Fresh from the 2016 Grain Growers Conference, I got the opportunity to view and lend a hand on the build of a special oven.
I got to visit Adam Wilson at Running Stone Bread in his new location.
Oven Building in a Shipping Container
View this post on Instagram
Oven in a shipping container. Masonry work is completed! Thanks to Jeremiah and Jon, the masons for their efficient, focused work. This is the rear firing entrance. Once I insulate(the box will be completely filled with insulation) and frame a wall on this end, all you will see will be the firing door. The other side has the 5' wide baking door frame.
This is one way to make a durable, long-lasting yet movable wood-fired bread oven.
Adam used to bake at Bread and Butter Farm.
Having found land to lease in Huntington, Vermont, he decided to build an oven that could travel with him in the future.
So in one 8′ x 10′ he built the bread oven seen above.
In another shipping container that is 8′ x 20′ he is housing the bakery, which contains a diving arm mixer and a small flour mill.
The Job Site
I got to the job site and was able to pitch in for a day to help cut bricks and assist with the arch forms.
I had some great conversations and was able to ask a lot of questions to Jeremiah and Jon, as they are experienced masons.
Adam’s plan involved a 5′ x 7′ hearth which is the same size I am building in my garage.
It was very cool to see the way in which they approached it.
New Oven Building Techniques
They were even employing some new techniques that I hadn’t heard of before.
One was putting the wood loading door on the back of the oven versus having it be one and the same with dough loading entrance.
Doing it this way would make for a lot less mess in dealing with ashes in the same space you wish to load/unload bread from.
The other was in using insulative firebrick underneath the walls versus using foam glass (calcium silicate) underneath.
When Adam took apart the oven at Bread and Butter Farm, he noticed that the foam glass had compressed about a 1/2″ under the weight of the walls.
That’s a lot of movement in something with little tolerances for wreckage especially in the arch bricks.
(The white bricks shown above are insulative firebricks)
So putting insulative firebrick around the base of the wall and still using foam glass underneath the hearth only avoids the compression issue.
A Bakery in Flux
I loved seeing Adam’s bakery equipment stored here.
There’s built up inertia here just wanting to explode like rising sourdough.
There’s also age and wear that speaks about the wisdom and experience Adam has in producing his craft.
One only need to check out his website to see the way he presents his craft at the Burlington Farmer’s Market.
Be sure to check out Adam and the Running Stone Bread on Instagram where you can see more of the oven build process, including the dismantling of the prior oven.
All in all, a great week for someone into bread and grains.