Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rectangular Brick Ovens

Although I promote and build domed brick ovens, the traditional shape of ovens since ancient times, I understand the qualities that would make a rectangular-shaped oven a logical choice.
steel lateral brace above mouth
My friend, Jessie Stevens, is currently building a rectangular brick oven for Pietree Orchard in Sweden, Maine, where he has worked, and I stopped by to see it in progress.

corner of welded arch support
These ovens require a steel structure to contain the 'sprung' arch that runs from the front of the rectangular interior space to the rear vertical wall. Sprung arches (so-called because they are set against two vertical walls) exert pressure outwards on the vertical side-walls of the oven and the steel contains that pressure.

Domed ovens do not need external support as the dome is an integrated shape that supports itself.

Rectangular ovens are especially useful if the baker is making products in rectangular bread pans or on trays.
Rectangular ovens also lend themselves to fuel sources other than wood and are often incorporated in masonry heaters as a secondary chamber above a lower firebox

Domed ovens lend themselves to pizza making, artisan or rustic 'boules', loaves that are made without bread pans, and all manner of baked or roasted meats and casseroles.

As with the roofed ovens that I build, Jessie used steel studs to frame the exterior, making all the elements within the oven structure fireproof. 

He has installed two temperature probes in this oven. This may put to rest the dispute over whether rectangular ovens heat as evenly as domed ovens.

Jessie also has a cob oven at his house that, incidentally, got him through the power outage from the Hurricane Irene.
He has applied his masonry skills to the building of his own wood-fired pottery kiln, he has worked as a professional bagel baker, and he makes a mean sourdough rye.
Needless to say, he's a fun guy to hang out with.

No comments:

Post a Comment