New Community Oven in New Jersey

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HANDS stands for Housing and Neighborhood Development Services. They work out of Orange, New Jersey to try and reclaim dilapidated houses and other “eyesore properties,” and return them to the neighborhood as affordable homes and community assets. They also work with individual people and neighborhoods, and are creating an Arts District in a former industrial area called the Valley…. “It started as a dream idea of our Executive Director, Pat Morrissy: ‘Let’s build a community outdoor, wood fired oven where people can bring bread and pizza dough to bake together outside!’ The idea caught on and the Earth Oven was begun.”

Adjusting mass for optimal performance

Here’s a valuable perspective on the benefits of smaller, easier, cheaper, “faster-cooling” ovens, and a working baker’s comparison w/the classic Alan Scott brick oven design (which isn’t always the best option for someone who wants to start small and simple).

The baker is Noah Elbers, who runs a small bakery in New Hampshire. There are some nice photos of him and his oven(s) on the web, but he’s clearly spending his time in the bakery rather than on the computer — hurrah! He does participate in the brickoven group on yahoogroups, which is where this comment came from.

It is worth noting that Noah fired his 4-5 inch thick cob oven for 5-6 hours every day and used it to run a business. For home-bakers who only use their ovens weekly or less, I’m now recommending just 3″ of thermal mass, and as much insulation as you can manage.

Guest Article: An Earthen Oven Odyssey by Joe Kennedy

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Joe Kennedy, long-time natural builder, tells fascinating stories of the ovens he has built and the lessons he has learned from them. Joe addresses many useful design ideas that he has drawn from his experience. He also shares his drawings of a current oven he is buiding that synthesizes his experiences into a very efficient and useful oven.

Terra Preta and “the Biochar Solution”

The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change, by Albert BatesA review by Kiko Denzer Living trees lock up carbon, and burning releases it. That’s the conflict-ridden equation of global warming. Albert Bates has been at the front lines of the warming conflict since his 1990 title, Climate in Crisis. …

Tribal Genealogical Patterns: A Universal Language?

[download this pattern as an envelope design here] ’the folk has thus preserved, without understanding, the remains of old traditions that go back sometimes to the indeterminably distant past, to which we can only refer as “prehistoric”…’ Had the folk beliefs not indeed once been understood, we could not now …

Alan Scott, Brick Ovens, A Marriage

Alan Scott’s Ovencrafters provides DIY masonry oven plans and hardware (doors and pyrometers) for bakers wanting to start their own small business, or just to bake large amounts of bread and other food for family and friends. It was set up on Gandhian principles of “Policy with principles, commerce with morality, wealth through work, and science with humanity.” Many ovens and many small bakeries now feed good bread to their communities as a direct result, and the book Alan inspired and co-wrote, The Bread Builders, has become a bible for a growing circle of builder/bakers.