Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Brick Oven Dimensions

Once the conversation with new customers approaches the planning stages, the subject of oven dimensions becomes central.  This is due to space restrictions or location choices.  Fortunately, dimensions, although they vary, can be very specific yet somewhat flexible.
Most outdoor installations focus on exterior design, which includes enclosure shape and roof design.  Indoor installations need to conform to local codes, means of routing the flue, the available space in the house, and adjacent room elements.  In many indoor installations, the volume of the oven is placed behind the wall of the room, either on its own foundation or in a space that can afford to be occupied.  Nearly every situation has its solution.

The evolution of each customer's design is a conversation involving these type sketches and more real-time visual examples of the kinds of materials, textures, and shapes the final oven will possess.
Exchanges with customer's architects and perhaps engineers may enter the process.  I supply spec sheets on all materials so that the ovens comply with local codes.
Compare these to the Brick Oven Face post.

The following CAD designs will illustrate the dimensional aspects.  Examples represent different past TBO projects.


indoor residential TBO 36"plan
TBO 54" Commercial: Face on public side, back in prep kitchen
Outdoor TBO 48"
Outdoor TBO 48" 'Greek' style


TBO 48" restaurant, designed to building specs

Indoor design

Indoor design

Off-deck TBO 36 design

TBO 36 Indoor high ceiling design

TBO 36 Terrace corner design

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Brick Oven Faces

Building custom brick ovens offers the opportunity to design the exterior of the oven to the tastes of the owners.  This means variety.  Although some of the ovens I've built have similar face arches, I've played with the central theme.  Others are one-of-a-kind 'inspired' designs.  Either way, the face speaks to the owner and frames the fire.
2000 year-old oven in Pompeii, Italy



TBO 54" at Pietree Orchard in Maine

TBO 36" Ventura CA
TBO 36" NH

TBO 48" Maine
Some of the designs originate with a cultural context.  Some originate from the qualities of the materials. And others are a direct result of the customers wishes.
Original TBO 36" Portable
TBO 48" portable CT
TBO 36" Art Deco



TBO 36" in colonial

TBO 48" in Restaurant



TBO 36" outdoor NH


TBO 36" MA

TBO 54" Dining Facility

TBO 48" Baker's Oven

TBO 36" in my house

TBO 36" Maine




TBO 48" MA







Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Brick Ovens in Horse Trailers

Welded base for oven structure
It may be fair to say that True Brick Ovens' David Neufeld was the first brick oven builder to use horse trailers as the enclosure and transport for portable ovens.

Why are horse trailers so well-adapted to brick ovens?
  • Horse trailers have double axles mounted close to the rear of the trailer.
  • They have a rear door or ramp so that the face of the oven is fully accessible.
  • They have good shocks, for the horses and then for the ovens.
  • They have two access doors forward useful for storing baking gear.
  • They provide a surprise when opened.

Owens Farmhouse TBO 48 oven ready for delivery


TBO Audrix demonstrated at Home and Garden show
Owens Farmhouse oven in use.
The TBO 45 Audrix model
All TBO ovens are from custom-cut bricks



Monday, January 15, 2018

Brick Oven, Greek Style

One of the first conversations I have with a customer wanting a brick oven centers on style.  Throughout most of the western world, brick ovens share a common core construction, a dome.  What the oven looks like from the outside varies greatly.

Therefore, when someone with roots in Greece contacts me, I research the style most often found in their region of Greece (styles within countries vary, especially north to south).  These two photos show two Greek ovens.  The whitewashed oven is likely a family's oven, small, low to the ground, and chimney-less.   The second oven below appears to be much larger and with an enclosing face that includes a full-width chimney, much like the ones in Pompeii and in parts of France.
In fact, with closer examination, the large oven has another cooking space to the left, behind the woman.  This perhaps is for more capacity or for cooking at lower temperatures simultaneously.

The photos below are from a recent TBO build.  The design emulates the qualities of southern Mediterranean and Greek ovens.  I took a grinder to the face bricks to emulate limestone. Repeated applications of stucco and whitewash soften the hard edges of the base masonry and give it 'age'.  Time will take care of the rest.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Brick Oven Cooking: part six

At some point, usually in preparation for a party, I confront the delicious reality that my brick oven(s) make great pizza.  This has been proven again and again by impartial taste critics (my friends).

The brick oven's ability to reach temperatures in the vicinity of 700F coupled with an intense radiant heat from the 'live fire' (active flames), has created the oven's reputation for great crust and browned toppings. Because pizza baking is such an immediate experience, and because so many ingredients can be incorporated into the process, a word of caution is advised here:
700+ degrees Fahrenheit is hot.  Most of our other cooking never gets this hot.  This is good because a rapidly risen and baked pizza is both tender and crisp.  Long bake times at lower temps create tough crusts.  
However, it is easy to burn food at these temperatures.  That is why the pizzaiolo (pizza baker) never lets his or her attention stray from a baking pizza.


Brewster Academy TBO 54
And despite my sometimes resistance to brick ovens being called 'pizza ovens', I relish the opportunity to make and eat pizza baked in them.  The range of pizza styles and methods has expanded in our current 'foodie' world.   We've moved way beyond the simple cheese or pepperoni pizza.  

Pizza On the Fly TBO 48 portable

Residential TBO 36
I thank my many customers who began wanting a brick oven for pizza and discovered the many other foods that are enhanced by a wood fire as well as the experience of artisinal cooking.

Owens Farmhouse Restaurant TBO 48 portable