|A colonial baker explains beehive oven baking|
With the round oven base in place, several rows of bricks were laid on top, forming a vertical wall about one foot high. Once the mortar of this wall hardened, sand was heaped inside the circle and shaped into a rounded mound. The height of the sand determined the interior height of the oven.
When the wood has burned into charred embers and ash, the interior heat of the beehive oven is about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The baker removes the chunks of wood and sweeps the oven floor clean of the ash. Because nothing was wasted, the hot embers and ash were often taken into the kitchen and banked inside the cooking fireplace to keep a pot of food warm. The embers and ash could also be cooled and saved to be made into lye soap.
|Hand-shaped dinner rolls placed on a floured pan|
After inserting pans and trays of baked goods into the oven, the baker had to watch the progress of the baking through the oven's small opening and remove items when finished. Although this baker used pans, some bakers set the food directly on the hot brick oven floor.
I hope you enjoyed learning about beehive ovens. My husband will be happy to learn that I will never again complain about the eight minutes it takes my electric oven to preheat. What about you?
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