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Bread Oven: Bakin' Artisan Bread Old School

Updated on February 5, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

For centuries the community bread oven was the gathering place for bakers and homemakers who made their own bread. The oven would be heated up with a pile of wood in preparation for the loaves that would become fragrant sustenance for the town. Each baker and homemaker would slash the top of the loaves in a signature way to make it easy to identify his or her own loaves when the bread was finished. In fact, artisan bread is still slashed today. Not only is it important because it helps the bread to form the correct shape while baking, it is a nod to the tradition that was begun in the days of community ovens.

Old fashioned brick oven. Image via US. Dept of the Interior.
Old fashioned brick oven. Image via US. Dept of the Interior.

The Return of Artisan Bread

In the past few years there has been a renaissance of sorts in the area of artisan bread. People have gotten tired of the fluffy white stuff that comes in a plastic sleeve and artisan bread is showing up in home kitchens, bakeries, and even grocery stores.

Artisan bread has a different texture and flavor than sandwich and loaf breads. When these breads and pizzas are baked in a wood fired bread baking oven they take on a special texture and flavor that just can’t be replicated by any other method.

There are even some people who have built, or had built, wood burning bread ovens at their homes. This is an increasing trend and you can find plans for building all sorts of bread ovens from all sorts of materials all over the Internet.

Helpful Websites

There are a number of helpful websites dedicated to the art of working with yeast and wood burning ovens.

  • Forno Bravo has an online forum for wood oven enthusiasts. Anything you may need to know about artisan bread baking in a wooden oven you can find out here.
  • Earth Art is a blog with everything you could ever want to know about earth ovens, cob ovens, brick ovens, or anything else.
  • Traditional Ovens has information on building and using brick ovens, and much more.
  • The Brick Oven Project has a large number of pictures, information, diagrams, and details that will help anyone build and use their own brick bread oven.
  • Brick Oven Recipes is a site about cooking in a brick oven. Looks like there are some great recipes here. More than just bread, there are casseroles, meats, desserts, and more.

Location...Location..Location...

Like any type of wood burning fireplace or oven it is important to check with your city building inspector for codes and permit requirements before choosing a location or buying one brick. Once you have that information then you can begin to think about where you would like to locate your wood burning bread oven.

You could build it on the end of your patio, out by the garden, or almost anywhere that is handy. Just remember that if you are going to use it all year for bread you will be walking through all sorts of weather withyou freshly baked loaves. Keep it convenient!

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    • profile image

      outdoor playgrounds 7 years ago

      thanks for your tips...

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

      My mother use to make bread every morning and sell the loaves. You brought back old memories with this hub and made me want a bread oven too!

    • thelesleyshow profile image

      TheLesleyShow 8 years ago from US

      Very interesting! I've never had bread this way, guess I'm just a city slicker from Los Angeles. Sounds so good. Thumbs up!

    • profile image

      R Burow 8 years ago

      I love the idea of an outdoor bread oven. Something I would have never thought of on my own. Your hubs are always interesting. Thanks.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      We have a wonderful selection of Artisan breads in each of our three local supermarkets. Superb taste and textures. I suppose baking it ourselves is the next step so I'm thinking about an outside oven, would be great for pizza too. Thanks for the inspiration

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