The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Amazing WFO w/lots of pictures

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Marni's picture
Marni

Amazing WFO w/lots of pictures

I realy know nothing about building or using woodburning ovens, but I just came across this while searching for something else (gotta love google) and had to share it!  Here's the link for more pictures of how they built it: http://www.pequals.com/at/blueoxoven/index.html


 



 


 


 


 

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

That's amazing.. such craftmanship.  My husband and I are in the process of buying a new house.. we are having our backyard landscaped and my husband has offered to get the kit and build a hearth oven, but they are expensive and I am not sure how good they are.  Anyone else have any experience??


I've heard that keeping steam in them is hard.. would love to hear if anyone else has built one and what they might recommend?


Thanks, great blog!

ClimbHi's picture
ClimbHi

The two books that most turn to for all the info needed to build your own is Kiko Denzer's book primarily focused on earth ovens and/or Alan Scott's book (The Bread Builders") focused on arch-topped masonry ovens. Either type is buildable fairly cheaply (depending on how fancy you want it) by a fair DIYer. Kits tend to cost a bit more and are primarily precast units with relatively thin walls that heat fast on little fuel. Great for pizza, but not so great for other baking where the fire is first removed from the oven since they aren't generally designed to hold a lot of residual heat. So it all depends on what you plan to cook.


There are several threads in this folder of the forum addressing building an oven -- have a look around.


As for steam, a good WFO has the vent stack outside the door or, alternatively for some earth ovens, have a vent hole that is plugged tightly while baking. So once the door is on, they are pretty good at holding steam.


ClimbHi
Pittsburgh, PA

Bakersman's picture
Bakersman

Build it yourself! Go with the dome style fire chamber, if you cook pizza, afterwards you can let it cool a bit then put in several loaves of bread, then roast a whole chicken or med size turkey, or anything else you would cook in your home oven with much more flavors to choose from,hickory, apple,oak, just to name a few. And after the meat is roasted and the smoke is gone you can throw in a chocalate chip cookie ( or ?) on a stone and bake it. Cooking time well organized.


Check out www.traditionaloven.com


Greg  

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Forno Bravo has free plans for an Italian oven design they call the Pompeii. (and sell kits if you don't want to do the local searching. As a general rule, barrel vault ovens (like the Scott design) are better for multiple batches (because they have more refractory and store more heat but they take longer to get ready for baking because you have to put more heat into them), the Pompeii is great for pizza and one or (with a bit of extra cladding) two loads of bread. The Denzer is really cheap and a great way to learn if you want a more robust oven.


Good Luck!


Jay

EvaB's picture
EvaB

and from reading about wood fired ovens, most of them don't have a vent or if they do they are closable, so loosing your steam shouldn't be a problem, but then again, I understand that you fire the oven, mop the floor and walls after taking the ash out, and bake without steam, the heat of the oven and misting your bread causing it to raise without a steam pot. But should be able to use anything like you use in the regular oven, eg: a pan or cast pan with rocks or whatever to hold water for steam, but since you are only supposed to steam for part of the bake, you would have to remove a hot object from your oven.


I sincerely doubt that most village ovens used steam, they merely put the bread in the oven and the moisture of the loaves created any steam. You don't steam pizza as far as I know, and you surely don't steam roasts and other things, so expect the steam is really a side issue that you should be able to figure out how to do.


Can I ask where you would get a kit? A url would be fine, so I can explore this idea for me.

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

 


http://www.fornobravo.com/index.html#pizza_ovens


This is the oven we were considering - the Casa 2G to be exact, and I've heard alot of good things about it.  I chat with Peter Reinhart on occasion and he recommended it and I tend to trust what he says.. but, the cost is enough to make you gulp a few times.  However.. it would be a lovely thing to have.  I just am not sure how many loaves of bread or pizzas it might take to justify the cost!  Kits are around $1300, I believe.  


There are some videos on that link I provided.  Again, thanks for the info!  Will check out the other posts here.

EvaB's picture
EvaB

but I think I would try to build myself one first. However to figure the cost of the oven and how long it would take to pay for itself, figure out how many pizzas you buy in the year, and the delivery costs for them if you have them delivered, then the price of the bread you buy per year and you would be surprised at how fast it would pay for itself.


I know here a tiny pizza from the grocery store is around $5, and if you get one from a pizza place its 15$ and if I had it delivered it would cost me $50 on top of the price, because I'm out of town and a taxi (delivery by taxi is the only way for stuff out of town) would cost me the out and back trip of 23$ or more dollars and probably a charge on top of that for delivering.


For me that might be 45$ a month in pizza, and then there is the bread, the cheapest loaf that is edible is $3 and if you get an artisan style its around 5$ unless you go to the organic bakery only open on Saturday mornings where they are about 6$ but they are fresh and they grind their own flour. So if you figure 2-3 loaves a week (that woudl be high for me) at an average cost of $5 times 4 weeks in a month times 12, It works out to around 100$ a month, so at 1300 for the kit, it would just be over a year that the cost would have ben absorbed, and that doesn't cover the other stuff that can be cooked in the oven, like roasts, and stews and so forth, and the fact that you aren't trying to cool the air in the house while baking (killer hot here at times, and who wants to turn on their oven) so it might balance itself out. Along with the fun you get from trying something new and the goodness of home baked stuff, I expect that the oven would pay for itself in half that estimated year.

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Living in Arizona makes me an expert in heat! :)  We don't eat alot of pizza, maybe just a couple times a month at the most, but I would use it more for breads and you know.. I never even thought of putting the LeCrueset in there and making a stew or something else..


I agree with you that we should look into building our own with a plan.  My husband has built many houses, but don't think he's tackled a brick and clay oven before!


Thanks for the helpful info.. this has been great.

cholla's picture
cholla

Where in AZ?  I am in Phoenix and built an earth oven this winter. It is amazing for pizza and bread. The oven seems to impart something to the loaves that I don't get when baking in the house.


John


 

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

We live in Gilbert... and actually moving in a couple of weeks.  The backyard is being landscaped before we move in and my husband has offered to build a brick oven for breads, pizzas, etc.  Did you design your own or did you get the kit?


thanks!

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Very cool!


Betty

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

california ovenThis oven was at a farm in California when I was there in 2004 (may still be there for all I know). The curled dragon on top was wonderful, and they were baking some sort of sourdough loaves when I was there. It was a nice source of heat on a cool rainy day while kids picked out pumpkins. 

Marni's picture
Marni

Is it available for public viewing?  I live in CA and if it's within a day's drive, might check it out!


Marni

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

It was within an hour of Santa Cruz, but I don't remember the farm. It was one of those local grower programs our friends in CA were in, every week they get a box of veggies, and in October they go there for a shindig and pick out some pumpkins.

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Not to take this subject off topic too much, but the veggie box is called a CSA.  I belong to one here that is a Dairy CSA.  We get a gallon of milk, a pound of fresh-churned butter, eggs, cream, etc.. every other week.  It's actually very nice knowing I have fresh, organic dairy.  Lots of veggie CSA's too, but I buy most all of mine from the produce farmers market nearby.


Love that dragon one.  I wasn't considering one that creates and shoots steam, like a commercial baker oven.. but obviously, I know I need to mop in some steam, etc... just didn't know what anyone else's experience with theirs might be.


I believe Reinhart LOVES his, but who knows.  Seems like a nice addition to the home though.. will certainly help in resell if my only market was another baker!  LOL

thamnophis's picture
thamnophis

I'm over $1000 and only half way done building a Scott style vault oven. The work is very substantial. I've bought, loaded, unloaded literally tons of material. Mixing cement by hand is hard work, and there is lots of it. Driving back and forth to Lowes takes time and money. The kits can be a huge time/money/energy saver. Of course, if you want to dig your own clay and cut your own straw, you can save money, but the end product will be vastly inferior. The mud ovens are an ancient technology that was left in the past for a reason.


 

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

So are you complaining of the cost?  I don't understand your post.. whether you are wishing you would have gone another direction or not?  Is the cost a surprise to you or did you do any research before building?  One might assume that building a decent one would be quite costly when considering the materials needed to go into it.  Not to mention the time.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Sounds as if you're going to have an awesome WFO when all the work is done.  Be sure to post some photos of your breads.


BTW I had no trouble understanding your message:  you stated the kits can save a lot in terms of money, time, and energy.  That makes sense for many projects.


 

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

I suppose my question is... then why not just buy a kit?  Was the reason for building one from scratch to save money or are you going for a custom look and design?  I'm not sure that the poster is actually complaining about the cost, but rather comparing value for money - kit vs custom built.  That was my reason for asking.

thamnophis's picture
thamnophis

Yea, my impression was the poster thought $1300 for a kit was a lot. I was just pointing out that a DIY may well be more than that, and is more work than one might think.


I'm building my own because i have the time and wanted a bigger oven than available from kits. Mine is a bread oven which we will use a few times per week, so it has to hold heat very well. 


From my understanding (and I could easily be wrong here) kit ovens are good for general purposes - quicker to heat up, faster to cool down. But there are so many ways to mess up building one's own that I would recommend the kits to all but the most hardy among us :-)


 

clwest's picture
clwest

I know a lot of folks who have built both types and I went with a Pompeii styled oven.


I love the mass of the AS Style definitely, but it comes at a price - uses much more wood than the Pompeeii style.  Also the Pompeii is designed for high temps, where as the AS is designed for heating mass.  Both can be used for Pizza (though the AS is better at the thick crust style.) Both can be used for bread (with a pompeii, you typically wait until the next day to cook bread.)


As for kit versus home made/self sourced.  There is small price advantage to building yourself.  However, as a recent builder, you use a lot of your own time.  Something like the Casa comes in a few pieces.  Whereas my brick oven took over 220 bricks, many of them cut and some with very intricate cuts.  The nice thing is that building yourself gives you bragging rights (as long as you built it well.)  The big difference is TIME.  Most of the kits get put toether really quickly versus the 40+ hours done on nights and weekends.


As of right now, I am at about $500 on my build - but I scrounged my brick and some other parts.  I fully to expect that I will spend another $1000 when I enclose the structure due to stone veneer, etc.  Then comes the part to add on - a wood fired grill/dutch oven pit, enclosures for the smoker and gas bbq, prep tables.....


Hope this helps!

PassionFlour's picture
PassionFlour

This was just the inspiration I was looking for. Function meets whimsy :)
Thanks for this post!

Bakersman's picture
Bakersman

Passion Flour,


 Build yourself a dome style oven WITH the extra cladding and you will have the best of ALL worlds. DON'T listen to the EXTRA time or WOOD that it takes to get to temprature, it may take an extra half an hour to saturate the cladding but will repay you with radiant heat that the bee hive style oven wish they could do. How can you WAIT until tomorrow to cook bread? That's NUTS!! I fire at 10 a.m.  the first two pizzas are on the table at 12. I cook several more depending on the crowd, for hours!! By the time everyone is fed and the mess cleaned up it's time to bake bread, several loaves for the week!! THEN, a whole chicken or a small turkey, roast etc. can go in for a few hours with NO extra fire. After that, if you want a cake or brownies, choc.chip cookie on cleaned off pizza stone , go for it. It IS worth the time to build. It took me three months to build mine, working most day's, but remember there is alot of DRYING time to consider during the build. hope this helps.


Look at www.traditionaloven.com    Greg's pizza oven.


Regards

alphaphaedrus's picture
alphaphaedrus

We remodeled our kitchen and got rid of the 50's electric range we had and subsenquently had no oven. Used the BBQ and micro exclusively for a few months until we decided we wanted a pizza oven, knowing we could use it for more than that. Built it using the forno bravo guidelines out of firebrick and it's the best addition to the house ever. We hardly ever use the bbq any more! Pizza 4 nights a week probably with some roast pork, chicken, or  stew with the residual heat. Now I'm here looking to get into bread baking. +1 to bakersman's post. Took a month to build with a lot of time off work for cutting bricks. We've done build your own pizza parties for 50 and then 90 people with great success. For daily use after work I mix the dough, light the fire while it rises, then oven and dough are ready about the same time and pizzas ready by dinner. We still don't have a conventional oven....maybe some day. We're in san diego so you can't justify NOT cooking outdoors.