There is something ‘right’ about baking bread in a wood-fired oven.
It usually involves a brick or ceramic structure with good thermal mass, warmed in advance to give that ‘retained heat’ bake that produces a great crust and optimum moisture retention in the crumb (and thus keeping quality).
Wood is also, of course, a renewable energy source – though there is some doubt about whether burning it is really ‘zero carbon’, and it is certainly incumbent on wood fuel users to help plant more trees than they consume.
But whatever your motivation, there is no doubt that wood-fired ovens bake terrific bread and pizza. What’s more, many other things can be baked, roasted or slow-cooked in the heat that remains after the main bake.
We offer a range of brick ovens from Häussler in Germany. They come ready made or in kit form and are well-designed and solidly engineered. The special ‘chamotte’ fire-brick used has incredible heat-retaining properties. I have baked a sequence of bread, rolls and sweet buns over an eight-hour period – a total of more than 120 items – in my HABO 15 on a single firing. At the end, the oven temperature was still just over 200°C.
Unlike many ceramic ovens on the market, Häussler ovens are rectangular chambers not domes. This gives a much more even bake than is possible in small domed ovens with minimal side walls, especially when the oven is filled to capacity.
Choose from a ready-made oven that just needs a flue connection or a self-build kit that comes with full instructions and DVD.Well thought through and economical to run, Häussler ovens are a joy to use. There are sizes to fit every situation. The smallest, at just 60 cm, is no wider than a kitchen unit. The HABO 15, capable of baking 25 oven bottom loaves in one go, is suitable for the more ambitious home baker, community bakeries or small artisan operations.