I have been reading the SurvivalBlog for some time now and thought I would share some information about a retreat technology that I have not seen mentioned. I am referring to a brick oven for baking bread, pizza and a large variety of other foods. Brick ovens have been around for thousands of years, they were very common in Roman times. They are having a revival in the artisan baking community and can also be found in many authentic pizza restaurants. They do take a little work to construct, however it is very simple to operate (decidedly low tech) and just needs firewood. These ovens generate a good deal more heat that most modern electric or gas ovens. Generally around 700 degrees Fahrenheit, they can bake a large number of loaves in a relatively short time. They have a large thermal mass and stay hot for quite some time. For instance, you can bake several loaves one day and still have enough heat to bake bread the next morning for breakfast, all from one firing. This would be a valuable asset in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. Also having fresh bread would be valuable for barter or charity for your neighbors. Besides being a useful skill for home use, it could also be a valuable asset for after the SHTF as people may have stored wheat but those fancy dual fuel ovens will not work without electric power.
JWR Replies: We mentioned masonry stoves several times in the first year of SurvivalBlog posts. These stoves usually have a bake oven compartment, although some are purpose-built, just for bread baking. I highly recommend masonry stoves. The higher initial investment is more than offset by their great efficiency and versatility. There are a few masonry craftsmen scattered across the US and Canada that specialize in building masonry stoves.