The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Considering an oven

Beans's picture

Considering an oven

I apologize if this has been discussed before. I'm on day two of actually being a member of the site. Anyway, where I am currently living we have a surplus of several hundred bricks. I have no idea what sort of quality they are, as I know very little about bricks. I imagine they are leftovers from the construction of the house itself, which means they have been sitting for probably 20-25 years. It occured to me that they might as well go toward something useful instead of taking up space in the garage, but after reading around a bit I am hesitant, and probably with good reason.

As of right now I don't have anything in particular in mind and I am not committed to any design or, in fact, actually making an oven. I am putting out a feeler to gauge whether or not I simply have the wrong materials for the job or if this might be a worthwhile venture. Stickly speaking I certainly don't need an oven, but I have a bit of free time and I want one so long as the cost is not greater than the pleasure of building and using it. I intend to do some more reading on the issue of materials, location and construction, but I am starting here.

Thanks. Rest assured that if I do build one I'll take plenty of pictures for everyone.

yozzause's picture

A place with very good info is an aussie who sells his dvd worldwide and answers lots of questions dvd is cheap and the ovens work wonderfully well. Hours of fun to be had at this site, even our local brick manufacturer suggested some house bricks that would be quite capable of withstanding baking temperatures. good luck with the project

regards Yozza

longhorn's picture

Forno Bravo ( has free plans for a superb wood fired oven and lots of eager advisors to help you sort through the options. The bricks you have are almost certainly not refractory bricks but scrounging up the materials is part of the fun!

Good Luck!


Roo's picture

We are just finishing up our oven and like you had several stacks of bricks laying around.  We are using those for the outside of the oven.  These are the common brick with three holes in them.

Now for the oven floor and dome we used a firebrick that is built for such applications.  HOWEVER if you get the book Bread Builders by Allen Scott and Daniel Wing you will find plans that say you can use either firebrick OR the red paver type bricks.  This type of oven is a barrel type type. 

We used plans from the book to build ours and while a bit fuzzy on instructions and quantities of various items needed it allowed us to build an oven for slightly over 2K.  This was of course scouring Craig's List for items as well as outright buying the items.  The outer "pretty brick" work as I call it is being built by a friend of ours for free so that cost would have to be included.  If I were to take back over runs I would be looking at around an $1800 build. 

Time wise we did it on and off since the start of May.  Weekends moslty and since you have to wait for this mortar to dry or that concrete to cure it is a time consuming project, but one that we feel great about doing ourselves.  Was it worth it?  I believe it was, we have pulled some of the best pizza's, breads and chickens that we have had and look forward to doing a lot more as the summer heat is replaced by cool autumn evenings.

Forno Bravo is a great site and has plans for a Pompeii style (round) oven that calls for  a lot of brick cutting.  They are beautiful ovens, don't get me wrong, but so are the Scott Style ovens.  Debate rages as to the use for each style, but so far I have done pizzza and bread successfully in my Scott style oven and have seen them done successfully in the Pompeii style ovens.

Have fun researching and let us know what you decide.

Beans's picture

Well, right now I am fresh out of school (people are headed back to school and for the first time ever I am not) and at my parents' home while I get a job. It is entirely possible that, like many people my age, I'm going to be doing quite a bit of moving soon. Having weighed some of the possible costs and potentially not being here long enough to finish or enjoy the project, I think an outdoor oven is going to have to wait. Additionally, there aren't any other bakers in the family.

So without me the oven will likely not get used. In the meantime I'll focus on improving my actual baking and switching from cups to weight. The hydration and ounces is still throwing me for a bit of a loop. It doesn't help that I do my weghing in a measuring glass. Haha.


Anyway, thank you. I am sure I'll build an oven, but right now it makes more sense to wait a bit. Why build something no one will use or enjoy?