat zijn jullie ervaringen hiermee?

    Alvast bedankt voor jullie reactie,
    Met vriendelijke groet,
    Sanderijn

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hallo Sanderijn,
      Het maken van een aparte groep is voor alle veiligheid inderdaad wel een goed idee. Als je voor de rest op een groep alleen wat kleine verbruikers zoals lampjes hebt zitten, dan is het geen enkel probleem. Echter, als op de groep verbruikers als waterkoker, espressomachine of een stofzuiger worden aangezet, dan kan inderdaad de stop eruit springen als de Rofco op datzelfde moment ook aan staat!

      Heel gaaf dat je ook voor de B40 gaat. Veel succes ermee,

      Ed en Marieke

  21. Steven says:

    Hi Marieke and Ed

    I noted the link from the Rofco website to your blog. I wondered if I may pick your brains as you have been around as a ‘micro-bakery’ for some time.

    Herego . . .

    Once you were at the stage of expanding from your home kitchen oven to a commercial oven which ovens did you consider and why? What oven would you suggest considering that my output is primarily cookies, in addition to breads and bread rolls? Is a Rofco suitable for cookies, including speculaas?

    Many thanks

    Steven

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hello Steven,

      Thanks for your question. We only ever really considered the Rofco, because of the price and the oven floor space. But you have to keep in mind that it is primarily a bread oven. So if you are mostly baking cookies we would also suggest to look at a good convection oven with an even bake. For our cookies and pastries we use a convection oven with two fans from a brand called Euromax. The great thing is that all the cookies and cakes are the same color and shape and it also works pretty fast. It works great for croissants, brioche, buns etc. We would not want to miss our Rofco for our all our rustic breads and flatbreads, but for cookies we would recommend you look at other options.

      Hope this is of help to you,

      Marieke & Ed

  22. Francesca says:

    Can you let me know one more thing about this oven: do you miss the steam function? Have you tried to bake baguettes in here? Thanks a lot in advance!

    • Weekend Bakers says:

      Hi Francesca,
      Have you seen our posting about the use of our stone oven? see: http://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/tips-tricks-for-rofco-oven-other-stone-oven-users/
      Check out the second picture..this is how we mostly add (a lot of!!) steam right before baking. When the steam has done its job we release it via the special steam vents in our oven door. It works pretty good as you maybe can judge from our baking.
      And yes, we do all our baguette baking in our Rofco oven too as you can see in the same pic! For us it works very well.

      Greetings and happy baking!

      Marieke