the upside down fire

how to build an upsidedown fire

You can greatly improve how your oven performs by how you lay and manage the fire. Here’s how and why I build what Pat Manley calls “an upside down fire.” The first principle of fire requires applying to heat to fuel. When the fuel gets hot enough, it bursts into flame. But if you pile many pounds of wood on top of your kindling, it will take a long time before all your fuel can really start burning. Meanwhile, you’ll get a lot of smoke in your (and possibly your neighbors’) eyes, and you’ll lose a lot of fuel (all that smoke counts as unburnt fuel). So turn your fire upside down! It will start small, but a small fire can heat up quickly. As it does, it will drop down deeper to ignite more fuel in your stack. The stack itself should be

ovens and efficiency

Dear Oven builders, mud teachers, bakers, and eaters: I would like to talk to you about some of the claims being published about the efficiency of earthen ovens. I think we need to be clear that any masonry oven, whether it’s made of unfired earth or fired brick, is not, …

Noah Elbers on earth vs brick ovens

Noah is a working baker, builder, and farmer who has built and used earthen ovens, a classic Alan Scott oven, and now a very fancy Spanish Llopis oven. Here he provides very clear and detailed data on the differences in fuel consumption and food production between earth and (massive) brick. In short, he explains exactly why an Alan Scott oven may not be the best option for a home- or small-scale baker.