Make a bread oven off the ground?

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the.fee.fairy
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Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 254877Post the.fee.fairy
Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:29 pm

So...I'm a medieval re-enactor in the Summer and we would like to try baking bread at some of the longer events.

Any idea how we can make a mud bread oven, but off the ground? Most of the places the events are in are historic and protected, so no fires are allowed on the ground.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 254914Post Thomzo
Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:00 pm

Could you beg or freecycle a cast iron firepit? Bash it about a bit and cover it in mud to make it look like something knocked up in a medieval smithy then build your oven on top?

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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 254918Post Marc
Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:46 pm

I don't know if that would hold enough heat.
Have you tried making a mud oven, and using it?
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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 254921Post Green Aura
Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:03 pm

I think you might want an outdoor bread oven like ours. Although it still weighs a ton, OH and I can lift it and it stands on a sort of cast iron tripod. The oven itself is made out of a shell of chicken wire filled in with some sort of fireproof clay or plaster. It's fuelled by charcoal.

Oh and it fits in the back of a hatchback - I know because the first one I bought was delivered damaged so I had to rendezvous with the manufacturer in a pub car park near the Welsh border :lol:

If the weather is half way decent over the weekend I'll try and get a photo, but don't hold your breath, we've had gale force winds and horizontal rain all week!
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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 254948Post the.fee.fairy
Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:05 am

Thank you!

We've never used a bread oven, but think it would be interesting for the Living History displays. We're always looking for something out of the ordinary to add to our camp :)

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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 254974Post okra
Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:12 am

We are in the process of building one and so far have built the base and will be starting the second part soon.

http://cyprusgardener.blogspot.com/2011 ... art-1.html

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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 255009Post Green Aura
Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:20 pm

Image

Image

Image

Sorry, it's looking very sorry for itself - having had no summer for the last two years it's been a bit neglected I'm afraid. However it's easily patched up and cleaned. As I said the basic structure is made from chicken wire and this is filled with some sort of fireproof clay, and you can see where it's weathered the clay or whatever it is has been mixed with something like vermiculite, presumably to reduce the weight. I can't remember who made it, unfortunately, but I hope they did well because their customer care was fantastic.

It works really well, once the charcoals are burning put the trivet with the terracotta tile on top and let it heat up.

Pizza, from raw, in about three minutes. I've only made flatbreads and pizzas in it, but I see no reason why you couldn't do loaves. And when you've finished put a small joint double-wrapped in foil, or a cast iron casserole in the coals and it will slow cook while they cool. Delicious twofer! :cheers: :lol:
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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 255018Post Green Aura
Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:25 pm

I forgot to add that if I were designing it I would probably make it shorter and wider. The tile is quite small approx 12" square and then there's a lot of room unused above.
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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 255051Post the.fee.fairy
Sun Feb 26, 2012 5:12 am

ooh that looks good!

I'll show the others and see if they think it would 'fit' or whether the authenticity police might have something to say :iconbiggrin:

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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 264329Post Skippy
Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:30 pm

the.fee.fairy wrote:So...I'm a medieval re-enactor
Me too, and have done just what you are thinking of.
There are a few ovens on the scene and whilist ours isn't the prettiest it does work unlike some of the smaller ones that are based on a larger curfew.
There are a number of problems with these ovens or at least problems in using them.
OK , one problem that's easy to get round is that they become quite dirty with soot and not something you want close to your soft kit or bedding. We keep ours on a trailor for transport and the trailor is thus the "dirty" area.
The other and really the main problem is weight. These ovens work on the stored heat principal as you no doubt know. We have got around this in a fashion by having removable bricks inside the oven, however , even with the bricks removed it is still a struggle for two strong blokes and is more comfortably a four person lift.
We made the oven using a metal box ,inside principally because my friend Dave with whom I made the oven works with steel fabricators. It isn't really necessary to do that as the thing can be formed over a mound of sand just as well.As this build was really just to prove the concept the exterior is sand and cement rather than clay. The cart was also built out of scrap oak and garden center wheels and has since disappeared in favour of two 3 legged tressels. The plan is to redo the oven itsself as well using clay as the medium. This will, however, increase the weight and I'm looking at having to make wheels for a cart exactly the right size to allow me to load it on it's trailor thunderbirds style.
As I have said the oven functions and recieves many jealous comments. We use it to cook bread, meat and finally an egg custard as the oven cools down.
Dry wood is essential , faggots work really well but thin sticks are fine and it's down to practise to guage when it's right to cook.
Some piccys
the oven
Image
and Elaine the cook
Image


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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 264347Post Green Aura
Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:41 am

Mixing plenty of vermiculite into the clay should help reduce the weight quite a lot.
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Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 264351Post Skippy
Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:29 am

Vermiculite would indeed make it lighter but unfortunately it won't act as a heat sink. These ovens really do rely on mass to hold the heat. We conducted a very simple experiment with our oven by cooking in it with about half of the bricks removed and found that it's efficiency was a lot less and to use it like that would require more frequent firings and this has been confirmed by another re-enactor who has the smaller oven. She has explained to us that her oven cools very quickly and limits the cooking.
Are you able to transport the oven in your photos?


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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 264352Post Green Aura
Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:18 am

It fit in the back of my old Micra when I picked it up, and I can lift it with my OH.

As for heat, this one works off charcoal, rather than wood but heats hot enough to cook pizza and retains it long enough to roast a joint in the ashes.
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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 264356Post Skippy
Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:23 pm

Thanks for the reply, interesting.
Fee fairy and I also have the problem of making the thing to look authentic. We based ours on an illustration that appears to have been copied a few times but in all versions show basically the same details. I'd post a link but as a margo I don't think I'm allowed to do that , however, if you simply google "portable medieavel bread oven" you'll end up at some point with an illustration of an oven on a handcart.
As I said there are a couple of these pictures but all show a domed construction on a handcart that is being pushed by one man and pulled by another which would seem to indicate that the cart is fairly heavy. A third man is shown selling or serving what appears to be bread or perhaps pies and also a sort of pretzel appears too.To be honest we have looked at the picture and think it is more of a "fast food van" in that we don't think the food was cooked in it but rather kept warm and wheeled to the markets or through the streets. Wavy lines can be seen coming from the mouth of the oven but we are inclined to believe this indicates heat rather than smoke or flame.
We call our oven a mark 1 in that we have used modern materials in the construction but fully intend to make one as authentic as possible. To this end I've had a couple of dustbins of clay maturing in the garden for a couple of years and have been looking at different mixes including lime and crushed brick dust which is supposed to have a pozalanic effect i.e. meaning it will go off harder. Some research I've done talks about oven walls being a minimum of 8" thick but it's unlikely we will go to that size :shock:

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Re: Make a bread oven off the ground?

Post: # 264358Post Green Aura
Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:54 pm

We don't have any rules about links skippy, so don't worry about that - as long as it's not to somewhere unsuitable of course! :lol:
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Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

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