The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Community Oven Insights

Calantha's picture

Community Oven Insights


I've just become involved in a community oven project.  We had our first bake last weekend and while it was a success (all baguettes sold!), it was a learning experience and there is definitely room for improvement.  I was wondering if anyone had any resources, or would be willing to connect/share advice regarding the organization of volunteers, oven use, timing of bread production/baking, or even recipes that have worked for you.  There seems to be a dearth of resources available with regards to the organization of community oven projects, although I'd rather connect with individuals than reading from a website anyway.

Thanks in advance.


escargo's picture

I would love to know where your community oven is.

Different community ovens have organized themselves differently. I suggest asking people at the White Bear Lake United Methodist Church about how they organize their oven.

They public a schedule of what temperature the oven will be at a given time. They ask people to reserve space in the oven for a particular time.

If there is any more information I can provide, just add another comment here.

Calantha's picture

Hi escargo,

I've been on your website already and I think you're already familiar with us (I've seen you as a member in our FB group)--KIPPElora.  

At the moment, I'm mostly interested in how people organize large bakes, rather than organizing public use of the community oven.  A group of volunteers with KIPPElora will be undertaking an "Easter bake" where we will want to bake something (we haven't determined appropriate recipes yet--part of what I'm researching) for up to 500 people.  I'm just trying to garner insights into logistics/resource requirements of such an undertaking, and to see whether others have been doing similar things (not pizza-related).

Thanks for the link.  I have yet to check it out, but I will do so as soon as I can.


Calantha's picture

I am thrilled to hear that these actually exist somewhere -- that folks have revived the old European practice of firing up a community oven once a week (or more) to which families bring their doughs ready for baking.  I had a vision of such a thing, either a proper deck oven (to which home bakers crave access) or, like the church program above, a wood-fired one -- even better.  I've thought about trying to organize such a thing where I am but...other priorities.

Great idea!  Best of luck with it!



Carbondale Community Oven's picture
Carbondale Comm...

Carbondale Community Oven can be found on Facebook. Go to our page of that name and see photographs of our most recent bake.  Our oven is now one year old!

cannyfradock's picture

I have nothing but praise for people who organise community projects. I'm not sure what the history of "The American Continant" is, but Europe has a long history dating back thousands of years to communal cooking and baking in one fixed Wood-fired-oven within a community. Usually owned by the baker of the village, the retained heat of the oven after the days loaves have been baked would be used by the community to bake usually pots or casseroles of food for the family evening meals. One day was also sometimes set aside for bread baking for the village inhabitants falling on the one day off in the week that the baker took.

I was quite priveliged recently to be involved with building a Clay oven for a community project in Raglan S.Wales. This will be used in activities for groups of people including ex-soldiers who have lost limbs etc, helping them to adjust back to sivvy street...... more on the clay oven can be seen here ..

Another community project I help out at by working the "pizza peel" is at a community oven in Taunton England. This is an unusual clay oven which kids from the local area can make their own pizzas and have them baked in this Clay oven... 

I take my hat off to anybody who can volunteer a little time to help these projects get off the ground.