Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Pizza in the Forest: HBinFive

Have you ever wanted to just get away from it all?  Away from the hustle and bustle of the city and away from cell phones and laptops and television.  Well, that’s what we did for a couple of days and it was heavenly. 

The Hostel in the Forest is a beautiful retreat in Brunswick, Georgia.  It’s in the city, but off the beaten path.  All sorts of people pass through this forest.  Some come just to relax and get away for awhile.  Other folks, like us, stop here on their way to other destinations, and some decide to stay awhile to be a part of the community, to learn about sustainability, and to reflect on their purpose in this crazy world we live in.

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Once you enter the forest, time stands still and life becomes much simpler.  

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There are no TVs, or other distractions.

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Just the wonderful allure of nature. 

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Cell phones are banned and if you get caught talking on one, they’ll throw you in the pool.  Or, so they say.  I was never tempted to test fate. 

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We stayed in Elmo’s Hut for a couple of days and it was wonderful. 

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This community porch is usually filled with friendly faces and new friends.  I took this photo when no one was sitting here to protect the serenity of the atmosphere and the privacy of the dear people who visit or live in this peaceful place.

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This is the laundry room where you’ll find blankets and sheets and towels.

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They are building a Cob oven and I look forward to baking pizza in it one day. This photo is a little bit fuzzy, but if you look closely, you can see the oven in the background.  They decorated the walls with glass bottles.  It’s really neat!

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Here’s another shot of the oven.

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I didn’t get to bake in the Cob oven yet, but the kitchen staff graciously allowed me to bake pizza in their community kitchen.

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The current residents and volunteers at the hostel are trying to live gluten-free and I really wanted to bake the HBinFive gluten-free pizza dough, but I didn’t have time to get all of the ingredients together before we left home. 

Instead, I used the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes Whole Wheat Olive Oil dough that I had mixed up a few days earlier.  No one visiting or living at the hostel at this time was allergic to wheat so they didn’t mind that it wasn’t gluten-free. 

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The kitchen was full of people while I was preparing the pizza and I kept forgetting to take pictures of the process, but it sure was fun! It was kind of dark in the kitchen, so some of the pictures are a little bit dark, but I included them so you could get a feel for the atmosphere.

I brought most of my pizza tools with me (because I’m a geek like that), but it was really nostalgic to bake in their kitchen. 

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My main taste tester cut up all the veggies for me. Don’t they look delicious!


Once the oven was preheated and ready to go,

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I placed the pizza on the stone to par bake for a few minutes.

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Then, I spread the dough with homemade marinara sauce and veggies and topped it with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. 

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I let the pizza bake for another 5 minutes or so, then took it out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.

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Then, before I knew it, it had disappeared in a flash.  Next time, I’ll bring more dough or bring the ingredients to make more dough.

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Everyone that tried the pizza seemed to enjoy it.  They were so surprised that I made the pizza dough by hand.  So, I took the opportunity to extol the virtues of the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes method. 

John, one of the current residents of the hostel, said it was the best pizza he had ever eaten.  I asked him if I could quote him on that and he said “yes!” He even posed for the camera.  John is a fellow bread-baker and we had a great time talking bread.  Thanks John!

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To me, this is the beauty of the HBinFive method. I made the whole wheat olive oil dough two days before we left, put it in the refrigerator for two days, then transported it for several hours in a cooler and kept it in the cooler overnight.  When I finally baked the dough, it was three days from the time I had made the dough and it tasted great!


I didn’t get the chance to make the gluten-free bread or pizza for the April 15 HBinFive bread braid but I hope to give it a shot for the May 1st bread braid.  I also hope to perfect it for the next time I visit this retreat in the forest.

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Thanks for joining me in the bread-baking blog.  Please check out BigBlackDog to see the April 15th Bread Braid roundup.

Happy Baking!


About the HBinFive Baking Group

The HBinFive Baking Group, started by Michelle of Big Black Dogs, is baking through all of the breads in the  Healthy Bread in Five Minutes book. For more information on the new HBinFive baking group, check out Michelle's blog.



Here are some additional bread-making resources:

You might enjoy some of the other breads that have been featured in the bread making blog.

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