Building a wood-fired oven is totally exciting; it does however have some pretty slow times. Like waiting for concrete in the newly poured foundation slab to cure. We have 14 days to wait. Meanwhile, we will order materials for the next couple steps in the process and brush up on construction details.
Green Truck Bakery has three primary workers; we were all there manning wheel barrels, shovels and rakes while pouring the foundation slab. In this case three people was not a crowd. We needed more help. Dave Denfeld walked by on his way to lunch, noticed the obvious and stepped in to ask if he could help. The old saying “many hands make little work” proved to be true. Thanks Dave, you really helped our foundation slab happen! Greg Born lent us his wheel barrel, every little bit helps; thanks neighbor.
The next oven construction steps are building up the foundation with cement blocks, putting another wooden form on top of the blocks and pouring a second concrete slab upon which the oven vault will be built. This is quite a project, our engineer Joe Keane estimated the finished oven will weigh 34,000 pounds. To put it another way, that’s 17 tons!
Why 17 tons? Green Truck Bakery’s super insulated wood-fired oven is a retained heat oven. We heat the oven’s large thermal mass to a high temperature with a daylong wood fire. After the fire burns itself out, the thermal mass (think tons) holds the oven’s heat for most of the next week. We track the temperature as it slowly cools over the next 5 days. This record is called a “cooling curve”, which over time becomes a fairly predictable pattern and allows us to plan our baking schedule for the week.
Did you know 17 tons equals a lot of work, fun and years of really great bread?