The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Backyard Brick Oven Construction

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gavinc's picture
gavinc

Backyard Brick Oven Construction

Hi,

I wanted to share my experience of building a backyard brick oven. I researched (and talked with mates) on and off for quite a few years before getting to work on this project. There is a lot of detail on the internet and books with lots of design, construction and material options (confusing!). I finally settled on a simple design that was a mixture of ideas from various sources. Simple approach as I'm not a trades-person, so I went with a dome shaped oven out in the open to eliminate the need of a chimney. The dome is made from red clay bricks and has an inner diameter is 1.1 meters. The oven is insulated with four layers of perlite-cement mixture and a final outer layer of builder's render. I included two K-type thermocouples during the build so I can measure the floor and dome brick temperatures.

My oven was built mostly from second-hand materials and scrap for about $500 AUD, and was constructed in my spare time between Oct and Dec 2005. I use the oven for pizza days with friends, roasts and veggies on special occasions, and of course bread baking when a few mates also prepare dough to make the firing of the oven worthwhile.

I have placed a photo set of the construction approach at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27771627@N07/sets/72157605676561760/

I hope this encourages other novices that may be thinking of a similar project. It wasn't as hard as I had envisaged and has given a tremendous amount of satisfaction and good times.

 

Comments

breadnerd's picture
breadnerd

What a beautiful job--thanks so much for sharing the pictures!

Was this your first time with a project like this?  It looks so professional!  How do you like the oven performance now that you've used it for a few years?

 

Thanks again!

 

breadnerd 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Thanks for your compliments.  This is only the third brick job I have ever done.  The two before it were barbecues.  If I had of realized that this project was going to be so easy, I would have upgraded the design with a suspended slab in the foundation under which to store wood.  But I am very happy with the finish.  I sat in front of it one day with a bucket of pebbles, some granite and tile paste to do the artwork.

I am very happy with the performance.  It took a few firings and experiments to build the fire efficiently and to know the temperatures to put food in.  I've tried cooking with and without leaving the fire in the oven.  I've found I get best results by building the temperature well over what I need and letting the temperature come down to what I need.  The bricks store plenty of heat and last all day.

 Once again, thanks for your comments.  I like to think others will have a crack at this with their own designs and finishings.

Regards,

Gavin. 

Oldcampcook's picture
Oldcampcook

A nice piece of work!!

Did you chose to use brick for the base instead of concrete building blocks because of availability?

Did you use the sand mold from the start of the first course of brick on the oven dome?

 Again, a very, very nice piece of work!!

Bob

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Thanks Bob,

I used bricks because the second hand bricks were in batches of 500, so I had more than enough to do the whole job.  They were only 55 cents each delivered.  I used about 150 in the dome as I broke them in half and placed them end-on.  The rest were used in the foundation.  I have about 80 left over.  I heard that the clay bricks were very good at soaking up and storing heat, which has proven correct.  The oven is usually still at around 200C the morning after a day's firing.

I only used the sand mold once gravity became an issue using the dome gauge.  I cut a disk of ply and supported it with bricks.  I mixed some dry cement with the washed sand to give it some firmness to shape the top of the dome.  The dome gauge came in handy to give me the correct high of the sand mold.  I cut the ply disk through the middle and screwed it back together with wooden batons, that I later removed to get the disk out of the oven once I had finished.

Thanks for your compliments. 

 

Oldcampcook's picture
Oldcampcook

Thanks for those additional tips.  Every thing you did makes perfect sense to me. 

The plywood/sand mold idea is just brilliant.  What a time and labour saver!

Bob

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

SYLVIAH  Lot of nice work....you might like to check out the FornoBravo site and see a lot of constructed ovens info/pictures/recipes/discussions.

Have Fun, Sylvia

gavinc's picture
gavinc

Thanks Sylvia.  I check it out.

angelabrd's picture
angelabrd

 This is so impressive. I love it !

Marni's picture
Marni

Thanks for sharing this.  It was so great to see everything from start to finish.

Marni