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Designing an Oval Oven

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  • Designing an Oval Oven

    HEy folks, I've been asked to design and build an oven for a restaurant.. It will be primarily breads during the morning then heated up for pizza in afternoon/evenings. I've built a circular pompei style for their same restaurant and it works perfectly for pizzas.. This new oven needs to be double the size and with space limitations it needs to be a wide and shallow oven... I am planning an inner width of 8ft and a depth of 4 ft. This will basically be two domes with a barrel vault linking them. The door will be centered on the front section of the vault. I understand convection will work more perfectly with a perfect circle and I've come across negative comments on oval ovens etc... However, many commercial ovens seem to be rectangular or square, and many bread ovens are a long vault shape.. I guess I am just throwing this out there to see if anyone has anything to suggest, good or bad on a design like this. In my mind building a fire in the center, then shifting it to one or both sides of the oval dome should give good results... Thanks for any advice.

  • #2
    Re: Designing an Oval Oven

    From your description, it appears you are planning to install an entry into the side of a barrel vault with circular, pompeii-like ends. There is an oven kit that provides a cast entryway/vent into the side of a bricked barrel vault with conventional vertical end walls that looks like it could be mortared together in a weekend.

    You don't see this oven very much, but the one review I read from the builder reported the oven wouldn't breathe and was a disaster. I'm guessing this is why virtually all of the barrel vaults are deeper than they are wide.


    • #3
      Re: Designing an Oval Oven

      One of the reasons that bread ovens are most often rectangular, deep, is to facilitate the loading and unloading of bread while limiting the loss of heat out the door. Low ceiling heights concentrate the steam at the loaves and provide close direct heat baking to the top of the loaves. This concentration of steam gelatinizes the dough and creates the highly coveted lacquer like crust of breads like the well-known Tartine style loaves. The availability to provide steam delivered directly into the oven when its needed is a huge plus and it adds the flexibility to get those crusts with less than full loads.

      The depth of the oven will dictate the peel length and so space required, the space in the front of the oven needed. Remember the peel's required length and in a busy kitchen this can be problematic.

      As for an oval oven, I don't know. Bread ovens can be very old and even baking so structurally speaking I don't see a great advantage. Since Bread ovens are using passive stored heat a hot spot created during heating is, can be, dealt with by both allowing the time to even out and prior to this by changing how and where the fire is burned in the oven for how long.. Just getting to know the oven.

      Last edited by SCChris; 02-09-2015, 10:04 AM.