If you think it’s hot today, imagine what it is like working at Proof Bakery in Atwater Village when bakers fire up a room-sized, gas-powered Dalton oven to 400 degrees. The approximately 10-foot wide, 50 year-old oven is big enough to bake 72 pies at a time, according to an L.A. Times story. This industrial-sized, gas oven, which Proof owner Na Young Ma inherited from a former bakery that once operated in the same space, bakes up what the Times and others have praised as among the best croissants in Los Angeles. Of course, like any other baker or cook who works with old appliances, Ma has learned a few tricks to get the results she needs from a 50-year old oven. Says the Times:
The eight sheet trays of croissants will be baked at 400 degrees the next morning on the left side of the oven, which gets hotter than the right. Brioche loaves or frangipane tarts get baked at the same temperature setting and could go in at the same time on the right side, but not biscuits or gougeres (those need to be baked on the left). Bricks in the corners of some of the oven shelves help to level their off-kilterness.
Ma says the double-door oven “has made us better bakers.”