David Neufeld builds authentic brick ovens much like those used for centuries all over the world. Custom designed to compliment both the entertaining environment and the cook's propensities, these ovens hold heat for up to three days on one firing with a small quantity of wood. Visit his website at: www.truebrickovens.com
I enjoy seeing the ovens I have built in the months and years after completion. Often the surrounding landscape or building incorporates the oven so as to make it appear ancient.
So it is with the Winchester oven. The owners are avid gardeners as well a cooks, so the oven has seen a lot of use.
This project began in the design stages. Originally sited off of one end of a deck, it evolved into an opportunity to get a "two-for-one".
The deck is at the 8' level, where the base of the oven needed to be. A structure was needed to get the base up to 8'. This became the room and the reason for the sauna.
To clear things up early, the sauna does not share a heat source or any infrastructure with the brick oven other than the walls that support the oven structure.
The following photos may help illustrate how this works:
In addition to the detailing of the stone, a slate roof finishes the exterior and the 'apron' pent-roof sheds rain away from the base of the oven.
The installation of the sauna apparatus is yet to come...by others.
All my brick ovens have a face arch. To create a sense of symmetry, I often match-book the stone. This is done by cutting the arch stone in half, front to back, and using the two halves in opposite locations on the arch.
A recent oven finished on the entire exterior with reclaimed cobblestones (likely about 150 years old), incorporated a match-booked stone face.
For the previous 13 years I have exhibited at the Northern New England Home, Garden and Flower Show at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds in Maine. www.homegardenflowershow.com/
For ten of those I have brought my portable brick oven for use by numerous chefs at the Meet the Chefs pavilion.
Working with regional chefs has been great fun. My part of those demonstrations was preparing the oven for the temperatures the chefs needed. Between their demonstrations and for the entire weekend, I cooked food in the oven and gave out samples of bread, pizza, broiled vegetables and more.
I will not be there this year. The work of building ovens has increased and I'm out on projects often now. I've built ovens in nine states, traveling as far as North Carolina and California.
My portable ovens are now in residence at Sheehan Gardens in Milton NH and at the NH Mushroom
Company where it is used each weekend through the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons.
I'd like to thank all the chefs who collaborated with me, the owners of Fiore Olive Oil, NH Mushroom Company, White Gates Farm, Cabot Creamery, and many more with whom I have a continuing friendship.
I'd also thank Karla Ficker for creating the show, facilitating the events and the staff for the years that I've been part of the growing show.
For those of you who live near Durham, NH, I will be speaking at the Seacoast Home and Garden Show on the UNH campus on April 2nd. This is an opportunity to see a visual presentation (highly informative), meet me, pick my brain, or just enjoy seeing the spectrum of possibilities that brick oven cooking offers.
Sonke Dornblut, a German baker for whom I built an oven last summer, will join me for commentary and bring hearth loaves for sampling.