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North House Folk School
North House Folk School

Ovencrafting: Building and Baking in the Oversize Oven

Hearth loaves, wood-fired cooking, traditional baking - all potential uses for the wood-fired masonry oven pioneered and made popular by Alan Scott. This workshop will explore the history of masonry ovens, oven construction, mixing dough and brick oven baking. Over the five days of the course we will, as a class, build a 48" x 60" oven starting with hearth construction, followed by the oven walls, arches, door and facade in succession. Construction will end with the facade arch and chimney, as time permits. Our project will become the hearth of North House, baking countless loaves of bread and copious quantities of pizza. The building of the foundation, block walls and the finishing of the oven facade, its insulation and housing will be explained in detail. Interspersed with oven building we'll be mixing dough and baking bread! The focus of this portion of the class will be naturally leavened (sourdough), whole grain breads such as whole wheat, rye, spelt and kamut. By class end you'll have natural leavened and baked bread to take home, plus all the knowledge needed to build your own oven and bake in it. In the course, we'll also make white-flour based sourdough loaves and yeasted bread and host a pizza night for the North House community at large, all the while learning about starting your own natural leaven from scratch, preparing leavens for baking, learning about the baker's percentage, creating your own recipes, and of course how to fire and bake in North House's brick oven.


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Course Details

Length in days:


$475.00 per student (Regular rate)


Beginner to Advanced

Making it happen:
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You will need the following tools for this class:

  2. safety glasses
  3. dust mask
  4. ear plugs
  5. leather gloves
  6. rubber gloves
  7. Book - "The Bread Builders" by Daniel Wing and Alan Scott (Chelsea Green Publishing Company)
  8. work clothes and shoes or boots
  9. rain gear
  10. bug spray
  12. BAKING SUPPLIES:(see next page)
  13. measuring cup (4 cup), measuring spoons
  14. 2 small mixing bowls, 3 large mixing bowls (4qt or more)
  15. cloths or plastic (saran wrap) to cover with
  16. spatula or bowl scraper
  17. bench/dough knife
  18. Proofing baskets: either four 8-9" diameter baskets, OR two 8"-9" and two 10"-12," depending on what size loaves you prefer
Once registered, students will receive a confirmation packet in the mail that may offer additional optional tool recommendations and suggested reading.
Kent Jones

Kent has a passionate and professional interest in the ecology and history of northern Minnesota. He loves to explore the often-overlooked areas. Before moving to the North Shore, he worked for 20 years as an interpretive naturalist near the Twin Cities. This led him to research and experiment with elements of sustainable living. He now lives in his self-built timber frame, cordwood masonry, solar-powered home in the woods near Grand Marais.

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Derek Lucchese Derek Lucchese

Derek is an understudy and long-time friend of the famed bread oven builder Alan Scott. In fact, Derek’s first run-in with Alan happened during one of the first bread oven building workshops that North House ever hosted. Since then, Derek has gone on to build a wood-fired bakery of his own on a homestead just outside Thunder Bay, Canada. Derek runs a portable wood-fired pizza business and builds brick ovens in addition to baking weekly for the Thunder Bay Country Market.

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