Saturday, December 30, 2017

Brick Oven Cooking: part three

As outdoor temperatures plummeted to minus degrees and activity was driven indoors, my conservatory brick oven became both a great cooking device and welcome entertainment.

By using it to roast multiple vegetables in preparation for ratatouille, I also heated it for baking artisan bread.

My 36" interior diameter oven has the capacity or three very large pans, enough ingredients for a crowd or for days of leftovers.

I could do all this on a conventional range but, hey, 
it's more fun in the brick oven and the vegetables get a flamed browning.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Brick Oven Cooking: part two

We tend to think of brick ovens as either pizza ovens or bread ovens.  For centuries cultures across the world have cooked everything in them.

As winter closes in on New England I've had time to keep my indoor oven going and to cook a variety of foods using its many qualities.

The previous post: might have been Brick Oven Cooking part one so this one gets 'two'.  I'll keep it going through the holidays.

Bimbambap is one of my favorite dishes that incorporates nearly any vegetable with rice and broiled meat.  

The oven makes it easy to roast the vegetables, broil the meat, and finish the dish by combining ingredients and re-introducing the pan to the oven.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


This past week demonstrated the strength of an indoor brick oven.  The one I have in my conservatory is just off the kitchen and an occasional walk down two steps allows me to stoke the oven while I do other things.
I've been experimenting with focaccia recipes, something between bread and pizza dough, and today I nailed it. Dipped in Fiore Coratina EV olive oil it was a great afternoon snack.
Then as the oven evened out at about 450F, I took a butternut squash that had miraculously kept from our summer garden of 2016 (15 months ago) and made a recipe I found on Bon Apetit's site:
I had made the recipe before for a Thanksgiving potluck and it was splendid.

Lastly, I placed a large chunk of applewood in the oven so that I can bring it back up to temperature in ten minutes from coals tomorrow morning. It  gives me the evening to contemplate breakfast.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Winchester Oven Revisited

I enjoy seeing the ovens I have built in the months and years after completion.  Often the surrounding landscape or building incorporates the oven so as to make it appear ancient.
So it is with the Winchester oven.  The owners are avid gardeners as well a cooks, so the oven has seen a lot of use.
soon after completion

first pizza

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Brick Oven and Sauna Building

This project began in the design stages.  Originally sited off of one end of a deck, it evolved into an opportunity to get a "two-for-one".
The deck is at the 8' level, where the base of the oven needed to be.  A structure was needed to get the base up to 8'.  This became the room and the reason for the sauna.

To clear things up early, the sauna does not share a heat source or any infrastructure with the brick oven other than the walls that support the oven structure.

The following photos may help illustrate how this works:

In addition to the detailing of the stone, a slate roof finishes the exterior and the 'apron' pent-roof sheds rain away from the base of the oven.

The installation of the sauna apparatus is yet to others.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Brick Oven Cooking: On beyond Pizza

This Labor Day weekend, I reveled in cooking seven foods other than pizza.

Because my brick oven retains temperature over long periods of time, I could braise leeks and roast beets one evening, then make a peach crisp the next day.

Eggplant parm one night, preparing all the ingredients in the oven prior to assembling and re-baking one night, Bimbambap another night.

Street corn, pane Tuscano, and husk roasted sweet corn.  The list is endless.

I've occasionally re-stoked the oven with a minimum of firewood to maintain higher temps over the course of a few days.

I've been dehydrating peaches and tomatoes using the last 180 degrees.  It concentrates the flavor and reduces the volume for preserving.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Match-booking Brick Oven Stone Face

All my brick ovens have a face arch.  To create a sense of symmetry, I often match-book the stone.  This is done by cutting the arch stone in half, front to back, and using the two halves in opposite locations on the arch.

A recent oven finished on the entire exterior with reclaimed cobblestones (likely about 150 years old), incorporated a match-booked stone face.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Northern New England Home, Garden and Flower Show

For the previous 13 years I have exhibited at the Northern New England Home, Garden and Flower Show at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds in Maine.  
For ten of those I have brought my portable brick oven for use by numerous chefs at the Meet the Chefs pavilion.  

Working with regional chefs has been great fun.  My part of those demonstrations was preparing the oven for the temperatures the chefs needed.  Between their demonstrations and for the entire weekend, I cooked food in the oven and gave out samples of bread, pizza, broiled vegetables and more.

I will not be there this year.  The work of building ovens has increased and I'm out on projects often now.  I've built ovens in nine states, traveling as far as North Carolina and California.

My portable ovens are now in residence at Sheehan Gardens in Milton NH and at the NH Mushroom
Company where it is used each weekend through the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons.

I'd like to thank all the chefs who collaborated with me, the owners of Fiore Olive Oil, NH Mushroom Company, White Gates Farm, Cabot Creamery, and many more with whom I have a continuing friendship.

I'd also thank Karla Ficker for creating the show, facilitating the events and the staff for the years that I've been part of the growing show.

Best of Luck

Friday, March 31, 2017

I will be speaking at the Seacoast Home and Garden Show on Sunday April 2nd at 1:45 pm.

 Everything you've always wanted to know about brick ovens will be covered (perhaps briefly).

Hope to see you there.

David Neufeld

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Speaking of Brick Ovens

For those of you who live near Durham, NH, I will be speaking at the Seacoast Home and Garden Show on the UNH campus on April 2nd.  This is an opportunity to see a visual presentation (highly informative), meet me, pick my brain, or just enjoy seeing the spectrum of possibilities that brick oven cooking offers.

Sonke Dornblut, a German baker for whom I built an oven last summer, will join me for commentary and bring hearth loaves for sampling.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What about The Patio?

Of all the outdoor brick ovens I've built, I can't recall one that didn't include a patio.  As a lifelong
landscape designer imagining and then building the patio or terrace in natural for me.  As with the ovens, each project is taken as a fresh opportunity with new people.  The photos here show a project in process.  A landscape design as it interfaces with a house and an outdoor kitchen has the advantage of adding embracing curves and multiple levels.

Often the clients and I have a conversation or two in which we walk around the space and think about shapes and uses.

Then I sketch a few ideas.  I feel that part of my job as a landscape designer/builder is to guide the owner towards the best possible design.  Sometimes wire flags are used to outline the area.

As the project unfolds, I look for elements that compliment the original design.

TBO 36" built on a ledge, bricks laid to point to the oven mouth

TBO 36" and outdoor grill, pot-burners, and workspace.
TBO 36" in Ventura CA