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Certified Heater Mason
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Tel. (519) 938-9166
Cell (416) 708-8139

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45”x63” High-Mass Commercial Bread Oven.

This oven was built for Shasha Shaun Navazesh, a well-known artisan baker, owner of the very successful artisan organic bakery Shasha Bread Co, President and Chairman of ABQA (Artisan Bakers Quality Alliance). The oven was built in the backyard of his own home in one of the neighborhoods of Toronto. Shasha will be using the oven for baking experiments and to bake for community on weekends. The oven has 9” thickness of the vault, walls and hearth to facilitate very even heat distribution and high baking capacity from single firing. Height of the baking volume is 14 ¼”. Hearth is insulated with Foamglass structural insulation; vault and walls area heavily insulated with multiple layers of mineral wool with aluminum foil in between. Mass in the hearth is created with multiple layers of firebrick with lower layers laid dry and the upper layer laid in clay mortar with ceramic wool gaskets all around to allow for free expansion of the hearth during thermal cycling. Clay mortar used in the upper layer allows easy removal of the hearth bricks should replacement be necessary at any time in the future. The oven is finished with Blend 760 clay molded brick by Belden Brick, and mix of sandstone and limestone in accents to match finish of the main house. The roof is done in brick as well. The round opening in the face is for the industrial oven thermometer that will be installed later. Finish features a hand-made Mayan clay tile inset above the oven opening. The oven was designed and built to achieve ultimate baking performance maintaining even heat and keeping steam inside the baking chamber. A couple of its features and design decisions are worth noticing:
  • The oven’s chimney connection is located outside of the baking chamber. The chamber has a simple tight plug door. Having throat and chimney connection within the baking chamber results in creation of undesired currents inside. This could potentially create lower temperature area and help steam to escape the baking chamber into the volume of the chimney connection.
  • There is no smoke channel/chamber on top of the vault. Although having a channel on top may increase efficiency of the oven to some extent, any channel above the oven will have volume sufficient to maintain convection currents inside. Since temperature of such channel is much lower than temperature of the oven after the fire is gone, faster heat loss area would tend to be concentrated along the channel. From this point of view, it is better to have oven completely insulated all around.
  • The vault has two layers of firebrick. The layers have staggered joints at conjunction with the front and the rear walls where the lower level has a ceramic wool gasket at the joint. Since expansion of the vault results in increase in its length, it rises up with expansion and settles down with contraction moving along the front and back walls. Ceramic gasket with staggered joints facilitates tight fit through expansion-contraction cycles of the vault.
Alex Chernov
December 2009