The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New Toronto Member

crackher's picture

New Toronto Member

Hello Everyone,


After month and months of lurking I decided to take the plunge and join....seems to be a great place.

A little about me

I have been trained in culinary arts.  I specialized mainly in the preparation of meats from curing to roasting from braising to smoking.  I walked away from the industry many years ago out of frustration in the rigors of the industry to become a "home based chef" which allowed me to expand my horizons and become familar in a variety of cooking styles (but remaining true to meats).  I prepared traditional Italian flavours and add unique twists and have developed several personal recipes and favourites.  I have spent the past several years "in the smoke" working with pork pork and more pork eventually moving towards beef and specialized creations.

Last summer I built my first wood oven after having a conversation with my Nonna regarding the best bread, pasta and meat dishes.  she said "you can make anything you want, but it will never AS good as back home"  I asked why she said the ingredients are not the same...I said I can fix that, I started making, growing, importing my own...she said the way you cook and what you use is not the same....I said I can fix that too..So I built an oven....She said "you don't know how"...I said that is where you come in...

I have spent the great part of the past several months adapting my recipes to the wood fire oven, remarkably there are few resources that I truely feel capture this unique a delicatable style of preparation.  and so the quest commences.

I live in Caledon, Ontario northwest of Toronto some ways.  I have been turned on to baking since the oven was completed I have had several failures....but also a couple of great successes but along the way learning always


dwcoleman's picture

I'm going to build one next year hopefully, I live in London, ON.  Are you protecting it from the snow?

gmagmabaking2's picture

into building one of those... think it would be great to build a barbeque/smoker/wood oven/island... sounds good, huh?!  Trying to get the finished design in my mind -- so I can start that Texas project in the Spring.


crackher's picture


No need to protect it from anything. as long as it is built correctly.  When I say that one of the most tramatic errors people make is under not taking into account the climatic they live in.  there are so many beautiful Eurpoean ovens, and there are so many websites devoted to ovens in warm climates.  The construction techniques employed there will not work here so you need to understnad the concept of the oven and the princiles of the oven and apply those to our climate.  I use my oven on a regular basis, but even so the consistent heating a cooling will eventually take its toll....Remember mother Nature is a sore loser, she always wins

dwcoleman's picture

I'm going go build an earth oven this spring hopefully, I've been reading Kiko Denzer's book again and again and again.

My soil is full of clay which is good for me, I just need to gather the materials and manpower to build it one weekend.  I've seen some people build a rudimentary shelter for their earth ovens, others prefer to use no roof.

Do you have any pictures of your oven?

golfermd's picture

A great personal story.


CanuckJim's picture

Welcome.  I'm just south of Port Perry, and my WFO has been in operation for the last ten years.  Your initial approach is somewhat different from mine.  I started with breads, then moved on to general cooking in it, including meats.  Every spring, we hold a pizza and bread bash here, a party really, that you might want to attend.  We concentrate of Neapolitan pizza during the event, and some people bring their own favorite ingredients.  Usually have about 80 people or so. 

Regarding protection, roof it to keep it dry.  Wet insulation does not insulate.  Cold weather does not have an effect on my oven, though if I start it up from ambient low temperatures, the firing is slower and more sustained to bring it up gradually.