This oven was built in October 2014 at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center. The OAEC has inspired many through its courses and example over the last three decades. It was an honor to be invited to build this oven which is well situated next to their newly remodeled kitchen facility.
The deck of this oven is 36″ x 40 1/2″ deep. It features a firebrick core with a vault and steel harness. High-temp insulation surrounds the entire core, optimizing the oven’s efficiency. The facing is classic looking recycled red brick with two wood storage arches facing the front and back and keystone for accent.
(click images to enlarge)
A highlight of the build was getting to help the community to experience their new oven by throwing it’s inaugural pizza event. We easily fed 75 people. The oven’s mass-to-insulation ratio is designed to make it efficient but not overwhelming. We made a fire for three hours before starting our pizza session at about 750 degrees. We made roughly 60 pizzas over the following two hours with a live fire in the back. One nice thing about breaking into these bigger oven sizes is the ease of management of the fire and pizzas. There is not the risk of getting pizzas too close to the fire or mixed up with ash, and it is easy to have 2 to 4 good sized pizzas going simultaneously.
The next morning at 9 am, I opened the insulated oven door and read an average temperature of 425 degrees. Without lighting another fire, we cooked 12 loaves of bread… and then followed that up with 2 hotel pans of beans…. and after that whole winter squash and many pounds of potatoes. At the end of that following day, the oven was still at close to 300 degrees.
Thanks to Alex Chernov of Stovemaster and Marcus Flynn of Pyromasse for being continual sources of inspiration as well as lending design and technical advice on this build. And thanks to the entire OAEC community for making this project a big life highlight!
“Hey Max! Just a quick note to tell you that we have been using the oven lots, and loving it so much! The oven works perfectly. It is all we dreamed of. We feel you in every brick, and every slice! Thank you Max!We’ll send some party pictures too. If you need any promo photos or testimonials, let us know – we are your biggest fans! Please come visit when you can.”-Dave Henson, OAEC Excecutive Director
- Our Wood-Fired Oven Portfolio
- Books about Wood-Fired Ovens from the Handprint Press Bookstore
- The MHA’s Bake Oven Page
Photo Credits: Oven with Fire and Pizza Close-up in main spread and 5th, 7th and 8th images in mosaic by Tali Aiona. 2nd, 3rd and 4th images in mosaic by Jim Coleman. 6th and 9th images by Brock Dolman. Thank you!