DIY: a 7-step guide to building a brick oven

Aqeelah Bawa-Osman Aqeelah Bawa-Osman
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Woodworking, brick work, putting together your own bits and pieces in the garden… it all sounds pretty complicated, but perhaps it's easier than you thought!

A brick oven? Outside? Well that sounds like an amazing idea! In this edition of homify, we will look at some creative ideas to making that outdoor dream brick oven idea come true! It's a healthy and versatile cooking experience that will satisfy the whole family!

Just think, it is now easy to host your own delicious barbecue with family and friends whenever the mood strikes! And it's not just about honing your culinary skills with meat… a barbecue can include anything from vegetables to fish or how about making your very own bread? The high temperature generated by a brick oven allows for a variety of dishes to be created. There is nothing better than a wood fired pizza, simply delectable!

With these six simple steps, a brick oven in your garden will be a reality!

Where can a brick oven be built?

 Garden  by Barbecue
Barbecue

Барбекю Добрая

Barbecue

Deciding on where the brick oven should be built in your garden is one of the most important steps before the actual building begins. Consider the following issues before beginning with the construction.

Do not build the oven too close to the house, this will prevent smoke, fumes or in rare cases even fire from damaging the property, the same goes for the walls along the property line as neighbours might be affected. It is imperative to consider the working area around the oven, including sufficient space for food that has already been prepared and is yet to be cooked.

Ensure that the area surrounding the fireplace is free of trees and shrubs and that there isn't a tree towering over the chimney area either, as this will limit air flow. Analyse the ground where you are considering the oven construction, is there an aquifer directly beneath? Is it solid ground with no sand or slopes? The flooring for the brick oven begins with solid ground, your oven should last decades without any problems.

Step 1: The foundation

 Garden  by Barbecue
Barbecue

Барбекю Элит

Barbecue

Building a great brick oven requires a few important pieces, the foundation, the stones, an arch design, insulation techniques and weather proofing materials. The foundation is situated beneath the bottom plate of the baking chamber, it should be extremely solid and stable as it must be able to bear a heavy load.

It is therefore necessary to create a solid base, which can be done by excavating about 20 to 30cm of topsoil to create the form, this must then be levelled out and checked through the use of a spirit level. Concrete is then mixed and poured into the form, the concrete layer must be about 10cm thick, thereafter a reinforcement is placed on top of the concrete and a final concrete layer is poured into the form. Concrete needs to cure for about 2 weeks in order to dry completely.

Step 2: Laying the bricks

 Garden  by Slabon  Forja Creativa
Slabon  Forja Creativa

Barbacoa y pérgola—Slbon Forja Creativa

Slabon Forja Creativa

The next step in building your amazing stone oven is to add the bricks. This is done by using either natural stones or stones made from cement, either way it is important to lay the foundation of the walls first, by placing the stones edge to edge on the bottom plate. Thereafter, use a stone adhesive to glue the stones together onto the bottom plate. This process is tedious, so allocate time for drying between the layers of stones.

Step 3: Creating the arch

 Garden  by FABRILOR IBERICA
FABRILOR IBERICA

FABRILOR BARBACOA CON HORNO DE BARRO Y FREGADERO

FABRILOR IBERICA

Once the base is set and has had time to harden, the next step is to create the arch which serves as an entrance to the oven. A template is used to create the arch shape, but for a more practical and less time-consuming stone oven, the square shape is also an option, as seen in the image. The stone oven still looks fantastic regardless of the shape and the taste will likely not differ as a result of the oven shape.

Step 4: Baking surface and insulation

 Garden  by The Braai Man
The Braai Man

Clad your Braai in Stone

The Braai Man

After the concrete ceiling has been added and has had time to set, ensuring that the back surface adheres to the concrete slab is next on the agenda. Then check that all the stones are properly set and that the surface is smooth without any jagged edges… this may affect the baking process at a later stage.

It is also important to use quality materials that are heat resistant, in order to create proper insulation which will prevent the oven from cooling down too quickly.

Step 5: The baking chamber

 Garden  by Toen=Hier
Toen=Hier

Buitenoven Deluxe

Toen=Hier

After the concrete has cured, the construction of the baking chamber can begin. This can be either square or a dome shaped, it is your personal preference. Templates are available to ensure that the shape is perfect, but you might want to call in some professionals to complete the task. It is after all the trickiest part and the insulation as well as heat resistance should be perfect. This great oven was designed by the team at Toen=Hier in the Netherlands, how awesome is this idea?

Step 6: Enjoy pizza, breads and cakes

The final step before you can use your brick oven is to add a chimney, this will ensure that exhaust air is channeled upward and out of the oven. This may be simple and can be done by including a stovepipe to extract the smoke.

While there are more intricate details that should not be forgotten, such as the insulation of the roof to keep the hot air inside and the application of rain resistant plaster to keep the oven in great condition regardless of the season! If an indoor barbecue is what you are looking for, then this Ideabook is just for you: How to design the perfect indoor braai area

Do you have an outdoor stone oven? Do you want one? What do you use it for, or what would you use it for? 
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