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Bottom Fire Chamber - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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Bottom Fire Chamber

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  • Bottom Fire Chamber

    I am new to the forum and wood-fired ovens. I plan to build an oven and was impressed with the ovens I saw in Egypt. They have a separate chamber under the oven for the fire. The heat then vents up the back of the oven and out the top chimney. This design appeals to me more than having the fire in the baking chamber. No one else seems to use this design. What am I missing?

  • #2
    Re: Bottom Fire Chamber


    I've been looking into the exact same design. A coworker built one several years ago, but has since moved, so I don't have access to check it out. I'm just researching my first build, but I think that I'm going to give it a try. Nothing ventured.... I will look forward to seeing any responses to your thread though


    • #3
      Re: Bottom Fire Chamber

      Is this a help?

      Un amico degli amici.


      • #4
        Re: Bottom Fire Chamber

        Hello all,

        the Egyptian woodfired oven has been used for thousands of years throughout Egyptian village. It's quite efficient as the cooking happens from the top and the bottom. And since the burning wood is separated from the food by using the two chambers system. It's much cleaner ..

        There is a more sophisticated one in the villages, where the sleeping area would be above the oven and that provide warm bed for the family at night too.

        The opening between the two chambers is to let the heat in, its called " Mashrga" if it is in the back of the oven than it's wrong or not preferable. It's better if placed in the left side of the oven to permit throwing pieces of wood to the bottom chamber as needed while baking bread. This way, you don't have to leave the oven front to feed the fire from the bottom or side.

        I have one built in front of me some years ago to learn how to build one in my backyard. I have some pictures I could scan them and post them here if you wish.

        Regards~ Salam~Masrawy


        • #5
          Re: Bottom Fire Chamber

          It would be helpful if you could post some of the pictures you have.


          • #6
            Re: Bottom Fire Chamber

            Okay Stonemason, I will post them tomorrow ..


            • #7
              Re: Bottom Fire Chamber

              Bottom line, a bottom fire white oven works very well for baking, if you intend on doing a lot of pizzas - stick with the Pompeii style black oven nearly all forum members are building. As most everyone here can attest, the Pompeii also bakes, roasts, smokes, and grills phenomenally well too.



              • #8
                Re: Bottom Fire Chamber

                I took this image about 30 years ago of Forn Baladi that was used in everyday life.

                Here is a link to the step-by-step images of the one I had built just a few years ago, nothing fancy I just wanted to see for myself. Usually it's built right on the ground, but since this was the roof of a building. It was built on top of four columns, as far as I'm concerned it's more than bread oven. They would use clay pots for all sorts of food to be cooked in this kind of oven too. They call it Bram ... then whatever in it is added to that.

                I guess next time I need to start collecting recipe.

                This is just one image as embedding would have taking much time, but you can see the rest in my album @ Photoshop.com


                please let me know if there is a problem with the link or if you have questions.


                • #9
                  Re: Bottom Fire Chamber

                  Thanks for posting the pictures. I enjoyed seeing the simple design. What material is used for the oven floor?


                  • #10
                    Re: Bottom Fire Chamber

                    Hi Stonemason,

                    You are welcome it was interesting to watch it being built it was fired the next day, that's when I learned the issue with we are to place the opening between the two chambers. The ladies who provided the baking were upset with the builder and questioned where he is from, since he put the opening in the back as this picture shows.

                    As for the material this was 4 mm steel sheet for both the bottom and the top chamber. But more traditional Egyptian ovens they use commercially produced clay fired oven floor about an inch and a half thick. The steel sheets were about 3' x 3' the mortar they used is a mixture of 13 shovels of sand to one cement. Then finish it with cement layer, again because it was built on the rooftop, it took about 300 redbrick. A more traditional oven they would use mud and straw mix as the first picture shows in my previous post.

                    I am wondering myself whether I could find other alternative in the US other than using a steel sheet for the oven floor. Maybe more knowledgeable member of this forum might be able to give advise or alternative.

                    I'm planning to build mine sometimes next summer ...

                    Do you have time frame for yours??


                    • #11
                      Re: Bottom Fire Chamber

                      I am wondering myself whether I could find other alternative in the US other than using a steel sheet for the oven floor.
                      Clearly the steel sheet is no good: while the fire is going it will overheat and burn anything placed on it, and it will not hold heat once the fire is out.

                      The masonry heater folks build something like this: They use either a cast refractory cement slab under the "white" oven, or a big piece of soapstone ($$$) between the firebox and the oven floor. If your oven is small enough, you could get a refractory kiln shelf from a ceramics dealer, but they aren't very thick.

                      My opinion? If you want the best oven you can get for your time and money, I'd download the plans and follow them exactly. They are put together from the best results of hundreds of oven builders. You'll get lots of support on building and using your oven right here.

                      If you want to reproduce this Egyptian mud oven, I'd make it out of mud. There are a few cob oven builders here who can give you some advice: their builds are grouped under the heading "other oven types".

                      Whatever you decide, good luck with your project.
                      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2