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How I built my Wood Fired Bread Oven

by Carolina published on

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Wood Fired Oven

I've wanted to build my own oven for many years now but never had the time, or the space before.  First I wanted to choose a spot that was close to the house.  I have a beautiful terrace which is at the front of the house and I didn't want anything blocking the view from the terrace, so in the end I found a corner, big enough to build it. 

I got information on how to build one from from the Internet , a french book I have, and I kind of amalgamated it all and just started.  My husband helped me put in the steel work and the wood to do the base but apart from that it is all my own work.

I opted for a diameter of 70cm, I then cut the circle in half to make a template for cutting the polystyrene for the dome.

The first layer of concrete for the base was 10cm deep, I then put another layer of cement and perlite for insulation of about 7cm.  Onto this I put re factory mortar and laid the refractory bricks onto this so they would give the oven floor a 10cm thickness.  The refractory bricks for the dome I cut in half, I used a cheap, electric tile cutter for this. The top of the dome was the hardest to do and I wish now I had cut the bricks a bit better, although they all locked in and stayed in place without mortar, I think in the long run I should of taken more time to cut them better.  I gave it a good covering with refractory cement.

The mouth was difficult to do, in the end I put to fire bricks on end and then put two 4cm corner pieces of iron and fitted half bricks onto it.

The mouth I made just a few centimeters bigger, so as to give the door something to sit against.

I left an opening in the mouth for the chimney.

I fitted a piece of iron in the opening for the chimney pipe to sit on.

Before advancing any further I let the cement dry for a couple of weeks and then built fires in it for a couple of weeks until I brought the temperature up to 300c.

I always think bread ovens are a bit biblical and magical.

Then I covered the dome in Rockwell insulation, fixing it all with chicken wire , which I anchored with screws into the base.  I covered this with concrete with a couple of trowels of lime mixed in to help it stick.  I made quite a dryish mix and pushed it into the mesh.  My husband said it wouldn't stick but it did.  When it had dried I covered it in cement.

I had a iron door made locally and bought a thermometer from

I cooked a practice loaf in it today but I haven't got a implements for getting bread in and out of the oven and I balanced a loaf on a piece of wood and tried to slide it in the oven but I failed and it fell on a burning log.  It was a bit black and covered in ash and it tasted sublime.

I haven't added up the cost of it yet but I think it is near 500 euros.  I think it is worth it.



20 replies
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Thanks everyone for all the comments, I promise I will get around to posting some pictures of food cooked in the oven soon.

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I want!!!

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Really-really GREAT JOB! Thanks a lot for pictures!

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Beautiful job Carolina. Please also post any pics of bread/food that you cook in your oven.

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Absolutely fantastic job. This is one of the things my wife and I would like to have once we move from our flat into a house - not sure we could get one on our balcony :o)

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Thanks Carolina for all the helpful tips and advice.
I`m going to try and design mine incorporating things such as the ash drawer which sounds like a good idea.
I`ve bought the RC bread book and am itching to try them in the oven if the breadsticks i made were anything to go by xx

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Hello Littlenikki, I used various pages I can't remember them all but the main one was , I also have a French book 'les fours à pain' by michel marin. There are also lots of video's on net. If I built another one I would change some things. 1. I would build an ash drop, this goes just outside the door, you basically leave a gap in the bricks so you can scrape the ash into an iron draw. I thought about doing one but didn't and now regret it. 2. I should have built it in the garage. Although mine is under a roof, I just think it would have been easier to have a table and bread making things in the garage. I make bread every other day and in winter it won't be much fun having to go outside. Don't stint on thermal mass, that is the thickness of the bricks, mine are 10cm, on floor and on dome, and that is about right. Also, insulate well, on floor and on dome. Wear a good mask when you are cutting bricks, they contain aluminium, as does the cement. I put a thermostat in the door, which is a waste of money. Just put a free standing one in oven when you want to know the temperature or buy a digital one, which is what I might do. Baking bread is chalenging, I am just starting to get the hang of it, when I am better experienced at it I will post another blog. Cooking roast potatoes and chops etc are easy when you leave the door open but this weekend I cooked a 5 kg cockerel that was cut up into pieces and in a sauce. It was divided into 2 cast iron pots with lids and I put it into a too hot oven and closed the door and burnt the lot! I hope this has helped.

Also thanks everyone for the encouraging words.

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Hi Carolina, great job it looks fantastic.

Can i ask which web site you found useful as there are so many out there. I`m going to start designing mine in a couple of months so any tips, web links would be greatly appreciated.

I`m planning on small roasts, bread and stonebaked pizzas.

Many thanks

LittleNikki x

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Can you come and build one for me - you look like a real handywoman...

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