Why hand-built brick oven?
Hand-built ovens are true brick ovens: the complete structure is built using small refractory units (firebricks). Using small units in construction offers life expectancy and durability unmatched with any pre-cast units that use large pieces. Small units take heat expansion and contraction much better since they can accommodate slight thermal expansion movements without creating cracks that are structurally dangerous as can be the case with large pre-cast pieces in manufactured oven cores.
Artisan oven builders offer flexibility of design and highly personalized service that cannot be matched by large manufacturers. Each oven is tailored according to the unique situation and built in close cooperation with the owner or chef – this is something that cannot be found with large manufacturers unless you represent a large chain that promises great profit for the oven manufacturer.
Contrary to the common belief, installed cost of a hand –built brick oven can be lower than cost of a manufactured pre-cast oven core considering cost of shipping and installation. It is especially true for the commercial pizza and bread ovens where difference can be substantial.
Finally, baking or cooking in a brick oven is an art. It seems only natural for an artisan baker to have an oven built with love and great care by another fellow artisan – a master oven builder, instead of buying an impersonal mass-product. As true craftsmanship is true to its roots and purpose, it seems very appropriate when the great art of baking that uses the very basic ingredients of stone-milled grain, spring water and bacterial culture, relies on another art: building ovens from the basic ingredient of masonry: bricks.