bakery oven,farnham pottery
Bakery oven

Bakery oven – the possibilities are endless with Four Grand-Mere

Above you can see a bakery oven we built at Farnham Pottery in Surrey, artfully shot in sepia tone to make it look timeless. The installation is on our project page tab here and shows a brick clad Four Grand-Mere F1500 brick oven designed to look like one of the original brick bottle kilns that have survived on site. It is small by bakery oven standards, only 1500Lx950W but as a community enterprise, our brief was people should find it easy to use and not hard to fill on a single bake.

Bakery ovens were traditionally of fixed hearth design, where a fire would be set on the hearth and kept going until the mass of the oven was charged with heat. Once swept and cleaned of all embers, the baker could then load the proofing loaves into the oven when happy that the heat was stable enough to bake.

bakery oven, wood-fired oven, bread oven,
Firing a fixed hearth oven at the Weald and Downland living museum

The problem with this style of baking is that the baking loaves would draw heat from the mass of the oven and leave the baker no option but to eventually fire up the oven again, effectively stopping the bakers output.

The solution was found with the advent of the ‘Gueulard’ oven, a clever innovation where the heat was generated from burning wood in a separate firebox, usually under the hearth but occasionally to the side and the hot flames would enter the oven via a cast iron tube called a gueulard . This enabled the baker to keep the temperature up without stopping baking so increasing the output if there was the demand. Here is a quick video of a gueulard in operation…..

The limitations of this method are small but if the bakers demand is high, as in wholesale baking, then the next logical step is to have a rotating hearth so that loaves can be loaded and unloaded continuously as each baking period ends- load new loaves in as baked loaves come out.

As distributors for Four Grand-Mere, we have access to the complete range of bakery ovens with both fixed and rotating hearths. We even do pizza ovens with individual rotating plates so all the baker has to do is load and unload, while the oven does the rest by rotating the pizzas around automatically. See this video…..

Many of the new pizzerias that have opened up in the last 10 years have focussed solely on authenticity, trying to make the oven look as ‘Neapolitan’ as possible, perhaps forgetting that output is quite limited when running an oven at 450-500C as most pizzaiolos can only cook one pizza at a time at that temperature. The great advantage of rotating hearths is that you can get away with a much smaller oven like our FPRO-R, at only 850mm diameter, and still cook 4-5 pizzas at a time as the rotating oven does the job of the chef, moving the pizza around toward and away from the fire.

four grand mere, rotating hearth, FPro-R, pizza oven
F PRO-R rotating hearth oven

With the bakery oven, output can be almost continuous plus the hearth only needs a gentle sweep occasionally to get rid of burnt flour, see the video below of the lateral fire box rotating hearth oven-

You can see how efficient this way of baking is, being able to load and unload at the same time may mean the difference between making a bakery pay its way and just getting by. Yes the initial investment is high once the oven is installed and faced with durable masonry but the output is extremely high compared with fixed hearth ovens.

We can now arrange finance options for Limited Companies so the high initial cost can be spread over several years, please ask for a quotation when making your enquiry.