Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bread Oven Ghana
Note the very large beautifully shaped bread oven. Interestingly, the breads are baked in loaf pans, rather than free form directly on the floor. Too bad I couldn't find a photo of the front of the oven.

Bread Oven Gaza Refugee Camp
Fathia Al-Absi bakes bread in a traditional oven for her family at her home at the Al-Shati refugee camp, Gaza. Photograph: Abid Katib/Getty Images.
Pita breads require a very hot oven to expand.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bread Oven Tunisia

A traditional bread oven in Hergla. It's very similar to Indian naan - you slap the dough on the inside walls.

Bread Oven Vanuatu

A local bread oven made from a 44 gallon drum lined on the outside with a few inches of concrete.

Bread oven Panama

"Pedasi- Fifty years ago Pedasi had five exterior wood-fired ovens in daily use. Today most of the bread consumed in the village is transported from the capital where it is baked in electric ovens at commercial bakeries. There is though one exterior oven in regular use, its operator selling his bread and cakes in competition with the "long life" bread baked in the national and provincial capitals."
Go to the web site to see a whole series of bread ovens in Panama.

Art Farm Oven

I love the look of the Art Farm Oven, but I sure hope the oven is insulated from all that rock which surrounds it. Without the insulation, the surrounding rock would be sucking heat away from the oven proper, and lots of wood would be required to heat up the oven, assuming the oven could ever get hot enough to bake.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tiny Oven Opening

Maybe it's just the camera lense, but the oven opening seems exceedingly small.

Bread Oven Costa Rica

I really like the multi-colored corrugated metal roof.

Traveling Pizza Oven Germany

Burundi Bread Oven

A multi-fuel oven that's quite complex.

Urban Earth Oven

I think the tractor trailer tire used as a foundation is a very cool idea as long as there's sufficient insulation under the floor. Without the insulation the tire could become molten and would release some very unpleasant aromas.

Stone and Mud Oven Roof

Looks like the base was done with mortar, and I like the mixture of mud and stone for the dome.

Sunset Magazine Bread Oven

Interesting oven that uses a half barrel for form.,20633,690891,00.html

Underground Baking Iceland

Underground baking ovens near Bjarnarflag Thermal Station, where hverabrau, a traditional rye bread is slowly baked for over 20 hours using geo-thermal energy.

Steaming Oven

"Yes this is steam rising out of the mud oven dome. It rained the previous 2 days and while the mud oven was still firm it had soaked up a lot of water and took a couple of hours of heat to burn it off."
I don't really know how long an oven can last if it gets rained on a lot, but I'm sure a covering would definitely prolong the life of an earth oven.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bread Oven Central Asia

Bread Oven Caribbean

Bread Oven Uzbekistan

Photo from AP Photo by MANSUR MIROLAEV

The wife of karakul shepherd Shakir Kushbekov warms up her clay oven to bake unleavened flat breads on the Kanimekh karakul farm in central Uzbekistan on April 4, 2007. The cart, foreground, contains saksaul, a desert bush that generates as much heat as coal. When I look at this photo, I think I'm looking at some sort of mortar weapon still smoking after having been fired.

Bread ovens France

This the view from the master bedroom at a rental house in France. A beautiful stone oven built into a hillside.

A bread oven in the market at Antibes.
Looks like the pizza was baked on a tray. A better arrangement would be to bake the pizza directly on the oven floor (the hearth).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bread Oven/Coffee roaster

"In winter we cook mainly on our wood stove, but in summer we've had to rely on a propane range. I don't like using propane in the first place, but even worse is the fact that our particular propane oven has a big electric igniter that stays on when the oven is turned on. So summer baking has meant both fossil fuel use and an unwelcome electrical load. Then a couple of years ago a New York city publisher called me to check firewood terminology for an Australian book on brick ovens they intended to publish for the North American market. The publisher reciprocated by sending me a copy of Your Brick Oven by Russell Jeavons. It turned out to be a gem of a little book and it prompted me to build one."
Well worth a visit to his website to view the construction of this unusual oven.

Omani Bread Oven

Naf'ah sticks Omani bread in the earthen oven

The Making of the Salalah Bread

"...Fresh Omani bread baked daily by Naf'ah are sold like hot cakes, especially during the monsoon season. Her major clients are the mountain people of Taqah for whom the bread serves as a main food item during the wet weather.Two types of bread are baked by Naf'ah — the thin variety which resembles kuboos and the other which is almost an inch in thickness. The rolling of dough requires three minutes for each bread. On an average, Naf'ah bakes 40 each of the two varieties daily.While the dough is rolled and readied, Naf'ah is assisted by an employee to prepare fire in an earthen oven. Charcoal lies in ember in the oven when Naf'ah steps out from the kitchen with the raw bread. After cleaning the oven walls, Naf'ah sticks the pieces of bread inside the oven. At a time, nearly 20 pieces of bread can be baked in the oven which is one metre deep and one metre in diameter.
The thin variety of bread requires about 15 minutes for baking while the thick variety requires 25 minutes..."

Monday, May 5, 2008

Bread Ovens Honduras

Note how the oven opening is getting beat up. Some type of reinforcement would prevent this.

Bread oven in village of Socorro, Siguatepeque, Honduras

Baking bread in this oven that rests right on the ground is definitely a hands and knees affair.

Bread Oven Cyprus

Poilane Bread

Best known sourdough bread in Paris, if not in fact, the world.

Poilâne and Dali made a birdcage together out of dough. "The bird could eat its way out of the cage," Poilâne said. "That was very real to me. As an apprentice, I too felt like a bird in a cage made out of bread. I just fed on my limits."

Poilane in the shop, Jack Guez, 1999

Poilâne's web site the company, their products, their vision and has the largest on-line annotated bread bibliography that exists anywhere.

boutique Poilane
The fisrt Poilâne bakery
boutique Poilane
Cherche midi street entrance in 1909

boutique Poilane
Lionel Poilâne in 1969

boutique Poilane
Apollonia, center, at Bièvre factory with her delivery team.

boutique Poilane
Apollonia Poilâne and Cherche-Midi 's team

The Beginnings

In 1932, a young baker from Normandy came to Paris to open his first shop.
The bakery was located on 8 rue du cherche-midi in the artsy Saint- Germain des Prés district. Despite the fierce competition, he was determined to bake the traditional French sourdough loaves which were not as popular as baguettes.
At the time, there were 5 bakeries on rue du cherche-midi. Today, there is only 1.

The Sourdough Loaf

Large round off-white crumb sourdough loaves are a traditional French bread. However, after World War II, the Parisians preferred white bread in opposition to the dark flour loaves they had to eat during the war.
Nevertheless, Pierre Poilâne saw a dual advantage to his four pound loaves: they kept longer and could be cut into large slices.
Thus, he continued to bake this bread using stone-ground flour, sea salt from Guérande and a wood-fired oven.

A Retailers’ Network

Little by little, the bakery started supplying wine bars opened by coal merchants wishing to complete their revenue from their declining business. Poilâne’s first client was Au Sauvignon, a neighboring wine bar that served the bread with cheese and charcuterie. Cheesemongers soon started to retail the bread. A small poster indicated that they sold Poilâne loaves: “Ici Pain Poilâne, sourdough bread, stoneground flour, wood-fired brick ovens.” Finally, restaurants joined the trend.

A Worldwide Retailer’s Network

Lionel Poilâne took over the family business in the early 1970s. He had started his apprenticeship as a baker at the age of 14. Thanks to his travelling, he made contacts that later became his first international retailers. Despite the growth in the number of retailers, the baking techniques remained the same. Each loaf is handcrafted by a baker trained with Poilâne techniques. For Lionel Poilâne, quality was more important than quantity.


Lionel Poilâne was an avid learner. He learned about different bread making techniques, machines, and wheat and flour production. He even conducted experiments to produce bread that would combine the best of old techniques while incorporating the best of new techniques. This is what he called “retro-innovation.”

Bread and Beyond

Lionel Poilâne also conducted research on the link between bread and humanity. For him, bread was intimately linked with history, politics, arts, language etc. Over time, he started a collection of books and iconography revealing the extent of those links.


In 1969, Lionel Poilâne met Salvador Dali. The artist soon began to order objects and sculptures made of bread. In 1971, he even ordered a whole bedroom made out of bread. The Spanish artist wanted to find out if he had mice in his house!
Other artists followed: Man Ray, the Lalannes, César…

The Manufactory

At the beginning of the 1980s, Poilane had two Parisian shops. However, this was not enough to respond to the growing demand. Lionel Poilâne and his wife – an architect and designer – conceived a manufactory. The challenge consisted in creating the same bread in larger proportions. The facility the bakery owner and his wife designed has 24 wood-fire ovens where each baker works as if he were in one of the shops.

A First Shop Abroad in London

In June of 2000, Lionel Poilâne opened his first shop outside of France, in London. It took him over 2 years to obtain the permission to use a wood-fired oven: the Great Fire of London in 1666 began in a bakery.


Apollonia Poilâne, the daughter of Lionel Poilâne, took over the company in 2002. She intends to follow her grand-father and father’s footsteps.

Bread Oven Thailand

Bird House Argentina

Look familiar? The form is universal.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Bread Ovens Of Quebec

The Bread Ovens of Quebec (Paperback)
by Lise Boily (Author), Jean-Francois Blanchette (Author), Lise Boily-Blanchette (Author)
This is a very difficult book to find because it's out of print. Used copies are selling for about $150.00.
I really love my copy because of the photos and the folklore concerning bread. Building this type of clay oven is not for the faint of heart. Instead of a simple sand mold, an armature of alder branches is used, and that takes skill.

Build Your Own Earth Oven: a low-cost, wood-fired, mud oven, simple sourdough bread, perfect loaves

by Kiko Denzer, with Hannah Field

Hand Print Press, 129 pp., $17.95 (paper)

The revolutionary book that turned so many people on the earth ovens
Earth Oven Adventure
Stuart Silverstein
Use Earth Oven Adventure as a template to help you build your own outdoor earth oven. No special skills required. Detailed text with black and white photos provide all the information you'll need. Upon completion, you'll be baking in your earth oven the most astonishingly terrific pizzas, flat breads and raised loaves.

Piki Bread

Woman Making Piki (circa 1906)

"The Hopi believe that they received corn from the vegetation deity. The spirits of rain and fertility are believed to carry corn which they sprinkle before them as they walk through the skies so as to form a road.
Corn was of critical importance to the Hopi, just as it was for the other southwest peoples. In an area where food was often scarce, corn provided a relatively stable food supply with important nutritional value. Corn is pounded into flour and made into tortillas as well into piki. This is basically cornbread spread into a very thin layer, almost paper thin, that is then baked in an oven. The resulting crispy bread is called piki. (Kellog's Corn Flakes is, basically, a Hopi invention.)"

Bread Ovens Mexico
some nice bakery shots to view on this site