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Old 02-12-2008, 02:34 AM
Frances's Avatar
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Default Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)

I brought something back for all of you from our ski holidays...

One afternoon we went to vistit the castle of Gruyere:

Castle of Gruyères (official home-page) - Welcome

Built inside the walls of the castle there's a vaulted room, which used to be the kitchen. And inside the walls of the kitchen there's an old brick oven, where they used to bake bread...

My family got a little bit pissed off when I insisted on going back to look at it a third time, and used up the batteries of the camera taking tons of pictures. But seeing such an old oven, so similar to ours... its really COOL!

The floor seemed to be of redish bricks, the first course of the dome was out of large chunks of stone, like the walls of the castle, and the following courses were more red bricks, smaller and narrower than on our ovens, which were at one time covered with a layer of clay (?). No idea what they did for insulation... The oven floor is about 1.5 m in dameter, and the dome is quite low, the top closes in really steeply.
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Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)-skiing-2008-036.jpg   Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)-skiing-2008-039.jpg   Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)-skiing-2008-032.jpg   Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)-skiing-2008-033.jpg   Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)-skiing-2008-035.jpg  

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Old 02-12-2008, 02:54 AM
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Default Re: Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)

More observations:

The doorway of the oven is made out of three large stone pieces cut to shape, the landing is out of three more stones (I guess they didn't have cast concrete in those days ...). There's no flue and the chimney must have been somewhere in the cieling. Its difficult to tell what has been changed in the meantime.

There was also a huge fire place in the room with an automatic turning spit... there were weights and couterweights hanging from the ceiling which kept it moving.

And in the next room there was what looked like a small oven, which was apparently used as a refrigerator. I'll add the pics of that because it looks so much like some of the precast ovens I've seen... must be out of more stone blocks cut to shape.

Come to think of it, why would you put place to keep things cool in the same wall as the oven? Even with really good insulation, that wouldn't make sense... maybe it was a place to keep things warm instead?

I was absolutely fascinated!! (Just in case you hadn't noticed...) So I hope you all find this interesting, too
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Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)-skiing-2008-031.jpg   Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)-skiing-2008-038.jpg   Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)-skiing-2008-037.jpg  
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Old 02-12-2008, 06:30 AM
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Default Re: Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)

Nice find Frances!

It looks like there was a bunch of cooking done in that thing.

I imagine the pictures don't do the oven justice, but it sure its pretty.

If I did my calculations correctly, its about 59 inches across the floor!

That would be huge! Did is seem really big to you?

Welcome back.

Dave
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Old 02-12-2008, 06:30 AM
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Default Re: Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)

I bet Dmun will love the pictures of the gears, etc.

Just a hunch!
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Old 02-12-2008, 07:13 AM
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Default Re: Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)

I posted a picture of a roasting jack, French, from the 19th century last year, when it was on eBay. This one is considerably earlier, although it's hard to tell with things that age. It's been speculated that roasting jacks pre-dated mechanical clocks, and were the model for the early ones. The frames, the weight drive, even the form of the fly for the speed control of the strike are remarkably similar to ones used in early church clocks.
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Old 02-12-2008, 10:39 AM
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Default Re: Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)

Frances,

Great oven. I love the old guys.

Did you take the cheese tour? The cheese turning robots are very cool.

James
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Old 02-12-2008, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)

I remembered that roasting device from last year, when you posted it dmun, that's why I even decided to take a picture of this one. So cool!

I was just so surprised to bump into an oven like this. I mean yeah, it says in the guidelines that the plans are from old Pompeii ovens, but to see something like that unexpectedly. I'll have to go to Pompeii some time!

So you've been there James? Nice isn't it? We didn't take the cheese tour though, maybe next time.
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Old 02-12-2008, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)

Hi France,

Yes, its a beautiful place. Carrie (my wife) worked in Lausanne years ago, and we still have friends there who we see pretty often -- though on the French speaking side. :-)

I have also stumbled across medieval ovens, and they are so fun to see. Then there are the ovens in Pompeii -- great to see.

James
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)

Hi Frances and welcome back! I trust the family had a good time despite having to drag you out of the castle. Want you to know that I really appreciate your effort. I find it fascinating now to see ANY WFO, but to see one that old would be amazing.
My wife reported seeing a WFO in a new castle that some wine maker fella had built in Napa, Calif. Said it was very nice but didn't take a picture of it. I know. She got some of the dragon door knockers, and some really cool arches and stone work, but no oven shots. Thanks again to you.

I will keep you posted on my pizza proficiency as the 23rd approches.

dusty
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Old 02-13-2008, 01:50 AM
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Default Re: Midieval oven in Gruyere Castle (Switzerland)

Quote:
Originally Posted by asudavew View Post
If I did my calculations correctly, its about 59 inches across the floor!

That would be huge! Did is seem really big to you?

Dave

I'm just guessing about the size (didn't have my measuring tape on me at the time ), but yes, it was pretty huge. Actually, comparing it with my oven (1 m accross), it could be even bigger...

Just imagine baking bread in there for a whole castle! Hey, you can keep all the stories of knights and fair ladies, give me an oven anytime.
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