Planning for a Community Oven

Questions that arise from organizations considering an oven are many and varied. Below is a list of steps to consider following as you progress further in your determination if a Community Oven might be a good addition for your organization.

  • Form a small committee to gather information and prepare a proposal for your organization
  • Make a copy of a couple of ovens from the photos on this website and visit your local zoning and building inspector to confirm that an oven of this type would be allowed on your property.
    • More detail on working with local municipalities is provided in the building center
  • If an oven can be built on your property then confirm with the local Fire Marshal that they do not have any issues with the oven. Key points to share with the Fire Marshal include:
    • The fire in the oven will be inside the cooking chamber
    • There will be an ash pit built into the base of the oven. At the entrance to the cooking chamber there will be an opening in the floor where the hot ashes will be pulled forward to and allowed to drop into the ash pit. The oven will have a clean out door
    • A lockable steel door can be installed if required – see photo in Building Center
  • Do you have volunteers available that have experience in laying concrete block and brick
  • Decide what size oven you should consider.
  • Determine estimated cost for your oven size selection
  • Meet with your organization to determine next step

Baking capacity of oven – Biggest question most organizations have

The most asked question we have received from groups considering a Community Oven is what size oven should be build. In this case the size being referenced is the size of the cooking chamber that dictates how many pizzas and how much bread can be accommodated.

Oven Considerations

  • What Design
    • Outside style
  • How Big
    • Clear understanding of use
  • Work area
    • Integrated work table
    • Surrounding area
  • Roof / Weather protection
  • Position on property
    • Wind protection
  • Wood storage
  • Community Oven
    • Oven Management
    • Volunteer coordinator
    • Publicity management
  • Safety

Oven Designs

Ovencrafters – Alan Scott

Oven sizes

  • 24” x 30”
  • 32” x 36”
  • 36” x 48
  • 42” x 48”
    • WBLUMC Church oven 14 sq ft cooking surface
  • 48” x 72”
  • 60” x 84”

Design benefits

  • Larger oven sizes – design details available
  • Easier to incorporate an overhanging roof
    • Adds to complexity of design and construction
  • Larger ash pit

Traditional Ovens – Rado Hand

Oven sizes

  • MTO
    • 34” x 40 ½” — 9.6 sq ft cooking surface
  • Swishy
    • 32” x 36”

Design benefits

  • Lower cost
  • Easier to build – less complicated oven
  • Oven is isolated from outside structure
    • Expansion and contraction from oven not linked to outsides – minimize cracking

Heats up faster – less wood required

Oven Styles

Real stone exterior
Materials cost range $10,000


New “old style” Brick
Materials cost range $4,500

community-brick-oven (1)

Old pavers – 100 years old
Material cost range $5,000

community-brick-oven (2)

Stucco exterior with brick accent
Material cost range $5,500

community-brick-oven (3)

Stucco exterior with mosaic artwork
Material Cost range $4,000

community-brick-oven (6)

Combination stucco & brick
Material cost range $7,000

community-brick-oven (4)