[Sca-cooks] Manchet

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Tue Sep 25 20:42:38 PDT 2007

A heat mass oven is likely to run 700-800 degrees F at the end of the firing 
and might even be higher depending on the type of woods burned, the size and 
length of the firing and the mass and heat absorbtion of the oven walls. 
Once the heat source is removed there should be a rapid drop in temperature 
down to high oven temperature around 500-600 degrees F as the oven mass and 
oven chamber come into equilibrium.  After the initial drop, the sealed oven 
will slowly lose heat.  For a baker, the general order of baking is bread, 
covered dishes, then torts and sweets.

Since I don't think many of us have a lot of experience with wood fired 
ovens, I would recommend using an oven thermometer to get a feel for the 
temperature and the rate of heat loss from an oven.  One of the big 
advantages of a heat mass oven is the temperature is fairly uniform anywhere 
in the oven chamber, although you have to take care not to scorch the bottom 
of the bread because of its proximity to the hot oven floor.

Continuously fired ovens which use a seperate firebox, gas or electric to 
produce continous heat in the oven max out at around 500 degrees F unless 
specifically designed to create higher temperatures and get too cold for 
decent baking around 250 degrees.  They also tend to heat more unevenly.and 
develop cold spots in the oven chamber, which may or may not be a problem 
depending on how uneven the heating is.


>I have my grandmother's books from the late 19th and early 20th
> century, when they were just starting to use gas. They're translating
> the other way - giving temperatures for those who are perfectly used
> to judging by feel.
> A hot/quick oven was about 400 - anything from 375-425.
> Medium/moderate etc was about 350.
> Slow is about 325.
> Now, this, of course, is for home ovens attached to wood or coal
> stoves, not a professional brick bread oven. But it is what I was
> going by when I was doing the Small Cakes a few years ago, and baked
> them at 400, rather than the more SCA common 350, because the recipe
> called for a quick oven...
> AEllin
> On 9/11/07, Michael Gunter <countgunthar at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> Just for reference, does anyone have the data on a "hot" woodburning
>> oven, such as when the coals are first raked out and the roasts are put
>> in as compared to a "soft" or cooler oven? Is 400 about right? What
>> temp would constitute a "soft" oven?
>> Gunthar

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