Wood fired bread oven

wood fired bread oven

We built our traditional outdoor bread oven from recycled bricks and lime mortar (6 parts sand one part lime one part cement.) It is about 550mm internal diameter.  The shape is a catenary arch starting two courses up from the base (to make a cardboard former for the arch hang a chain against a piece of cardboard with the ends 550mm apart and the loop hanging the height of the oven dome (in our case 380mm).  Draw the shape the chain makes and cut it out to be a guide for laying the bricks.  We made the dome of the oven from five courses of bricks, corbelling the bricks for the dome in to touch the cardboard shape.  We finished the courses (course 7) leaving a space for the (re-cycled) chimney pipe.

Detailed instructions for making the oven

 

wood fired bread oven base

Oven base (layer of bricks)

Door way & cardboard former

Wood fired bread oven construction

Its a good idea to keep the cement back from the inside surface as it will disintegrate in time from the heat (ordinary red clay bricks will stand cooking heat with no trouble).  We filled the gaps between the bricks with broken brick pieces to save cement.   Don't use concrete blocks or bricks as they won't stand the heat.

Wood baked bread rolls wood cooked flapjacks

First the pizzas are cooked (takes about 2 minutes a pizza!  Then bread rolls or loaves.

Flapjack or baked potatoes follow the bread.  We have also had great apple cake from the oven

 
Using the oven:  We heat the oven with a fire of thin twigs and branches for one and a half to two hours to get to pizza temperature.  When the oven is hot we scrape the embers to the sides and cook in the space in the middle.  The pizzas are cooked on metal paddles made from chapatti (Tava) pans bought from an Asian supermarket (www.theasiancookshop.co.uk).  The wooden pan handles are replaced with long metal pipes.  The pizzas are cooked on pre-heated paddles and cook in a speedy one to two minutes.  We cook a series of things in the oven as the temperature drops, starting with pizzas, then bread and then baked potatoes etc.

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