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Dry Stacked Oven Design Error & Tasty Bread

01.18.11

Having spent a slightly embarrassing amount of time over the past couple weeks researching my large-scale project, I stepped outside today, and chuckled at my error in my dry stack oven build. I think that’s an age thing. Laughing at one’s mistakes. So on to V2.0. The error: my door and chamber top ratio was close enough at 60%, but my door closed post chimney, resulting in all the hot air zooming out the very efficient chimney, even with door on. I need to knock the height down pre-chimney, not post, and have the door close the oven ‘box’. Not provide a heat escape. Oops.

So what I did, seen below in all its sophistication, is knock the chimney down a few courses, and plop a couple spare pavers atop the  chimney opening. Can still use it as a chimney while firing if desired – it still functions. I fired the oven for a good 5 hrs today, and with the chimney plugged it got vastly hotter than I’ve ever seen. Shocker. Like. Hot. The photo top left is of the snow adjacent to the oven [yes, the snow's up about 3-4 feet on the oven, and I'm sick of snow] – I was surprised that despite the oven being super-hot, it only melted a couple-inch-gap away from it through the course of the day. The stick in the photo is one of my fancy fire pokers. Came free with the oven.

The subsequent photos: 1] what to do with the coals pulled from the oven pre-bake: use them to grill. 2] the baking of a bread recipe I’m mucking about with [used Sunny Boy organic white flour]. Despite the abundant flaws and inefficiencies, the eaters in my family give this bread extremely high marks in the awesomeness department.

9 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    Now that is a nice looking bread and I bet it was every bit as delicious as it looks..

  2. Karlynn says:

    That is one tasty looking bread and I am glad to see you are keeping yourself busy this January. It must be helping with the winter blahs…or is it just firing up spring fever worse than ever?

    I looked at seeds yesterday. Big mistake. It’s almost easier to keep myself away until it’s time.

  3. Best get all the “mistakes” under your belt before you build the “real” one. The bread looks deadly. Still waiting for the other bread reicpe!
    :)
    Valerie

  4. jeff says:

    “the eaters in your family” thats good.

  5. Ferdzy says:

    Am I too old to be adopted? ‘Cuz I would like to be.

  6. alan says:

    Watching this process with great interest. Our paved potager was done by the seat of our pants, but we didn’t have to vent anything, or maintain temp, or not explode from excess moisture. So, we had a few challenges, and it cost twice what we planned, but it was pretty easy. Phase two is an outdoor kitchen with a brick oven. SO, we are happy to let you do some of the experimenting. Keep posting what works, and what doesnt. We are using it all.

  7. Mike – it didn’t last long.
    Karlynn – you’re actually right, it’s made January cooking fun. Normally it’s doldrums. And I already bought all my seed…what can I say.
    Valerie – agreed. Although the real one will not be a Kevin-design. It will borrow from mason designs who actually know what they’re doing. My mucking about with dry stacking is to provide a temp and some ‘you-can-do-it”!
    Jeff – heh.
    Ferdzy – aw, shucks.
    Alan – glad you’re finding it valuable. I’ve done more research than I care admit regarding the oven and fireplace build. Look forward to sharing more of the ‘master plan’.

  8. Judy Z. says:

    Your fireplace oven experiments are fascinating. It seems you were doing them during the coldest snowiest part of January. I bet you will have fun in the week ahead with the weather warming up. The bread looks amazing. I bet there were protests if that was the only loaf you baked. I’m picturing cinnamon rolls and buns. How many cookie sheets would that oven hold. How lond does it hold the heat? Would you be able to make several batches.
    I’ve been dreaming for years of building a clay oven out on my acreage (where there is an abundance of clay) but it is still in the imagination stage. IWhat was it you said about people who build clay ovens? I am full of ideas but no so good on the follow through. Lately (after my bout with you tube addiction I’ve been thinking about modifying the design to incorporate a rocket stove mass heater with the “chimney portion running under the oven to provide the heat. Then you wouldn’t have to clean out the coals.
    The other thing I want to build is a solar pizza maker. I’ve seen a really cool one on you tube that will hold six or seven pizzas. I think if it was insulated well it would even work on a sunny day in an Alberta winter.
    I’ll be watching for you next trial.

  9. Judy – I did 9 loaves the other day back to back, in 3 batches. There was certainly some loss in temperature by the 3rd batch, but this oven design wins on speed and cost – not on insulation and thermal mass. :)

    You should do the clay oven! If you do let me know and I’ll give you a hand if I can and at the very least take some photos and write about it.

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