Note: See also the files: utensils-msg, breadmaking-msg, brd-mk-sour-msg, iron-pot-care-msg, no-fire-cook-msg, p-kitchens-msg, camp-ovens-msg



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ovens-msg - 9/24/13
Medieval ovens and SCA camp ovens.
NOTE: See also the files: utensils-msg, bread-msg, breadmaking-msg, brd-mk-sour-msg, iron-pot-care-msg, no-fire-cook-msg, p-kitchens-msg, camp-ovens-msg.
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NOTICE -
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This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
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From: haslock at fiacha.zso.dec.com (Nigel Haslock)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Brick Oven Design

Date: 21 Sep 1994 20:39:46 GMT

Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation
Greetings from Fiacha,
All of the brick ovens that I am acquainted with have a single chamber.
Since the goal is to get the bricks hot enough to cook by and since

bricks are a really poor conductor of heat, it seems grossly inefficient

to use a separate fire box and wait for the heat to percolate through

the walls of the fire box. Trying to use the hot air and smoke generated by

the fire might be possible but it would not work the same as a brick oven

such as I have used.


In discussing improvements to the brick oven we have, we have considered

redesigning the inside to make better use of the flames, and cause the

smoke to go up the chimney instead of out of the door.
I believe that a separate firebox would make sense when iron walls are

practical. I would be interested in pointers to plans for period ovens

and indications of when ovens with separate fireboxes came into use.
Fiacha

From: alisounf at aol.com (AlisounF)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Brick Oven Design

Date: 21 Sep 1994 17:15:03 -0400
(Neil Perkins(980-9892" , writes:

>I would have assumed that there would be two cavities - one to bake in,

>and one for the baking. Not so? The design requires quite rudimentary

>brick-laying skills.


I don't know when the idea of a separate firebox and bake area was

invented, but even in the 19th. century in rural Massachusetts bread might

still be baked in a beehive oven with only one chamber.
Alisoun Fortescue of Maplehurst

who is known to say that you cannot light a candle in the wind.

From: Suze.Hammond at f56.n105.z1.fidonet.org (Suze Hammond)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Brick Oven Design

Date: Sat, 24 Sep 1994 21:37:00 -0800


Al> From: alisounf at aol.com (AlisounF)

Al> Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


Al> In article <9409211855.AA00503 at jackalope.toontown>, at mc.lcs.mit.EDU

Al> (Neil Perkins(980-9892" , writes:

>I would have assumed that there would be two cavities - one to bake in,

>and one for the baking. Not so? The design requires quite rudimentary

>brick-laying skills.
Al> I don't know when the idea of a separate firebox and bake area was

Al> invented, but even in the 19th. century in rural Massachusetts bread

Al> might still be baked in a beehive oven with only one chamber.
True.
Near here, we have a reconstructed 19thc Hudson's Bay trading post, Fort

Vancouver.


Among the things they have rebuilt so far is the bakery. It has two ovens,

both single-chamber, so far as baking goes. (There -is- a chamber under

it, but that's just used to pre-season firewood...)
A fire is built in the upper chamber, raked out, and the bread put in.

Just as has been done for practically ever...


From: haslock at fiacha.zso.dec.com (Nigel Haslock)

Newsgroups: rec.food.historic,rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Request:medieval feast

Date: 21 Sep 1994 00:30:05 GMT

Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation


Greetings from Fiacha,
Stephen Bloch raises some interesting points about trenchers that caused me

to stop and think/speculate for a moment.


Giving every feaster a trencher is a lot of bread. Doing it every day is one

hell of a lot of bread.


Bread tins are not a medieval artifact as far as I know (but I could have

missed them). Without bread tins, bread comes out of the oven in a slump

shape. You can't make rectangular bread because it will change shape in the

oven. Thus I would expect round or oval loaves.


Really tall loaves aren't going to work very well. The further the middle is

from the heat, the longer it is going to take to bake. Efficient use of the

oven is going to require vaguely flat bread for trenchers. This means that

really efficient use of the oven should have been to bake pita bread on

steroids. A thick crust would be much more effective at trapping juices and

sauces.
Experience with a brick oven is relevant here. I have turned out breads upto

two inches thick. However, they only worked when the oven was relatively cool.

Trying it with the oven hot resulted in burnt crusts or uncooked middles. Thin

breads can be cooked in the hot oven. The point to remember is that with a

brick oven there is no thermostat and you cannot use the oven while you are

reheating it. Thus, as the temperature goes down, the cooking time increases.

If you need to cook a lot of something, you want to cook it in a hot oven so

you can cycle lots of items through before reheating. This means that flat

bread for trenchers makes a lot of sense.


Fiacha

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: ddfr at quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)

Subject: Re: Looking for oven sources

Organization: University of Chicago

Date: Thu, 29 Sep 1994 05:22:34 GMT


Tandoori cooking is, I believe, traditionally done in a clay oven,

and I believe it is similar to the Tanur used in medieval Arabic

cooking. A possibility I have considered but not followed up is to

find out where Indian restaurants get their Tanurs from. If you have

the space, you then bring your tanur with you, bury it part way (I

think), build a fire inside, rake out the coals, put in the bread,

... .
David/Cariadoc

From: caradoc at enet.net (John Groseclose)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Looking for oven sources

Date: 29 Sep 1994 21:02:59 GMT
sward02 at bigcat.missouri.EDU (Shannon R. Ward) wrote:

> In amongst the talk of making period ovens, etc. did anyone ever list

> sources we can look at if we are interested in making one. I don't think

> I can survive another Lilies War without hot, fresh bread!

>

> Tatiana Dieugarde



> Shire of Standing Stones

> Kingdom of Calontir


In the excavations at Pompeii, they dug up a stove/oven/heating device

remarkably similar to the "shepherd's box stove" I've seen at a lot of Boy

Scout camps... It's essentially a longish metal box with a stovepipe at

one end, two doors (one to put wood in, and one above that for baking.


The top surface of the box (behind the top of the "oven" box) is used as a

griddle surface. The one excavated at Pompeii also had a partitioned area

with a spigot, apparently used for heating liquids.
---------

! !


Front View: ! !

! !


--------------------------------------

! !


! ------------------------------ !

! ! ! !


! ! Oven door ! !

! ! ! !


! ! ! !

! ------------------------------ !

! !

! ------------------------------ !



! ! Firebox door ! !

! ------------------------------ !

--------------------------------------
Side View: (stovepipe omitted):
Griddle here

---- ----------------------------------------------------------

! ! ! ! !

! ! !


! ! !

! ! Baking "oven" !

! ! !

! Coals shoved back here ! !



! ! !

! ! ---------------------------------!

! !

! Wood (or charcoal) here !



! !

-----------------------------------------------------------------------


In the Pompeii artifact, the right side of the "oven" area was partitioned

off with a spigot hanging out the side. The entire object had brackets at

the corners, apparently for legs for the stove.
Now, if I could just find the damn book I read about this in... Maybe it

was a National Geographic.

--

John D. Groseclose



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Ice at Pennsic (How much? I used none.)

From: una at bregeuf.stonemarche.org (Honour Horne-Jaruk)

Date: Fri, 01 Sep 95 12:22:06 EDT


glenn at access1.digex.net (D. Glenn Arthur Jr.) writes:

> Right now I'm more interested in period (or at least low-tech,

> DIY) ovens I can build at -- or _easily_ transport to -- Pennsic.

> This has to have been covered in a _Compleat_Anachronist_ or

> something, no? But whether period/perioid or modern, being able

> to oven-cook at Pennsic can only add to my culinary repertoire.

> D. Glenn Arthur Jr., glenn at access.digex.com
Respected friend:

The premier issue of _Recreating History_ magazine contains an

article describing construction and use of five different outdoor ovens.

(I wrote it.)

Contact Polsons at sirius.com for info.

If you get it, do tell me what you did- I _love_ that part!


Yours in service to the Society-

(Friend) Honour Horne-Jaruk R.S.F.

Alizaunde, Demoiselle de Bregeuf C.O.L. SCA

Una Wicca (That Pict)

From: brettwi at ix.netcom.com(Brett Williams)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Bread Ovens When Camping

Date: 1 May 1996 17:13:52 GMT


parkerd at mcmail.cis.McMaster.CA (Diana Parker) writes:

>Elizabeth Estep wrote:

>>If anyone would like to share any experiences, resources, etc. on

>>period style ovens or bread making, please post them here, or e-mail

to the address below. I'll try and share anything I learn with any

>>other interested parties.

>

>Oh Yes Please.



>

>Tabitha


>----------------------------------------------

>Diana Parker parkerd at mcmaster.ca

>Security Services CUC - 201

>McMaster University (905) 525-9140 (x24282)

The Regia Anglorum web site has an article on building one's own

kiln-type oven in its copious pages. The address is:


http://www.ftech.net/~regia/
On the other hand, since I somehow surmise from all the reading I've

done on going to Pennsic that the Coopers might frown on folk building

a permanent oven on their land, why not try burying one of those

Romertopf type clay pans (with a lid) with bread in the coals and ashes

of a fire? Supposedly one can make bread with a good crust in one of

those, though I've never tried it. The King Arthur's Flour Baker's

Catalog carries 'em, as does most higher end baked goods/cookery shops.
ciorstan

From: jlee at puc.edu (Thrystan Wickliegh)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Bread Ovens When Camping

Date: Thu, 02 May 96 05:37:03 GMT

Organization: Pacific Union College


At the West Kingdom Collegium a couple of weeks ago there was a demonstration

of a bread oven. It was made by taking red clay bricks, about 90 of them if I

recall correctly, and forming them into an oven shape using normal mud as a

mortar. You first make a base of bricks layed on their long thin edge,

unfortunately I don't remember how many were in the base. Then you build up a

wall around three sides of the base and dome it over towards the top. the

structure will resemble a cylinder cut in half lengthwise and lain on the cut

side. An important part of building it was that when you get the walls

starting to dome over you need to place two bricks perpindicular to the walls

at the front of the oven, i.e. the open side. These bricks can then have

weights, extra bricks for instance, placed on them to ballance the wieght of

the bricks being domed over. Once you get to the point were a brick turned

sideways will cover the opening at the top then place the last layer of bricks

perpendicular to the side walls. Note the bricks should be placed so that they

have their length going the same direction as the wall and their breadth, i.e.

the next larget dimension, going away from the oven chamber. The idea is to

get as much thermal mass as possible.
I realize that this may not be very clear, if you would like I could try to

draw a picture of it and mail it to you, though I am not a very good artist.

The best way to do it would be to get some bricks and try it at home and then

tweak it till it works.


To fire the oven remove a brick from the roof at the back of the oven, at the

collegium we made a sort of chimney out of a couple of extra bricks. And then

place your wood inside and build your fire. If you built the oven so that the

door was facing the prevailing direction of wind you will get a nice draw

through the oven even without a chimney. Once the fire in the oven is going

you will get some good flames coming out of the chimney due to the excess

gases burning in the now abundant oxygen. If you build the oven right it

should be possible to cook over the chimney while firing the oven. After the

oven has fired for about an hour it should be ready to bake in. Though you

should probably experiment with it at home. Rake the fire out of the oven and

cover the hole in the roof. Then slide the bread in the oven and place the

bricks you saved for the door, you did remember to do this right:), in front

of the door. The bread should bake in about the same amount of time as in an

oven at home, though you should check it about half way through and then again

towards the end. I was told that you get a feel for how long it should take to

cook. Once it's done pull it out and cut off the bottom layer, since it has

lots of ash and mud on it, and eat.
I hope this helps.

Thrystan Wickliegh


P.S. I wonder if anyone knows how "period" it would be to cook on the chimney

of such an oven. I would think that it would be great to fire it up in the

morning, cook breakfast over the chimney and then when breakfast is done slide

the bread in for lunch.

From: Gartner Michael

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Bread Ovens When Camping

Date: Fri, 3 May 1996 11:26:35 +0200

Organization: Uni Leipzig
On 30 Apr 1996, Elizabeth Estep wrote:

> I know that a number of people have done period bread baking at Pennsic

> and other camping events. I haven't, but would like to try it some year.

> However, I'd also love to pick the minds of those of you who have already

> done it, and learn from your mistakes, so that I can make my own new ones.

>


> ELIZABETH ESTEP CXYB76A at prodigy.com

> ska Angharad ferch Tangwystl


apropo,
I have never baked bread at war, but I have seen something here in

Germany that is very interesting.


At this time of the year there are many Market days, most of them being

medieval in theme. There is no one organization in charge, rather the

majority are hosted by individual cities, especially those with very old

Market privelidges. For instance, here in Leipzig they just celebrated

their 500 anniversary of Trade fair privledge, granted by Max.I, and had

a large Market at the original Marktplatz(Marketplace). There were many

handworkers there, including food sellers. One person had brought with

him a small stone oven and was baking flat bread and rolls the whole

day. Other people would come and use the oven from time to time. I

asked him about this and he said that his was the village oven open to

public use, a very common practice. In fact since this time I have seen

many small villages where the old water mills also have community ovens.


I thought it would be interesting to see at an event, a public oven for

all to bake their bread fresh daily, Nicht wahr?


Duncan Brock, O.L.

Michael H. Gartner

Universitaet Leipzig, Deutschland

From: jlee at puc.edu (Joe Lee)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Bread Ovens When Camping

Date: Mon, 06 May 96 16:41:04 GMT

Organization: Pacific Union College


kimiv at ix.netcom.com(Kimberly A. Ingram) wrote:

>I saw one of the conical brick ovens being built in a camp at Pennsic

>once but when i suggested a similar enterprize to my household, several

>people insisted fire brick must be used as opposed to red clay bricks

>or run the risk of exploding bricks and this would be cost prohibitive.

>Is this the case?

>

>Yours, Aralyn Thorgrimsdottir



>m.k.a. Kim Ingram-Veillette at kimiv at ix.netcom.com

>

>Hoping to be savoring some of Tabby's breads this Pennsic!


Well the oven I saw was made out of the red clay bricks and it didn't explode.

While there may be a worry about the bricks exploding if they got too hot, the

oven I saw still had a couple of places in it where there was slightly damp,

i.e. still dark, mud between the bricks when we broke it apart the next day.

And this was after four firings. I also heard someone, I unfortunately do not

remember who, mention that they were at an event similar to a ren faire where

there was a large oven built on site. The method used to fire it was that when

the soot on the ceiling of the oven turned white it was hot enough, then the

fire was cleaned out and the floor was mopped lightly to remove the ashes and

hte door was closed. When the outside of the oven became too hot to

comfortably touch, sometime later as I understood it, the oven was ready for

baking. At any rate the bricks do not ever become hot enough to explode.


Thrystan Wickliegh

From: Pat McGregor


From: priest at vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Bread Ovens When Camping

Date: 7 May 1996 11:27:55 GMT

Organization: Vassar College


Greeting from Thora Sharptooth!
Tabitha (parkerd at mcmail.cis.McMaster.CA) wrote:

> I'm the one who insisted that fire brick be used. Five years

>later I'm _still_ picking brick pieces out of my yard from when the

>tenants tried to line their firepit with building bricks. Since the

>pieces are up to 5-6 feet away from the fire pit site, (and in some cases

>buried 2-3") - I'm worried about what kind of explosive force could

>develop. (perhaps from wet regular bricks heating to steam? - I don't

>know why it would explode - merely that I've got empirical evidence that

>they did)
Last year we made a hemispherical, Viking-style unvented brick and mud oven

in our Pennsic camp. We considered using fire brick for the entire

production but, save for the floor of the oven, went with regular on the

recommendation of the brick merchant in town. We used the oven for a week

and a half, regularly, and didn't have any problem with exploding or broken

bricks--not even on the last day, when we had the thing fired to well over

700 degrees for several hours.

*************************************************************************

Carolyn Priest-Dorman Thora Sharptooth

priest at vassar.edu Frostahlid, Austrrik

Gules, three square weaver's tablets in bend Or

*************************************************************************

From: priest at vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Bread Ovens When Camping

Date: 10 May 1996 11:41:22 GMT

Organization: Vassar College
Greeting from Thora Sharptooth!
Tabitha (parkerd at mcmail.cis.McMaster.CA) asked:
>>Last year we made a hemispherical, Viking-style unvented brick and mud

oven


>>in our Pennsic camp. We considered using fire brick for the entire

>>production but, save for the floor of the oven, went with regular on the

>>recommendation of the brick merchant in town. We used the oven for a week

>>and a half, regularly, and didn't have any problem with exploding or

broken

>>bricks--not even on the last day, when we had the thing fired to well over

>>700 degrees for several hours.

>

>How many bricks?


About 50, plus the fire bricks.
>How long did it take to build?
Most of a day for 2.5 people, counting acquisitions. We kept all the

ingredients (except the mud), and it will probably take less than half a day

in future.
>Any difficuty getting permissions from the Coopers/Pennsic Building

>Inspection?


We closely consulted the fire safety advocate, Durr ish Jabal, and Dave

Cooper about several issues such as location, proper acquisition of mud, and

keeping the oven up above the ground (to keep the local root system from

possible ignition). They were both very cooperative and supportive--but

then again we have a history of paying close mind to fire and safety

regulations in our encampment.


>Are you planning on making one again this year?

>Will you rent space? :)


No, I'm planning to have our first child on or about August 1. Needless to

say, we will not be at Pennsic this year! ;> However, a lady from our shire

wants to set up the oven in the shire encampment (Frosted Hills), so we hope

the oven will make an appearance this year.

***************************************************************************

Carolyn Priest-Dorman Thora Sharptooth

priest at vassar.edu Frostahlid, Austrrik

Gules, three square weaver's tablets in bend Or

***************************************************************************



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