The oven project
The Oven Plans
Open source oven plans for the betterment of bread everywhere.
If you’re a baker, building your own mill and oven and transforming grains into bread is one of the most satisfying things you can do. It’s really fantastic to be able to work with these things everyday.
I first built an oven in my driveway back in 1997 and then built more ovens at Wildfire Bakery and another half dozen dozen ovens for clients over the years and for myself. Alan Scott pioneered that style of oven. I found in higher production parameters it had limitations as far as dropping in temperature too much. Bakers all over the place that we’re getting into larger production were needing to start their first bakes when the oven was too hot and ended up not getting very good crust that way and the last bakes were always while the oven was too cold and hence the bread ended up being compromised.
In France, I had seen the style of oven with an external firebox and read a bit about them and did some research on the internet. After many years of building ovens and using them in production, I came up with this design – which is not an uncommon design in Europe. It has a firebox down below and a bypass chamber so that your heat can either be going through the oven chamber to heat the oven directly or while you’re baking there the exhaust from the fire can bypass the oven so that you can bake. It’s made from fire brick and refractory concrete and there’s a lot of metal work in the actual oven for the bypass flues and for reinforcement so these ovens end up being more expensive to build.
Just to give you an idea, the last one I built was probably $15,000 in materials versus the Allen Scott style ovens that can be built of a similar size for around $5,000. But the flexibility that this oven gives you for bakery production and the quality of bread that comes out of it is worth the investment.
The chief benefits are that consistent temperature and the fact that you can re-fire. It means you can bake a few batches and when it starts to cool down you can re-fire the oven and in half an hour your heat is replenished and you’re able to bake again. This enables production to happen throughout the day with more specific baking parameters.
These oven plans are open source. A baker from Saskatchewan and his cousin made up these Autocad style plans for the oven – much better than what I originally had. The concept now is to maintain these plans as an open source project that people can use, improve and share with the intention of baking better bread everywhere.