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Modern ovens are not so different from the ovens that were used centuries ago. In fact, the only thing that allowed them to be more easy to use and smaller in scale are the materials from which they are made. Previously fireproof bricks, clay and stone were used to make an oven. Masonry ovens are one of the most popular ones.
They date back as far as the Roman empire and are often refereed to as such. You may have seen them in pizzerias, since they are even today used for creating pizzas. In truth, such ovens can be used for absolutely any task which includes baking. Ovens also were referred to as black ovens, because of the black build up, which came from the wood that was used to power the oven.
These ovens were very popular around Europe and were used in different scale. They could be serving single home or household, up to a point when they were big enough to cover an entire communities. Using these ovens was quite simple. First you have to put fire wood in them and make a pile of it. As it burns down the ashes remain. Into those ashes you then put the baking cauldron and prepare the meal. The fire may continue to burn. As I’ve said before, you can cook just about anything in them.
A different type of these ovens is called white ovens. There the fireplace is in another chamber, while the heat from the oven is being transferred to the cooking chamber, without the smoke. Commonly the smoke went out of the front of the oven, or through a chimney, located at its top.
Nowadays, such ovens, with slight modification are used for preparing pizzas, in pizzerias, like I’ve mentioned above. Smaller tabletop models were created as well. Professional oven cleaners in London say that modern electric and gas ovens have little resemblance to their forefathers. Modern ovens are made of different metal alloys, which allow then to be more compact and serve any household.