The time has come: I have helped make two of these things, so now, after much agitta and self-denial, I bring you (taDA!!) the beginnings of our own outdoor masonry oven.
Truth be told: these things are not for everyone. I was already a baker; we live on a farm with lots of trees; I’ve been looking for ways to lower our food-production footprint steadily for years. And truth be told: I know how to build things. That said, feel free to 1. ask questions 2. live vicariously.
The Skinny: Modified Alan Scott plan; no, it’s not complete yet, though we’ve passed the halfway point to its first firing. They can be quick to make it but is certainly not a Weekend Warrior kind of thing…more like 8 weekends, plus. Easily-found materials.
The Plan: I will use this once or twice a week, year-round. There’ll be a once-a-week breadmaking day, then the cooling oven will cook things like casseroles, and, overnight, things like dried beans or yogurt. I will probably be selling some of the food. It’s also great for dehydrating food, making jerky, drying fruit, etc. And no, the food doesn’t have to taste like wood.
The Concept: Masonry ovens store heat. They’re thick: the thermal mass involved leaks the heat out slowly; there’s a door to the oven that even keeps the smoke from escaping. You fire it up, scrape out the ashes, wipe it clean and then stick in your food. And yes: leave the fire burning in the back and you can cook pizzas directly on the floor of the hearth.