Monday, April 4, 2016

Brick Oven Operator's Manual

TBO 54" Bakery oven in progress
When I complete a brick oven for someone, it's good for them to get to know the way that these devices work.  For some years, a conversation, either by email or phone, would ensue in which I would walk them through the steps from the first firing to the first baking.  If possible, I would be there for the first firing.

As the number of ovens and the distance between my home and the project increased, I found this impractical.  I wrote and placed an Operator's Manual on my website:  This is a printable PDF that new brick oven owners can keep nearby, at first for learning and later for starting the fire:).
Owner lighting the first fire in a TBO 36"

Using a brick oven may seem daunting at first; you've got a fire that is supposed to heat the bricks.  This doesn't happen instantly.  You then have to measure the temperature of the oven, rather than read and adjust a digital control; this is done easily with an infrared thermometer.  Then you have to cook food using flame and heat that you have created.

TBO 36" first fire

It is my guess that after five firings, this will seem natural and easy.  You will begin to develop observational skills that may even allow you to dispense with the thermometer.  Either way, you will have learned your oven.

If you are tempted to use the manual to start the next few fires, wait; someone may want to try your oven.  Having the manual will give them the confidence and the safety they need to begin.

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