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martywatts 03-19-2009 06:04 PM

Adobe vs Firebrick
I live in an adobe house which I built. Recently our oven stopped working which put my daughter who makes bread for a living out of work. We do have a backup oven in our ca1925 electric/wood Monarch. The oven doesn't take advantage of the wood burning option and the function of the electric oven is not temperature reliable or large enough for a commercial enterprise (10 loafs/week). A new oven isn't in the budget, but I had the brilliant idea of making horno in a corner of the kitchen with materials I have in hand. I already have a chimney located where the stove would be built. After some hours searching the web I am now more inclined to make an oven after the pompeii design. As it turns out I have a cache of refractory bricks which I have been hording for a masonry stove project that has never gotten off the ground. That makes both stoves possible for a relatively small investment. Has anyone used both types of ovens that could shed light on the relative merits of each.

Jed 03-19-2009 09:21 PM

Re: Adobe vs Firebrick
Hi Marty,

I don't have experience with the Horno oven.

With the Pompeii, I can bake several meals over two days after getting the oven up to temperature. I haven't tried to bake multiple oven loads of bread on one firing. I don't know if the standard Pompeii design has the thermal mass to hold a hot enough temperature to bake several separate loads of bread from one single firing. If your baking business dictates, you might research increasing the thermal mass, and plan on longer firing (with the standard Pompeii this means a fire for 1.5 to 2 hours - with more thermal mass the fire would have to run longer) to get the oven up to temperature. With the larger mass and the longer firing, you would be able to bake multiple loads of bread from the single firing... And then have heat to cook other foods, but at lower temperatures.


Frances 03-20-2009 03:41 AM

Re: Adobe vs Firebrick
I can bake upto three loads of bread in my Pompeii oven, no problem. Well, I say no problem, you do have to get the timing right, but it can be done fairly easily.

Was that really 10 loaves a week you're looking at? You could do 20 a day, its really a dream to bake in. But a bigger baking enterprise would call for more thermal mass.

No experience with a Horno oven though, sorry. I think most people here have one or the other. You could certainly do worse things with your cache of bricks though!

martywatts 03-20-2009 09:41 AM

Re: Adobe vs Firebrick
10 loves a week for a 15 year-old trying to balance school, soccer, music, church, in an oven that bakes three loaves at a time was a challenge. Perhaps with the WFO she can increase her output. She has never had to seek out customers, but has limited the number based on her schedule.

dmun 03-20-2009 12:11 PM

Re: Adobe vs Firebrick
If you need to hold heat, and you need to get up to speed pretty quickly without taking months to drive out the moisture from a mud oven, then you want the pompeii oven in the plans. Use the firebrick. The only reason to build an oven out of anything else is that you can't afford firebrick, and in the US, firebrick is cheap.

james 03-20-2009 12:27 PM

Re: Adobe vs Firebrick
Hey Marty,

Don't confuse "loads" and "loaves". A 42" Pompeii oven (or FB oven) can bake 10-20 loaves of bread (depending on loaf size) per load, and it can do 2+ loads per firing. That means you can get 30+ loaves per firing.

If cost is a huge issue, you could consider making the oven dome, floor and vent from red clay brick from Home Depot or Lowes. Those are about $.30 each, and my view is that you would have a better oven than if you built it from clay. Better a red clay brick Pompeii oven than no oven.


Frances 03-21-2009 04:06 AM

Re: Adobe vs Firebrick

Originally Posted by martywatts (Post 52507)
10 loves a week for a 15 year-old trying to balance school, soccer, music, church, in an oven that bakes three loaves at a time was a challenge.

Wow, that's impressive! Good for her... build her the brick oven, she'll have a ball.

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