The adventure begins, or why did I build a brick oven?

My brick pizza oven adventure.

Many people have asked me why I built a brick oven. Having always enjoyed cooking and experimenting, I guess I just wanted one. When my girlfriend (she's now my wife) and I found the house we hope to retire in we decided to add an outdoor kitchen and socializing area.

Surprisingly enough, when I decided to put a brick oven in the back yard as part of an outdoor kitchen I had never had a brick oven pizza. So it was not like I had tasted it and simply had to make my own oven. The thought of making more than just pizza also intrigued me, especially the idea of making artisan breads.

After researching for over a year, both on the web and books, it was time to begin construction. This oven is based on the designs in The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens.

The first item on the agenda was to check with the city building department to find out if there were restrictions or permits required. Since the oven does not have a gas line running to it and nobody is going to live in it I did not have to get a permit. Be sure to check with your local building authorities before beginning.

Second on the list was figuring out who was going to help me lay block and brick, since I am not a mason. Fortunately my friend Nels is a bricklayer, and had access to surplus brick and block. I still had to buy concrete, mortar, firebrick and fireclay.

The following pages will hopefully inspire and inform you. Follow the links to find your way through the building process and making pizzas.

Next, building the oven foundation