The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to fire a brick oven - nice pix

Felila's picture
Felila

How to fire a brick oven - nice pix

Over at Joe Pastry's Blog

http://www.joepastry.com/

he's talking about his new brick oven, and his difficulties learning to use it. Nice pix. I hadn't realized that firing a brick oven was such an art. 

 

ClimbHi's picture
ClimbHi

Hey! Another brick oven!

Thanks for that link -- I'm also in the early stages of learning how to use one of these. It definately ain't just like turnin' on  your kitchen stove!

ClimbHi

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

Thanks for the link, very interesting. I've had that happen too, you don't know that your fire wasn't hot enough until it's too late! Fortunately, my oven is so small that I can usually still bake bread even if it's a little underheated--it just takes longer or I might not fit multiple batches.

Climbhi--I just noticed your oven--very cool! I've got a little mud oven that is a lot lower tech than the one in this website, but it is fun--you're right it's a lot different than turning on the oven inside :)

ClimbHi's picture
ClimbHi

Do you have a pyrometer? I have a Fluke Infrared like the blogger, and I use it a lot. Much of the info on wood-fired ovens advise to fill the chamber pretty full and then burn and soak the oven. I find this works well only if you are VERY consistent with your fuel. In my case, I use different fuel each time I fire, so that hasn't been a good solution for me.

I don't put all the wood in at once. I start with pretty much, but plan on feeding the fire as needed. With less than perfectly dry wood, It may take 2 or 3 cu ft of wood to reach temp. With dry wood, I can get there with only about 1.5 cu ft. For bread, once the roof is reaching 900° and the soot is burning off, I'll let the fire start to die. I use the Fluke to keep track of the wall temps to decide how to proceed. My goal is to have the walls at about 600° when the fire dies to coals. I then spread the coals out on the hearth and close the door (not tightly -- I want the coals to continue to burn) for about 30 minutes to allow the masonry to "soak", and then rake out the ashes. This process usually leaves me with a 500°-525° hearth, which seems to be about right for bread. The Fluke makes this whole process much easier for someone like me who doesn't have years of firing experience.

ClimbHi

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Hi Felila!  Thanks for the blog link.  I kept reading down the blog and got into the Quiche.  I've made a few over the years and started reading it to my son, (all grown up and trying to watch tv).  He threw some ideas at me for later cooking fun:  Banana leaves and piez tahu (pee ez ta hoo).

About the wood burning, funny that one would want to start the fire at the bottom front. Why not top of the front?   This would be easier to start, hotter and have less initial smoke (wood stoves also light better from the top, through the burner lid.)  something to think about and try. 

Mini O

ClimbHi's picture
ClimbHi

"funny that one would want to start the fire at the bottom front. Why not top of the front?"

Couple of reasons: It's easier to get to. (The only access to a wood-fired "black" oven is through the front door.) Better draft. (The only air supply to the oven chamber is the door -- the flue is actually outside the oven, above the door. Air goes in at the bottom of the opening, moves around the oven, and exits at the top of the door.)

In my experience, it is helpful to do whatever you can to keep the fire hot at the bottom. The roof and top half of the oven is naturally heated more than the hearth by the rising/circulating hot air and flames. The hearth must be heated by coals and radiation. So the more fire & coals on the surface of the hearth, the better, since the heat is more evenly distributed in the masonry that way.

ClimbHi

audra36274's picture
audra36274

link? At first I didn't. then as I got all interested and started clicking on the other neat things over on the right ot read, my sight advisor warned me away. Did this happen to anyone else?

                                                                            Audra36274

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but I didn't click on anything except to turn the page.