|residential brick oven prior to enclosure|
|Cast Refractory Failure|
My decision to build brick ovens solely from true fire brick allows me to represent the finished oven as traditional, durable, and containing enough thermal mass for long baking periods for little more cost than the 'kits' plus labor and detailing.
Granted, some of the high-end cast refractory ovens have elements that insure durability. The single major structural difference lies in the sectional construction of the cast ovens. The cast segments that comprise the dome rely on the supporting sections NEVER failing. Once, for any number of reasons, a segment fails the entire oven is useless. Ovens that are finished with elaborate stone exteriors would be very expensive to replace.
|mouth and first 3 chains of brick oven|
A brick oven is built with each ring (known as a chain), locking itself by gravity and the keystone (the last center stone at the crown) locks the entire dome together. These ovens expand and contract evenly when heated. The dome shape has integral strength and doesn't rely on external support.
|Unloading my portable oven|
Lastly, a cast refractory wood-fired oven, is not a brick oven. Superior Clay for instance, advertises, "Imagine baking bread or pizza in your own authentic brick oven." Except, when you go to their website, you see a cast refractory kit that is neither authentic OR brick.
A true brick oven is something special in my mind, a connection to the past and a reliable cooking device for the foreseeable future.