Saturday, August 30, 2008

Brick Oven/Maine

Not wanting to do another earth oven this time, I thought I'd try using brick, incorporating a baking shelf in the oven to see what it would be like baking with the fire under the shelf. The oven sits on an insulated pedestal (a stump), while the oven itself is made from 36 standard clay bricks with some angle iron. The outside of the oven as well as the base is insulated with sawdust and Portland cement. Finally, the oven is stuccoed with surface bonding cement. With this arrangement, I'm hoping the inside of the oven stays dry, but it shouldn't really matter because there's no clay to get wet.

First pizza

Oven door

Side view of oven door constructed with plywood and an aluminum turkey roaster that was filled with insulation.

First loaf of bread about to come out of oven

After baking with the new oven for awhile, I'll report back to give my impressions of this baking arrangement.


carm said...

That's beautiful, Stu! Gorgeous. I like the door. Well done!


Breadhunter said...

Glad you like the door. Although the back of the door is made with an aluminum turkey roaster, it is not stuffed with breadcrumbs. Rather, the door insulation is a combination of sawdust, perlite and some Portland cement.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the photos Stu.
When I get the time I will tackle an oven. Right now my starter has come back to full, foamy, aromatic strength and I am baking some very nice loaves in my cloches regularly. So nict to have good bread again.
Mark in Solon

Breadhunter said...

8-30-08 I'm noticing that starting fires is quite easy, and this might be because of the baking shelf. The fire is constricted (mostly) to the area below the shelf, but the draft also sends the fire swirling behind and over the the shelf. It seems like the fire knows what to do, rather than being "lost" in a conventional earth oven.

8-31-08 When doing a baking shelf, make sure you have enough clearance for your baking loaf. Leave enough space for oven spring. My oven should have been a little higher because the loaf I baked yesterday didn't have quite enough space above, and it got mildly stuck between the shelf and the top of the inner oven.

9-2-08 I'm going to rethink using sawdust as insulation. Although it's free, I believe perlite might be a much better insulator.

Breadhunter said...

You definitely need more space than 4" between the surface of the baking shelf and the top of the oven. I only have 4" and I should have about
6 1/4". what I can do is search around for a lower profile shelf.

Breadhunter said...

Surface bonding cement comes in white or gray. I chose the gray, and when I applied it, it was very dark. However, after it cured, it became quite a bit lighter, and I really like the color.