Wood-fired World

Breads are baked in ovens of varying kinds. On Windsor street, where I currently bake bread, I use a convection oven that looks something like the one featured to the right. Its really best at making cookies and white bread, as it turns out. Breads with richer, more serious crusts do better in ovens where there is not so much hot wind blowing around.

 

A different, older style of bread baking is wood-fired baking. Most often wood-fired bakeries have “black ovens”- ovens made of brick that hold a raging fire in a specially insulated chamber, inside of which the bread is eventually baked (once the fire has burned away and the ashes are cleaned out). Like this:

This oven is from Bridgetown, Nova Scotia. Doug Brown, an excellent baker down the valley built it over ten years ago. He runs his bakery Oakhaven using this oven to bake hundreds of loaves a week. This is doug→

You can find his products at Planet Organic in Halifax. He’s a master at spelt, kamut and red fife flours.I am trying to build an oven just like Doug’s, inside it is 42 by 48 inches.

Sometimes they are much bigger, like this oven in Vermont which is over 9 feet wide! It can bake over 600 loaves of bread after being fired just once! I saw this oven in Vermont last summer while on a bread-inspired road trip to New England.

Next year, I will move out to West Hants Co. again and work out of my own bakery and wood-fired oven. It will be in Scotch Village, N.S. where I own an old farm with some friends. I already have the spot picked out.


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