Bread Oven Links

There are many pages of links to links of  bread oven resources. As someone who has build three ovens and uses one regularly, as an author who writes about ovens, and as someone who consults about building and operating ovens I have clear opinions abut what works for home enthusiasts.

It is my opinion that what most home users will find the most easily managed and productive is a comparatively thin-skinned oven purchased as a kit or made on site out of cob, clay, or refractory concrete and then covered with the highest grade kiln insulation that you can find. A comparatively thin skin coupled with 21st century insulation produces and oven that is quick and easy to fire and that offers exemplary performance as an oven for entertaining guests with pizza, roast chicken, sausages, etc.,as well as an oven for baking bread, pies, and the overnight bean pot.

There are many pages of links to links of  bread oven resources. I am offering you just one: It is the bake oven link on the site. There are excellent photographs of ovens on this page and links to any other reputable sources. I would pay particular attention to brick ovens under construction. Unless you can answer the question why you need to have an oven that is that massive, I suggest you opt for a thinner-skinned but thoroughly insulated oven.

If your heart is set on brick then these are the two basic books on brick ovens that you should own: The Bread Builder’s by Daniel Wing and the late Alan Scott and Building a Wood-fired oven for Bread and Pizza by Tom Jaine. Tom’s book offers detailed advice on building an oven and can be thought of as the purchase of a set of plans. If you want to buy an oven kit then I would use a kit sold by Alan Scott’s son, Nick at his website, Ovencrafters.

I have built three ovens, two out of refractory concrete and one out of fire clay. I mold the ovens on a mound of wet sand. I use a roll of kiln insulation so my ovens stay hot enough to bake in for days. These cast-in-place ovens are really the oven kit that you you can buy but at lest cost. If you have even the most minimal building skills you can build yourself an oven.

The one book to read, no matter what kind of oven you end up deciding to build, is Kiko Denzer’s Book, Earth Ovens. Kiko is possibly the most imaginative oven builder who has ever lived. He builds ovens out of clay which is nothing unusual, clay, adobe, cob, whatever you want to call it, is the most ancient building material for ovens. It is free, easy to work with, and it works. What Kiko has brought to the craft of building ovens is the epiphany that clay is clay and that the outer shell of the oven could be sculpted. While the inner dome must be done-like there is no reason for the oven itself not be shaped like a dragon. Or formed into a bench, or a dolphin, or rise into an obelisk. To the best of my knowledge, there is no archeological record of elaborately sculpted ovens.

Kido Kenzer’s earth ovens are appropriate for both home and commercial use. Even if you don’t intent to build out of clay you did from your own yard his book is essential reading. You can modify his plans by making the oven shell out of refractory concrete rather than clay or by using purchased fire clay. This is a link to Kiko Denzer’s Blog. I recommend this post Adjusting mass for optimal performance. This reinforces my experience — keep the shell to about 3 inches (8cm) and pile on the insulation.

Here is a description of a simple military oven that I have posted on this site. Also, please see my link to videos of clay bread ovens under construction.

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