The Fresh Loaf

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optimising my rocket bread oven - questions for experienced wood oven users

manwithaplan's picture

optimising my rocket bread oven - questions for experienced wood oven users

Dear all. Glad I found this forum!

I’ve been experimenting with wood ovens for a while now and I am currently in the process of commercializing a first ‘compact’ model. It’s based on rocket stove technology but nothing you’ve seen yet. At least nothing I had seen yet and I believe I saw every posted picture and video online regarding rocket stove ovens :-)

Anyway, my prototype is already a great pizza oven (fits 2 30cm pizza’s - stacked on top) and I am fine tuning it for bread right now.

I would like to hear from all you wood oven experts, what are the most excellent conditions for bread (lets say sourdough country loaf style) in a wood oven besides the obvious listed below that I already achieved:

- It should be able to hold steam in the first half of the bake ✔️
- It should have enough mass + insulation ✔️
- it should hold the temperature long enough (at least long enough for one bake). ✔️

These are the goals I also already achieved at this point:
- It is large enough to bake 4 x 800gr loaves ✔️
- the floor heats up to 350°C in less than 1 hour with only 2 logs ✔️
- it consumes very little wood ✔️
- it doesn't smoke ✔️
- it’s floor size is 50x50cm. Internal height right now is 25cm (could be built higher in future models) ✔️

My main questions right now for you people:
- the heat comes from the bottom. The higher in the oven, the cooler it gets so ceiling is always cooler than the floor. How does that compare to the conditions in an Allan Scott type oven?
- Can ovens with bottom heat source be used for bread?
- Some people say: baking hotter in the first stage of the bake, lower temps in the second stage. Do you agree? Is that necessary?
- What would be your personal ideal temperatures during the whole bake.

Thanks a lot for your kind feedback and I will be happy to share more of my designs as I made some more progress.

yozzause's picture

Hi PDK17  is your oven a black oven, iwas in the process of making a rocket black oven i assembled all the things i was going to need but  then the project went a bit cold and when i was looking at getting things going i knocked over the glass door an it smashed. So back to square 1 now not sure whether to do the same aagin with another oven body or go for a white version. I would love to see some pictures of your oven.

Kind regards Derek 

manwithaplan's picture

Hi Derek

 I built my oven on top. The ceiling of his burn chamber is the floor of my oven. The hot gasses travel through the oven so it's a black oven but it would be easy to direct the gases without having to go trough so a white oven conversion is possible. If you look at his design, my oven would be situated underneath his cook top, but I heightened that space and used different materials (CFB, IFB, firebricks, stainless steel)



Scootsmcgreggor's picture

Been baking a while and have built a couple rockets so some random thoughts here:

oven temp range: can you design this oven to achieve 800*+ for pizza and also hold a relatively stable temp for bread? I’ve thought of a rocket based oven but would want it to be able to do both. 

Batch box: looks like walker cores are batch box right? The mental load of keeping a rocket stoked and baking especially if doing multiple batches could be daunting to some. 

Black vs white: for pizza and bbq black is fine, and maybe bread and pastry too, but would depend on how clean it burns. Or maybe if it has enough thermal mass to cook a load of bread with no fire?  I know a well designed rocket burns clean but still would prefer white oven if possible. Don’t want croissants coming out with a bit of smoke flavor. Also if it is black and the velocity drops in the oven you could get some ash accumulation on the bread. 

Longer bakes: flexibility to bake successive loads of bread for higher volume use cases would be nice. 

Top heat: I believe most all deck ovens have top heat and it’s one of the aspects that makes them work so well? Someone who has used one is probably better chime in on this. 

Good luck and lost some pictures along the way! Super interested in this project!