Bread has a symbolic and sacred value in our Western civilizations and its history goes back to the very dawn of humanity. It's also the symbol of a healthy diet.
The Egyptians were responsible for creating the first bread oven, while the Romans were responsible for disseminating them widely.
In the Middle Ages, the bread oven was a way for lords and bishops to collect taxes (as were mills and presses): simple ovens were to be found all over the country.
They belonged to the lord and people had to pay to use them, otherwise they were fined.
The oven man was in charge of using the bread oven. On baking days, the villagers took turns to bring their bread for baking, along with any other dishes that couldn't be cooked in the fireplace at home (meat pies, terrines, etc.). In the villages, the oven man had the monopoly over baking bread and pies in the wood-fired oven; he was the baker and the pastry cook. Privileges were abolished during the French Revolution and this monopoly disappeared. But the simple ovens became communal and were still used. Smaller bread ovens were also built in people's homes for family use.
These bread ovens were used regularly up to the 1914-1918 war, but were then gradually abandoned as more and more bakeries opened and means of transport improved…
These bread ovens can still be found in the countryside today and are reminders of the predominant role they played in former times. Some villages are keen to restore their bread ovens and give them a second life; associations organize old-style baking days, while some bakers are going back to their roots and re-using the old bread ovens for the pleasure of all the inhabitants.
Smaller bread ovens are now available for everyone's pleasure.
When the company was first founded over a century ago, it made heat-resistant bricks for the old-style baking ovens.
Over the years, as a result of its expertise and regular Research and Development work, the company designed a simpler, quicker system for assembling wood-fired ovens, based on the idea of heat-resistant terracotta arched elements (quarters of an orange) or mortise-and-tenon joints, held together mechanically by a keystone.
The balance of mass, volume and shape was maintained to preserve the performance of the traditional bread ovens and to offer bakery professionals and amateurs an efficient baking tool.
The bread is baked by convection, using the heat accumulated in the mass of the bread oven :
Once the bread oven has been heated with wood, the embers should be removed and the temperature lowered. When the oven is at the required temperature, the dough is placed on the hearth (that has previously been cleaned of ash using a brush or scraper) as quickly as possible so as not to lose too much heat.
Start with the large loaves on the side as they take longest to bake and finish with the smaller loaves then close the oven door..
You can bake several batches, one after the other, with a single heating.
Place a bowl of water in the bread oven. It will add moisture and help the bread to develop and take on its golden colour. For professional bakers we offer integrated moisture appliances.