The Community Oven was built in the Spring of 2009 by Evan Thaler-Null and Felix Lufkin. It is a wood-fired baking oven that is open to Hampshire community members with the appropriate permit. The oven was constructed out of natural and scavenged materials including: clay dug from the Connecticut River, sawdust from the mill on Route 9, crushed stone from the quarry on Mount Norwottuck, manure from Bay Road, and lots of found parts, pieces, and buried treasures from the nooks and crannies of Hampshire campus. The oven dome is made out of a natural building material called Cob (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cob_(material)).
HOW TO USE THE OVEN
- Make lots of dough/roasts/treats and invite friends!
- Light a small fire in the BAKE CHAMBER at least two hours prior to baking
- IMPORTANT, do NOT make a fire in the wood storage chamber below the brick hearth!!!! That space is not designed to take heat and is only meant for keeping wood close by and out of the rain.
- Keep in mind: It is the duration, not the intensity of the fire that will determine how hot the oven is. A medium sized fire for 3 hours will be much hotter than a big fire for an hour and a half, its like your charging the battery of the oven.
- Allow coals to build up evenly across the brick hearth. Coals and fire should be in the middle of the oven, not the rear. Imagine keeping the fire in the same place where you'll be baking. (If your fire/coals are too far too one side that side will be much hotter.)
- Let fire die down to coals at least 10min before baking, you can choose to keep coals in the rear of the oven if you want a really hot bake (pizzas, flatbreads, roasts), or take the coals out for a more even heat distribution (bread loaves, pies/pastries).
- Blow ash away from hearth, or wipe hot bricks with a wet cloth (cotton or natural fiber only).
- Load your pizzas, breads, cookies, vegetables, etc... into the oven and enjoy. The rest is trial and reward!
Try having an epic feast like Michael Pollan does in this article...
Enjoy the thrill of wood-fired baking!