Oven Facts

  • Oven size: 8ft x 10ft x 6ft, Hearth size: 4ft x 6ft x 2ft
  • Total weight of the oven: approximately 7 tonnes.
  • The entire oven is floating on its base to avoid heat bridges which would result in heat loss and to allow for expansion and contraction.
  • With the exception of the oven face the oven is completely wrapped in 8 inches of insulation. There is very little heat loss. The chimney is situated outside the baking chamber. Once the baking chamber is cleaned of ashes, air can only enter or escape the baking chamber when the oven door is opened. The idea is to retain as much heat as possible within the oven mass.
  • Fuel is dry residual wood and dead, beetle-killed pine. We use only clean, dry and untreated waste wood from mills such as slabs and dead trees off of our property. Nearly all wood used is pine.Using dead, beetle-killed pine, slabs, and residual waste wood, our oven is operated carbon neutral.
  • The fire is built directly in the baking chamber. Ashes are cleaned out prior to baking. There is no fire going during the baking process. Residual embers and ashes are raked out and the chamber is then mopped out with moist rags. The chamber is absolutely clean, any soot is completely burned off, the chamber is sterile and ready to receive the doughs.
  • A garden hand-cart full of scrap wood (about 40 kg) is loosely loaded crisscross into the baking chamber. Artisan bakers have different ways of firing their ovens: we light a single load of scrap and split wood and let it burn from the front of the oven to the back. We use three fire bricks in front of the oven door opening to regulate the air supply. The goal is to maintain an evenly burning fire from the front to the back.
  • On a normal baking day, the fire is lit 9 hours prior to baking. After 5 hours we spread out the embers to even out the heat. One hour later the embers have burned out and only ashes are left in the chamber. After cleaning out the oven, the oven door is closed and the heat is allowed to penetrate the oven mass for the next two hours.
  • Oven surface temperature at time of firing: approximately 1000°F+Hearth surface temperature at time of baking: 550°F for breads - 600°F for pizza
  • We do not have thermo couples installed. The surface temperature is measured with a laser temperature gun instead.
  • 30 to 36 loaves of bread can be baked in one batch, 5-7 batches can be baked consecutively with one firing. As the oven slowly cools down, batches of breads are baked in sequence of heat tolerance. The 100% Chilako Rye pumpernickel style bread for example is baked on Sundays, 36 hrs after the last bake, for 3-4 hours at about 350°F of residual heat.
  • The oven is fired 4 to 5 times a week.

Interesting Links:

Interesting Reads:

  • A Short History of Progress - Ronald Wright
  • An Inconvenient Truth. - Al Gore
  • Stardust - John Gribbin
  • Bread Matters - Andrew Whitley
  • Choice Cuts. - Mark Kurlansky
  • eden. - Tim Smit
  • In Defense of Food. - Michael Pollan
  • Much Depends on Dinner. - Margaret Visser
  • Only a Theory. Kenneth R. Miller
  • Stuffed and Starved. Raj Patel
  • The Botany of Desire. - Michael Pollan
  • The Bread Builders. - Daniel Wing and Alan Scott
  • Heat. - Bill Buford
  • Secret Ingredients. - Stuart Laidlaw
  • The World Without  Us. - Alan Weisman