The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Designs/plans needed

Pioneer Foodie's picture
Pioneer Foodie

Designs/plans needed

for a brick oven with the firebox separate from the oven itself.  I think it's called "gueulard," with the gases directed into the oven.  Is anything available online?  Is the hardware available to order?

Nickisafoodie's picture

Try Dan Leader at Bread Alone bakery in NY state - they have a large commercial brick oven that is build that way, came from france and build brick by brick from an old world craftsman over 20 years ago.  they may be able to give you contacts for the cast iron components that direct the fire...

ClimbHi's picture

Gueulard -- now there's a term I've never heard. I have always understood that fire-in-the-box ovens were called "black ovens", and fire-outside-the-box ovens were called "white ovens". A google search on the term turned up this post over at forno bravo:

You might wanna check it out and contact the poster to find out his parts source.

Pittsburgh, PA

Don Bigote's picture
Don Bigote

This is my charcoal-fired brick oven at home.  It's not what most expect to see of a brick oven.. but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in function. 

It's simply a box-shaped oven made out of firebricks, with a pull-out firebox directly underneath.  The heat of the glowing charcoal enters the oven chamber thru a large opening at the bottom of the oven, and is buffered by a raised firebrick floor.  A flue opening at the top of the chamber induces convection upwards.   Construction is modular; remove the door, remove the firebox, separate the stand.. and the oven can be lifted and carried by three average guys.   

Surprisingly, it burns charcoal very efficiently and almost smoke-free.  A gallon-size bucket full of charcoal gets it to normal cooking/baking temperature in about an hour and it stays hot enough for the purpose for half the day.  It takes relatively little to keep it going for as long as needed. It is essentially a small redesigned ceramic kiln.. and it does reach 700+ deg. F. temperatures given over an hour preheat and proper stoking. According to its maker, it can stack three 15"x15" pizza stones on the racks.. but I opted to put in only two. I've so far tested the oven on pizza, a couple of batches of pandesal, no-knead bread, 10+kg of roast angus beef for Christmas dinner, and a side of pork roast with crackling for New Year's Eve. I'll put it to more regular use as soon as I'm done with baking school in a couple of weeks..  



Nickisafoodie's picture

Hi Don, totally awesome oven...   Can you share with us the mfg and other details and supllier?  And what modification you may have made?

Are there issues firing this in the house re co2 or other gase buildup?  Would think you want this outside or a good vent/flue?  Any pics of the oven floor and the opening where the heat goes into the oven?  Anyway, very impressive and would love to know more when you come up for air!  thank you...

Don Bigote's picture
Don Bigote

My oven was built by a local craftsman who used to be in the glazed ceramics business.  His factory also produced firebricks which they used to make their kilns.  When the business came upon hard times due to cheap China imports, he modified the basic kiln design to suit cooking and baking purposes, and sold charcoal-fired ovens and cookstoves instead.

The box form factor was most probably for ease of construction, and to maximize headroom relative to multi-purpose applications.  It's high temperature performance (specific to cooking pizza) takes backseat to other more mainstream commercial applications such as roasting (beef, pork and/or fowl), baking breakfast bread (pandesal) and rice cakes (bibingka).   There doesn't seem to be any formula to the oven dimensions or proportions.. as I have seen chamber widths/depths of 12, 15 and 18 inches, and employing the same size firebox.  Apparently, chamber size is dictated only by, or limited to, the size of what the user intends to put inside.  I have seen double/triple width variants with multiple fireboxes (for roasting whole pigs ala La Caja China), and I know of a big custom-built wood-fired version being used in one top local restaurant/culinary school.

Please excuse the poor quality cellphone picture, but at the moment this is the only shot I have of the firebox, floor opening and the raised floor.  I will try to get a better one sometime soon.  Anyway.. if you will notice, the firebrick along the bottom is only half as thick as the walls and the roof.  The floor opening is exactly the same dimensions as the firebox pit opening.  

The firebox floor is (removable) 1/2-inch thick firebrick grate that allows ash to fall onto a collecting tray underneath.  Along both sides of the ashtray are sliding panels that adjust  opening size for air intake.  When the firebox is separated from the oven, it can serve as stand-alone barbeque hob. 

The raised firebrick floor/heat buffer is propped up by the stainless steel rack which also supports the grills and stones at variable heights.  There's about 1-1/2 inch gap all around the floor/buffer/rack and the walls to allow convection on all sides.

The firebrick door swings on heavy-duty pintle hinges that allow door removal by simply pulling the door straight up.  When closed, the door is secured in place by a latch which may be tightened/locked by twisting the handle.  The full frontal opening bleeds off a lot of heat when open, but the walls, roof, plus the door's thermal mass seems more than enough to bring chamber (air) temperature back up when closed. 

The first time I saw the oven in actual fired operation.. it was on demo inside an air-conditioned tradeshow hall!  Apparently, it had not triggered any smoke or gas alarms.  And the first time I fired my oven, it was in the kitchen inside our house. Well, the oven was situated right beside large wall opening.   Still, I would advise putting it under a smoke hood or connecting to a chimney stack.. otherwise you'll find fine carbon dust settling atop nearby surfaces.

I'm inclined to assume that the firebricks used are more of the insulating kind as the oven's outside surface is only quite warm and touchable even as it's already over 500-600 deg. F. inside.  It's relatively safe to come in contact with the oven sides during operation.  Despite the supposed lack of heat storing capacity, those bricks stay hot longer than I can possibly wait to transport the oven elsewhere. 

I could think of a few improvements on the design for faster pre-heat, efficient convection, even temperatures, and better portability.. but I'd most probably leave this one untouched (hey, it works fine enough as it is!) and just build myself another with all the modifications.  

Ruralidle's picture

Amazing.  What a great oven!  Very impressed.

AndreasMergner's picture


Your brick oven is very similar to one that I would like to build. My goal is to be able to cook pizza, BBQ and grill with it outside similarly to a Big Green Egg...only made from brick. I have fire bricks and regular bricks at hand already.

You mentioned that you had some ideas for improving the design. I would like to insulate my oven and try not to have too much mass so I can get a faster pre-heat. What other ideas did you have?

I posted on a couple of other forums about a brick oven that could function like yours and no one had any ideas! If you have any helpful ideas or advice for me, I would be very interested to hear!

Thanks much, Andreas