Indirect heated brick oven
I've been reading online about brick ovens that are heated indirectly by wood. From what I understand, they have a seperate chamber for firing that heats the oven area. How does this work exactly? Anyone have links or sites they have found that discuss this style of oven? I'm more into the bread side of the brick oven and would possibly like to have an indirect fired oven someday as I think baking with it would be much easier. Thanks.
This is called a "white" oven as opposed to a "black" oven, where the fire is in the oven. This plan is used for commercial ovens where continuous firing is desired. There is also a white oven built in conjunction with a domestic masonry heater, but I can't find it offhand. They are considerably harder to build than the traditional brick oven, I don't think anyone here has tried it.
A suggestion: Old fashioned wood and coal kitchen ranges are readily available for a couple of hundred dollars, they are engineered to route the flue gasses around the oven.
One consideration: you don't have to clean a black oven. Everytime you fire it, the fire burns away any droppings or grease spots. It's like a self cleaning oven that has a cleaning cycle with every use.
White ovens are for commercial bakeries. Alf can comment more, as he builds them, but these are beasts. Not something to put in your backyard -- rather something you could move into. You really don't want anything like this unless you want to start a serious commercial bakery.
Here's a good photo of a white oven.
There are many different designs of ovens that have evolved through time mainly due to the available building materials and the products the baker wants to bake. Most of the different designs of oven seem to follow geographical and cultural routes or themes; a good example is the roman oven and the tandoori oven. The roman oven baking leavened bread, roasting meats, casseroling and then the pizza, generally using wood. The tandoori oven baking snack type flat breads, cooking skewered meats etc often using animal dung and as a fuel.
True indirect or white ovens have a completely separate firing chamber or box and flueing system from the baking oven. Today these ovens are generally used in the commercial baking world where a lower and more consistent temperature is required for the baked product. They often have a rotary hearth as in the image below.
In domestic situations often the oven was part of a masonry heater. I think these brick ovens sort of died away due to the maintenance that had to be carried out on their flue ways and the amount of fuel they used, the ovens being replace by the more modern metal or cart iron kitchen range or grate.
The ovens that we build for the commercial sector arenít white ovens as James mentioned but are low arched barrel vault ovens with an independent firebox or furnace under the ovens hearth. The fire is burned in a specific way in the furnace so that the flame can enter the oven through a hole in the hearth and be directed and thrown down the oven to heat the brickwork of the oven.
One of the aims of this forum is to make building ovens easer and simpler, in my view for normal domestic use stick with the simple tried and tested ovens that work well. Donít make it complicated just make it fun.
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