Our second post in our brand new series Sparking Up Your Skills contains valuable tips to keep your first real cooking session completely foolproof. Sometimes we get the question what makes you the best for the first time in a Vonken. There is actually no correct answer to this. Perhaps the most important lesson is that no matter what you do, you really can't afford to miss it. You can prepare something during every phase of the fire. So you never have to wait! So just jump in and start experimenting, because that's the nice thing about cooking with fire. Here are some useful tips, tailored to which dishes you want to prepare.
Do you want to bake pizza first?
Then make sure you make the fire in your Vonken at least 20 to 25 minutes in advance (see previous blog post), so that the stones are also warm. If you are not yet so master of the fire, then you just let it burn a little longer, that's just as good. For pizza it is important that you bake with a lively flame: just before you start rolling out your pizza, add an extra block, so that the flame is good. Wipe the baking floor with the brush just before you slide the pizza in.
Do you want to bake bread?
Attention: for every good bread you need patience.
It is best to light your Vonken well in advance (at least 2.5 hours in advance) so that the Vonken is thoroughly warm and has been able to store all the heat in the stones and the vault. These will be needed later to release when the bread bakes. When the flame is out, and you only have glowing coals left, it is best to remove it with the pizza shovel, so that you can start making bread carefree. In that case, make sure that the temperature of the baking floor is not too high (an infrared thermometer is useful for this). Prefer to leave the coals in? Then wait a little longer until it has almost all turned into ashes, otherwise the bread would burn because of the glowing coals. An extensive bread recipe from one of our bakers or founders can be found here and here .
Do you want to experiment with hard vegetables?
You can hardly go wrong with this! Feel free to put a pumpkin or celeriac whole in your Vonken, even if you've only just started making fire. Place them next to the flames or coals (but not in the flames). They can easily cook for an hour or more on the baking floor, and invariably have a buttery tender inside (and you don't have to worry about the blackened outer shell, you can just cut it away).
Are you starting with meat or fish?
You can either use a stainless steel casserole dish with a piece of meat in it that you slide under the hot flames (but if you're making a roast or a piece that takes a little longer, it's recommended to wait for the flames to die down so the meat does not burn too quickly), or you can work with our grill set . The great thing about the grill set is that it is cooked on two sides: a hot cast-iron plate at the bottom and the hot flames at the top. Fish and meat sear on both sides, so that they retain maximum juiciness and tenderness.
Do you just want to make a casserole?
Great, that's very easy. You can check again whether you want a fast and crispy result (you get that by baking with flame and don't put a stainless steel oven dish overcrowded in your Vonken), or rather slow results (you get that by waiting until the flame goes out). and a filled oven dish slides onto the baking floor at a temperature that is not too high).
Success numbers with flame are : oven dishes filled with Mediterranean vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, pieces of bell pepper and zucchini. Also possible are pieces of fish or a quick mash au gratin.
Success numbers for the slow story are : lasagna, dishes with layers or all dishes that are very filling and take time to cook. It is best to make sure that the stone floor is already warm, but that the flames have died down. You can always use a sheet of aluminum foil to cover the casserole to prevent the top from burning.
With these tips you are definitely ready to start cooking!
Did you cook a good first dish or do you have a subject that you would like tips on? Tag us on Instagram ( @vonken.ovens ) or Facebook , and share your inspiration for further blog posts with tips in our Facebook group Vonken Family !
Sebastian & Adrian
Sparking up the good life!