How to Build an Amish Outdoor Brick Oven

The Amish are a devout Christian group that branched off from the Mennonites in the 17th century. Settling in the United States in the 18th century – particularly concentrated in Pennsylvania and Ohio – they seek to live simple lives and forego many modern inventions. This extends to cooking because strict Amish families do not use electricity. While these days they may use a propane or kerosene-powered oven, traditionally they use a wood oven. There is nothing particularly unique in Amish wood burning brick oven design; thus, anyone can cook the Amish way, constructing a standard firebrick oven in their yard.

The Amish could cook all types of food in outdoor ovens.

Step 1

Target a location. You need an area of flat concrete.

Step 2

Spray all your firebricks with water 24 hours before use and allow to dry. This makes them more effective.

Step 3

Mark out the dimensions of your oven with the chalk line. It can be as big or as small as you like, depending upon your available space.

Step 4

Measure the width of a firebrick and mark this measurement inside the first line you made. Use the chalk line to make a second line, at this distance from the first, around the perimeter.

Step 5

Mix the mortar and spread between the two chalk lines. Place a line of bricks along the mortar. Use a spirit level to ensure they are true.

Step 6

Spread the area inside this perimeter of bricks with mortar and place firebricks over it until you have a solid layer as the base. Use a spirit level to ensure the layer is plumb.

Step 7

Add layers of mortar and bricks until the structure reaches the height you want for the oven base. Though this is a matter of personal preference, you may want to make it high enough so you are not bending down too much to use the oven. Stagger the seams of each layer for a stronger wall.

Step 8

Build perimeter walls around the back and sides of the oven, leaving the front open.

Step 9

Cut a curved piece of plywood and use to create a dome over the top of the oven. Affix brick together across the plywood using mortar and allow to dry before removing the plywood guide.

About the Author

Dirk Huds has been a writer/editor for over six years. He has worked for bookshops and publishers in an editorial capacity and written book reviews for a variety of publications. He is currently studying for his master's degree.