If all you want to know is how to build a bread oven, then you might find this book a bit too erudite, historical, playful, wordy, epicurean, and perhaps not discursive enough around the technical issues.
But if you don’t mind a meander around the aesthetics of bread and baking, then you’ll enjoy author Tom Jaine’s style. One of his other books is about bread making, and contains some highly praised recipes, – so it is a bonus that he gives a basic bread recipe in this book, which acts as an extra incentive to the reader to finally get up and make their own oven. It is the combination of recipe and oven instructions, that he says will give you bread that tastes like it used to.
There is a set of plans, but little discussion of how to adapt those plans to your individual situation. A reviewer on Amazon suggests: If you’re interested in building a wood-fired oven for baking, this is a good supplement to Alan Scott’s essential “The Bread Builders”. Provides very interesting historical background, amusing anecdotes and a set of plans which are aimed a bit more squarely at the amateur builder than Alan’s plans. I’m building an oven now using plans interpolated between the two. If you’re going to tackle a project like this, get a good book on masonry techniques too, or better yet, a video.
But be warned you need a fair amount of space for this oven — it would rather dwarf a small back yard.
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