Article by Jim Buckley
Daniel Wing and Alan Scott have written a great book on bread making and oven building entitled The Bread Builders. It’s a definitive work, extensively researched and required reading for anyone planning to build a masonry oven or bake bread in one. Alan Scott was kind enough to help me with some questions I had in writing this article and by letting me use a couple of the pictures from his book.
Here is a picture from the book of an oven built by Alan Scott in California in the style of the great stone French ovens.
Wing and Scott also explain how to build a fire in an oven and their method doesn’t even require the ash dump, air intake, loose brick affair described previously.
“Start the fire in the front of the oven. Add wood when the fire is burning well, and let it burn all the way to the back of the oven.” When the oven is ready throw some corn meal on the oven floor and bake right on the hot firebrick.