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Media 2008

Public Bake Ovens In The Media

posted on October 19, 2008

The Star: Heating with wood can be green

Expert Advice
Heating with wood can be green

By: Steve Maxwell
Published: Jan. 5, 2008
Source: The Star
PDF: Heating wood can be green

Firewood is the best of all heating fuels and firewood is the worst of all heating fuels. The reality depends on how the wood is burned and what your expectations are.

I know because I've spent the past 20 years heating with environmentally harvested wood in one form or another while researching developments in the field.

As high fossil fuel prices remain with us, I suspect that homeowners everywhere are looking seriously at the economy of wood heat, many for the first time. This might become a green trend in our country or it might not. The outcome depends on how firewood is harvested, how it's handled and, especially, how it's burned.

When fossil fuel prices first skyrocketed in the 1970s, wood heating gained a reputation for causing serious air pollution. As people began to burn sizable amounts of wood in dirty, smoke-choked stoves, complaints arose, opinions formed and restrictive legislation was passed.

posted on September 29, 2008

The Star: City's not fired up about ovens in parks

Environmental and health concerns must be considered, says official

By: Alan Christie
Published: Sep 25, 2008
Source: The Star

More bake ovens in Toronto parks is an idea that just smells right.

But it's easier said than done, apparently.

Every Tuesday, Violetta Cardella, a volunteer baker, gets up early so she can help bake bread in two ovens at Dufferin Grove Park. The bread is brought to the Stonegate farmers' market on Park Lawn Rd. Most of the loaves, with no additives and baked with organic grains, sell for $4. The sesame bread is $5.

Cardella not only bakes the bread, she helps sell it. The market is only open one day, Tuesdays, from 4 until 7 p.m. in the tiny parking lot of St. James Anglican Church.

Julia Graham, a community health worker at the Stonegate Community Health Centre, hopes the market can be moved to a larger area in Bell Manor park, about 10 minutes away complete with a bake oven. She says the Stonegate community is waiting for the City of Toronto to establish a policy on ovens in parks before applying for one.

But Peter Leiss, a supervisor and acting manager in the city's parks and recreation department, says city council has no policy on allowing bread ovens in parks, with the strong suggestion not to expect one.

Approvals are made "on a case-by-case basis," Leiss said in a telephone interview.

posted on October 04, 2008

Local baker shaping a bread tradition

By: Marlene Parrish
Published: October 02, 2008
Source: Post-Gazette

In 1998, Ray Werner, left, pulls bread from the oven that
Mike Schafer, right, built for him.

Baking bread in a brick oven awakens your past. It takes you back to who you are.

-- Lionel Poilane

Pittsburgh's love affair with bread took off in 1979 when Tom McMahon founded Breadworks on the North Side. The bakery pioneered the first truly artisanal bread in our community with its European-style breads. Mr. McMahon then went on to found the Bread Bakers Guild of America. More recently, local baker Nick Ambeliotis of Mediterra Bakehouse has continued the tradition of making artisanal bread.

It is Ray Werner's passion that may soon take our city's bread-baking traditions to the next level as he pushes to build more community ovens here. The well-known Pittsburgher is a legend in the advertising business and a founding member of the traditional Irish music group Hooley. He says, "The community spirit of baking bread, of sharing bread, has become important to me"

Baking bread

Mr. Werner's life journey began inside an oven. He was born at home on a chilly September night in 1938. The midwife told his dad to light the oven in the old gas stove in the kitchen and leave the door open. A few minutes later she bundled up the baby, took him downstairs, turned off the oven and laid him in it, door open, head facing out, to take off the chill. In a way, Mr. Werner has never left that oven.

posted on October 04, 2008

Fired Up: A community oven rises in Braddock

Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette photos
Josh Tonies, a painter and
artisan baker in Braddock, prepares dough
for baking in Braddock's new community
bread oven during a test run last week.
The oven is on a former vacant lot on
Braddock Avenue. Garlic, spinach and
olive pizza.

By: Marlene Parrish
Published: October 02, 2008
Source: Post-Gazette

The first community oven in the Pittsburgh area is on a parking lot directly across the street from U.S. Steel's Edgar Thomson plant, the only working blast furnace remaining from Pittsburgh's steel-making days.

The oven is one more piece in the puzzle that is the re-purposing of Braddock as an artist's destination and once-again-vibrant community.

"The steel furnaces built Braddock," says Mayor John Fetterman. "It might take another kind of furnace, an oven, to help rebuild it."

Last December, Ray Werner, bread baker, community activist and godfather of the oven project, explained to Mr. Fetterman why a wood-fired community baking oven -- one that the public shares -- would be a good fit for Braddock. The mayor had an immediate reaction. "We'll do it," he said. "How much? How can I help?"

Nine months later, the oven is up and baking beside the former convent at St. Michael's on Braddock Avenue. With Edgar Thomson's billowing stacks in the background, the oven's first burn was in mid-September. "The first pizzas had a bit of char," Mr. Werner says.

"But by the end of the baking session, the crew was making really good pizza. When they get the hang of the heat and what the oven can do, bread bakers will follow."

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