The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

What Type of Oven?

RiddelSkittle's picture

What Type of Oven?

I've recently purchased a home thats a major fixer-upper. I'm going to be recontructing every room from the studs up, able to create whatever kitchen I like and having an affinity for artisan bread, I wanted to know before construction was done what kind of ovens are able to make good artisan bread with enough steam-trapment. I see in the Tartine Bread book that using a dutch oven in conventional ovens is a prime way for making artisan bread, but I dont want a one-loaf-at-a-time process. I'd like to have the feel of being able to use a peel to slide bread in and out of the oven without the gimmicktry of steaming pans and dutchloaf pans. Obviously I can't buy a bakery bread-baking oven. Is my only other authentic option a brick oven? I know virtually nothing about them. Must they be outside completely, or just half outside? I suppose I'll brush up on more information with books but I basically wanted to know my options with good bread-baking oven types before I do too much construction. Also, if we're looking too close at $5,000 or more, I'll stick to the gimmicks!

RobynNZ's picture

You might take a look at something like the Moffat Turbofan with steam injection:

They're small commercial ovens and tend to be used in-house bakeries, cafés etc, I know someone who uses his to make artisan bread for a local Steiner school.

For brick ovens etc check out the Forno Bravo site while a commercial site the forums there are a great source of information. 

I have a kiln shelf in the bottom of my oven, use a peel to load the loaves,  then cover them with the lid of a large roasting tin during the first half of the bake. Works for me.

Quite a decision for you to make when you are just getting into bread baking.

Cheers, Robyn

ClimbHi's picture

Our own indoor kitchen features a gas commercial oven/stove, six burner, with a great hood that includes warming shelves with IR lamps. We love it. Just outside the kitchen door is the WFO that we use for bread and just about anything else that strikes our fancy. We love that too. The "just outside the door and under cover" is the perfect compromise for a WFO. While a WFO can certainly be built inside (either all the way or half way inside) I wouldn't want to have one in the kitchen -- they can be a bit messy with all the hot coals, ashes, bark chips, etc. -- and they do throw off a bit too much heat to be sharing a small-ish room with in the summer. They are also *way* harder (i.e., less convenient) to use than a normal oven, taking much more skill and practice to heat properly, and hours instead of minutes to preheat and temper. Also, you can get by with a WFO constructed outside significantly cheaper than doing one inside due to the complications added to the WFO design by building and fire codes if you connect it to the building. I'm firmly in the two oven camp -- a "normal" oven inside, and WFO outside.

Pittsburgh, PA

ananda's picture

Hi RiddelSkittle,

I would recommend you buy Daniel Wing and Alan Scott's book "The Bread Builders".   That will give you the fundamentals about brick ovens, and there are some model plans in it too.

You should be able to build a decent oven for $2000.   So long as the chimney is outside, I would imagine there is no proble about the oven being indoor.   But do bear in mind that storing and loading wood is a dirty business!

Best wishes