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Our original inspiration for temporary ovens was the work of Bread and Puppet Theatre, who have been doing what they call "cheap art" in New York, Vermont, and many other countries since the 1960's. Their performances always involve puppets and bread, and when they are not at their farm with their own ovens, they build ovens with whatever materials come to hand.
-- the baking day set-up by baker-artist Wendy Trussler at Healey Willan Park in 2002
In 2007, as part of the "Show on the Road" grant, CELOS helped run pizza events in other neighbourhoods using a temporary bake oven. The links below connect to each of these events.
Those ovens were basically a box made of bricks piled on top of each other, with one side left open. Once all the materials are taken to a site, it takes about an hour to assemble the oven. The design was meant to create the simplest oven possible, so that people could enjoy the experience of baking on a brick hearth in their neighbourhood without (or before) going through the much more involved process of building a permanent oven.
The bricks for this oven came from an industrial site that had a lot of foundry bricks left over. Everything has been re-purposed in a most ingenious way. The pizzas baked up in minutes and were every bit as good as those we bake in Dufferin Grove Park's] permanent oven. read more
The City of Toronto put in a new oven at Christie Pits last spring. It was purchased from France, and by the time it was installed it had cost the city $161,000 -- way higher than anything built before. By October 2016 it had only been used 5-6 times, so the cost to the city per pizza was pretty high :-)
To counter the idea that outdoor ovens are complicated and expensive, our group (CELOS) held an outdoor winter cooking lab for which we built an unmortared oven in between snowstorms in December, using found materials (mostly stacked bricks). In addition to what we were able to scrounge, we paid $17 for a piece of cement board for the hearth base and $89 for a ceramic fibre insulating blanket. On January 4, three ex-Dufferin Grove bakers used it to make pizza, sourdough bread, scones, pita bread, roasted vegetables, and ghee, all from the same firing. The quality, as far as we can see, is very good. read more