The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Number one

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Lisa Mary's picture
Lisa Mary

Number one

I have started to work part-time in a bakery. Not a commercial chain bakery, but one which has an old 1939 brick oven, once fired by coal.


ehanner's picture

Lisa Mary,

The town in Michigan I grew up in has an old bakery that is stilled fired by coal every day. I usually equate coal with smelly smoke from loading my grandmothers coal fired furnace every week. But, I guess they are pretty good ovens.

I'd be interested in hearing about your experiences working in the bakery. Welcome to TFL.


Lisa Mary's picture
Lisa Mary

Hey Eric,

I wasn't expecting a response, so thanks! I asked about the oven yesterday and it is now gas-fired. Originally, it was in another part of the village and after the old bakery finally closed, the oven having had years of inactivity, it was moved to its present site brick by brick with not a single breakage.

It is very big, approx. 2m x 2m and has three ovens. The bakers really know its temperament. So far all I have done is melt butter in it so not much first hand experience yet!



ananda's picture

Hi Lisa Mary; welcome to TFL!

Hi Eric!

I began my baking career in 1987, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, working on a coke-fired brick oven with capacity for 3 baking sheets.   A friend of mine had been inspired to build it having spent a summer working in Cumbria as a gardener on the smallholding attached to the bakery which I came to work at some 7 years later!

We were radical and ahead of our time; great memories, but, really hard graft too!   And...very dirty, of course!

All good wishes


Lisa Mary's picture
Lisa Mary

Hi Andy,

I can imagine how dirty that must have been. Actually for a long time I have wanted a dome brick oven in my back yard. I saw a program - River Cottage, I think - and they built one to make pizzas in but it was WAY too small. The only thing I've every built was a brick BBQ a couple of years ago, after my hubby wouldn't buy one! So I thought, how hard can it be? Tt worked really well - I must dig up the photo ...