First steps on the stairway to oven

The biggest issue with baking in the kitchen is the oven. It’s a standard domestic electric oven, I’d guess about 25 years old. I used one of a similar size in Cardiff, although that was gas and I could use both the main oven and the top oven/grill – meaning I could bake six 600g loaves at a time. No such joy here at Brynhyfryd: having both ovens on at the same time trips the electricity. So I can only bake 4 loaves at once. Not a massive deal if I’m baking for the honesty box but a bit of a pinch-point if I’m thinking about selling in other places too.

Detail of an electric oven
My kitchen oven, Matisse. Henri Matisse’s father was a ‘prosperous grain merchant’, according to Wikipedia.

So I’m going to build a wood-fired oven in the tŷ bach at the bottom of the garden, a pop-tŷ bach if you will.

Door hanging off its hinges in the ty bach
Inside looking out

I’ve bought some books – The Bread Builders (Daniel Wing and Alan Scott), Building a wood-fired oven (Tom Jaine) and Guide de l’amateur de Pain (Lionel Poilâne). Reading them should give me enough information to draw up plans and get the necessary permissions from the Council.

Bedtime reading for the next few weeks

I’ve already measured it carefully and while I don’t know yet exactly how many 600g loaves I’ll be able to fit in one go, it should be at least 12 and maybe 24. The inside space is roughly 140cm square so allowing for brickwork and insulation, my guess is that there should still be about 100cm square of hearth to bake on.

The ty bach at Brynhyfryd, measured in centimetres. For reasons unknown to me, the walls are a foot thick.


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