Monday, October 29, 2012

Brick Oven Planning

Before I cut the fire bricks and mix the mortar, I plan the oven project.  This obvious step goes beyond calculations.  For me, it involves asking questions, ones that are more easily answered in advance of construction.

  • What is the anticipated use of the oven.  
  1. Will it be a party oven used mostly for pizza?
  2. Will it become part of a daily or weekly baking?
  3. Will it be shared amongst a group of bakers?
  • What environment is the oven part of?
  1. As an outdoor oven, is it near or far from the home kitichen?
  2. As an attached space oven, is there room for people to congregate around the oven and take part in the process?
  3. As a kitchen oven, how much space is available in the kitchen and how central to the kitchen will it be?
  • What are the building codes?
  1. Some regions have strict local codes.  Ask about them.  It may alter the plan radically.
  2. Where there are no specific codes, look into fire safety.  Clearances around combustion chambers are important.
  3. Using an existing chimney or foundation can streamline the conformation to codes.
  • Aesthetic considerations make the difference.
  1. I ask a lot of questions about this.  If I hear a cultural reference, such as Qubecquois beehive ovens, I look into the design and gather photos so I know we are on the same 'page'.   
  2. Many people associate brick ovens with the Mediterranean countries and even among those places there are remarkable differences in appearance.  
  3. Splicing an Old World look into a New World setting is all about well-defined aesthetics.

  • Once the above considerations are explored, the measuring and cost factoring can begin.

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