The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Alan Scott Oven - Hearth Slab (help!)

MattDamon4Life's picture

Alan Scott Oven - Hearth Slab (help!)

Alright Folks! I've just about lost my mind... trying to source a concrete for the hearth slab of my bread oven. I'm pretty much following the plans exactly, except that I plan on making the slab and dome a little thicker for longer heat retention.

In the slightly dated book, they recommend using a Calcium Aluminate cement (around 40%)- specifically something like Ciment Fondu ( However, this company does not sell small quantities and according to them, there are no retailers that carry it. 

Kerneos pointed me toward Harbison Walker- they carry a sack mix castable refractory concrete specifically for bread and pizza ovens called Ovenzz castable. The only problem is that It costs $38 for a 55lb bag.. putting the slab alone around $500..

Who has built this oven? Did you open to build the hearth slab with just Portland? Did you buy a refractory? Is there some sort of cheaper Portland based high heat concrete that I should be looking at? How much did you spend? Has your slab already split in two? Help me out! Please :)

I'm based in South Jersey, close to Philadelphia.



MichaelLily's picture

I recommend the forno bravo forum at, specifically under the "Pompeii Oven Construction" topic.  Everybody on there has built or is currently building brick ovens and there is more general pertinent knowledge there all in one place.  A lot of them make their own high heat mortar out of Portland, lime, sand, and fireclay.  It's important to note that Portland cement itself doesn't hold in high heat but it might hold up well enough.

kendalm's picture

A great stone deck can be made with Basault tiles. I get them for 16 dollars each for a 1x2 foot tile. 1/2 thick its a great deal. Just took about 10 calls to various stone yards :)

justtrying's picture


This is the first post I have made on this site.  I built an Alan Scott oven about 3 years ago.  I used only the book plans in The Bread Builders.  There are several Youtube videos as well for Scott ovens.  I used fire brick as flooring material with no filler around them.  They sit on their edge.  They have held up well with multiple firings.  For pizza I routinely see floor temps of 750 degrees.

Chris in N.C.


justtrying's picture

I may have misunderstood your question in my previous reply.  For the concrete slab, once again, I used the formula in The Bread Builders.  It used portland cement with fireclay for the refractory material, then firebrick on top of the slab. 

This youtube video is very similar to what I built.

The first time you smell several loaves of bread cooking, it will all be worthwhile.