Sunday, February 5, 2012

Urban Wood-Fired Brick Ovens

As interest in artisan bread baking grows and awareness of the advantages of wood-fired brick ovens follows, communities are stepping up to the 'plate'.
In most communities, brick ovens are not zoned any different than a chiminea, outdoor fireplace, or outdoor grill.
Urban settings offer more opportunities for salvaging the materials needed for a durable, authentic, brick oven. Masons and bakers who are advocates of community become a resource for expertise.
Delighted but not surprised, I found this article about a community brick oven in Pittsburgh.
Follow the link at the bottom for all the details.
Fired Up: A community oven rises in Braddock
Thursday, October 02, 2008
The first community oven in the Pittsburgh area is on a parking lot directly across the street from U.S. Steel's Edgar Thomson plant, the only working blast furnace remaining from Pittsburgh's steel-making days.
The oven is one more piece in the puzzle that is the re-purposing of Braddock as an artist's destination and once-again-vibrant community.
"The steel furnaces built Braddock," says Mayor John Fetterman. "It might take another kind of furnace, an oven, to help rebuild it."
Last December, Ray Werner, bread baker, community activist and godfather of the oven project, explained to Mr. Fetterman why a wood-fired community baking oven -- one that the public shares -- would be a good fit for Braddock. The mayor had an immediate reaction. "We'll do it," he said. "How much? How can I help?"
Nine months later, the oven is up and baking beside the former convent at St. Michael's on Braddock Avenue. With Edgar Thomson's billowing stacks in the background, the oven's first burn was in mid-September. "The first pizzas had a bit of char," Mr. Werner says.
"But by the end of the baking session, the crew was making really good pizza. When they get the hang of the heat and what the oven can do, bread bakers will follow."
Mr. Fetterman says, "The building of the oven is the result of three serendipitous facts. Ray proposed the idea and had the working plans for the oven. Then I met Joe Bonifate, a local stone mason from North Braddock, who was enthusiastic about building it. And because so many old, deteriorating buildings have been razed in Braddock, I have access to materials.
"The oven is made from recycled brick from houses, cinder block reclaimed from an abandoned garage and surplus stones from one of Joe's projects. If we hadn't reclaimed and recycled, everything you see would have gone into a landfill."
Every year Americans demolish some 250,000 homes and bury the debris. What if all those floors, bricks and beams were reused?
"And because we didn't have to fit the building into a schedule, costs were kept to a minimum," says Mr. Fetterman. "We built it for a song."

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1 comment:

  1. Waooo... thats a nice experiment done. .. i never before seen these types of ovens. thats great one for home uses.

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