Ryans Bakery, Westport, bakers loading a brick oven with a batch of bread

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Ryans Bakery, Westport, bakers loading a brick oven with a batch of bread.

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Ryans Bakery, Westport, bakers loading a brick oven with a batch of bread, note man with long handled wooden peel which was the tool used to place or remove the tinned 4lb loaves to or from the oven floor, this type of oven was fired with wood and coal, there was no pyrometer to tell the baker when his oven was at the correct heat, he relied on his experience of many years, usually the interior oven bricks, floor, sides and ceiling became black with soot and as it was continually fired that soot covering burnt right off over a certain area, this told him his oven was hot enough note also the scuffle bucket of water between the two men, this was used to clean the dust, ash and soot off the floor of the oven after the fire was drawn, half of an empty 200 lb flour sack was soaked in the bucket of water, secured to a long peel handle and continuously swung all over the hot floor bricks, it was very effective, in our family bakehouse we used two of this type of brick ovens, they baked bread during the night (120 loaves at each load and baked in 45 minutes), after all bread was baked the ovens were re-fired and then used all day to bake cakes, our bakehouse operated from 1880 for 100 years, supplying bread and smallgoods for the Buller District

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Ryans Bakery, Westport, bakers loading a brick oven with a batch of bread by Trich Devescovi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License