Friday, April 20, 2018

Brick Oven Building Workshop

Two Gurus


A collaboration with Don Lewis of Wild Hive Farm

And David Neufeld of True Brick Ovens

September 8 and 9, 2018 
in Clinton Corners, New York.

Learn the intricacies of building brick domes in the thousand-year tradition of European and
North American wood-fired baking

Baking demonstrations and food by Chef Cassandra Purdy with her True Brick Ovens 48” portable.

Saturday lunch, dinner provided
and baking demos
$480 pp, workshop capacity 15 people

Send form request to:

A brick oven will be built during this workshop;            

it is a hands-on experience.
Topics covered: dome brick cutting and fitting, refractory mortar mixes, oven dimension calculations, floor and dome insulation, mouth and face arch construction, flue and draft dynamics, oven enclosures, portability, firing methods, and many more details, including your specific questions.

Wild Hive Farm was founded by Don Lewis to promote sustainable agriculture in our region by promoting grain-based local agriculture.  Wild Hive is committed to the production of locally grown and milled high quality flour. Wild Hive operates a flour mill using traditional stone grinding equipment and has received considerable recognition for its flour, which is milled in small batches from organic grain purchased from local and regional farmers.

Monday, April 16, 2018

What is an Authentic Brick Oven?

I have become accustomed to mass manufactured products.   I think we all have.  Really, do I want my books to be made on a Gutenberg press?  Or my lumber to be 'hand-hewn'?  Uh, maybe.

When a manufacturer uses our desire for authenticity to sell something that is not authentic, whether it is craft beer or brick ovens, I trip over the accepted idea that some things are true and others are more true.  "Truthiness" is now a word.
TBO 54"

Up front, I cannot satisfy the market need for thousands of authentic brick ovens.  I build each oven authentically, yes, but there is a limit to my strength and time, so I have a limit on ovens-per-year.

TBO 36"

I still balk at companies such as Chicago Brick Oven and many others claiming both brick and authentic.  If they claimed inexpensive, cast shell, wood-fired oven kits, they would be telling the truth.  But they don't.

Chicago Brick Oven shell
The ovens sold by most of the manufacturers of brick ovens are akin to tract housing.  Modular, identical, and cheap.  They offer none of the cultural warmth that we associate with the ovens we see in old Europe or the Southwest.

TBO dome roof
I have also given open-source access to my building techniques so that anyone with gumption and grit... and a limited budget can build one themselves.
This September, the 8th and 9th, I am offering a brick oven building workshop in Clinton Corners, NY at Wild Hive Farm.
See next post for info on registration.
TBO oven in progress

TBO oven mouth arches in progress
If you're wanting authentic, you can have it.  If you want something to be true, don't buy the 'truthiness' products.

We are drawn to authenticity.  Even today.
Greek style oven by TBO

Back two thousand years, the brick makers in Pompeii turned out millions of bricks.  Some of them went to build the 26 bakeries still standing there.  Yet, however modular the bricks were, each oven had its own character and exterior design: the trademark of the bakery. 
Pompeii brick oven 2000+ years-old