OverviewIn late spring 2010, we were contracted to design and build our first mobile bake oven. The client wanted an oven that would serve well for both pizza and breads. The pizza part of the equation was less challenging, as the need for retained heat is diminished by the constant presence of fire during pizza baking, which would allow for a low-mass design. The request for a mobile oven which could serve as a high quality, small scale production bread oven was more challenging, as the design would need to balance the requirement for sufficient mass and also remain within practical weight limits for both trailer and towing vehicle. An oven was designed to fit the clients parameters and two were built in the summer of 2010. Both ovens were sold and are currently in use. The information below refers to both our original mobile oven design (as seen in the photos) as well as mobile ovens in general in terms of design and use.
UsesOur initial design efforts focused on creating a mobile oven that would serve well for both pizzas (flatbreads) and also artisan breads. This oven has sufficient mass for up to six bread “bakes” from a single firing. (Each “bake” meaning the entire 15 square foot hearth is covered with loaves). As such, this oven can suffice for a small-scale bread production oven anywhere it is used, whether at home or on the road. Ultimately, this set-up has incredible flexibility for professional use. The oven is suitable for catering, markets, festivals, fixed retail location use and even rental options. For example, a baker could bake 100+ loaves during the evening or early morning. The hot oven could then be towed to market, and fresh pizzas baked and sold while the loaves that had been baked earlier are also for sale. There are many individuals who are drawn to a career as an independent wood-fired baker. However, they are still developing their craft and as yet not ready to commit to the investment of a fixed bakery location. The high-duty mobile oven allows for diverse use and a reasonable income without having to invest the full start-up capital for a fixed location bakery. A baker is able to develop products, markets and clientele and thus progressively gear towards a fixed bakery location. If a bakery location is established, the mobile can either serve as the main oven (until production exceeds capacity) or the oven can be maintained as part of a wider business including catering, oven rental, farmers markets and festival use. The high-duty mobile can either stand alone as the main equipment upon which a business is based or serve as a “bridge” oven as one develops their craft on the way to a fixed production bakery business. This oven is more versatile, better built, and designed more around the ergonomics and needs of production bakers that other mobile ovens on the market. It also costs a couple thousand dollars less for models of similar hearth size and accessories.
DesignThe mobile oven is designed with the same principles as a small scale production quality wood fired bake oven. The bumpy rigors of on-road use are accounted for in the harness system and trailer suspension. Higher frequency vibrations are dampened using gaskets and membranes. The oven is built with 4-1/2” masonry mass in hearth, side walls, and vault. The core is heavily insulated and encased in a rugged steel framed and plated enclosure. The hearth of the oven is 3-1/2’ wide and 4-1/2’ deep, or just over 15 square feet of workable hearth space. All together, the oven weighs about 5000 pounds. In our estimation this is about the largest size oven to trailer around with practical means, and with the optimal balance of mass and hearth size. There are many designs and enclosure possibilities that can be created to suit different applications and preferences. Trailers can be customized to allow for wood storage, heated hot water tanks (via heat exchange coil in oven), tool and equipment lockers, fold out work tables and similar set-ups. Interested oven clients should consider carefully their personal style and intended use requirements so that an oven can be designed to meet anticipated needs.
Oven CoreHearth Insulation: 6” cellular glass
Hearth: 5” firebrick. Hearth surface 12” x 12” or 12” x 24” high duty firebrick tiles.
Side walls and Vault: medium duty firebrick straights and #1 arch brick, 4-1/2” thickness.
Insulation: ceramic wool, rock wool, foil faced ceramic wool, 5” combined.
Castings: high duty castable refractory cements.
Mortars: refractory mortar, adobe mortar.
Throat/Damper: steel construction.
Harness: steel construction.
Enclosure: steel angle and 1/8” steel plate with oxidized patina.
TrailersOur trailers are custom built of heavy duty steel to suit the requirements of the mobile oven. Rubber torsion suspensions are used to allow for the smoothest, bump free ride. Heavy duty axels support required weights. Electric lights and brakes are necessary safety features. Oven weight plus trailer weight approaches 7000 pounds, so the towing vehicle will need to have 7000 pounds towing capacity.
If you have any questions please contact me and I’ll be happy to chat with you.