It’s All About the Oven

It’s not easy finding the right oven, let alone building one. Last year we were grateful to have a team from MASS Design Group design and build an oil drum and brick, charcoal-fueled, prototype oven at our office in Kigali. It was our hope that we could build a cost-effective, fuel-efficient oven that could be replicated for all groups of women we train. 

Cost, temperature and portability quickly became the areas of biggest concern and we are still troubleshooting with our prototype design. However, as we continue making modifications on the oil-drum and brick design, we’ve also begun pursuing other options.

With a successful metal, inexpensive, charcoal-fueled oven working well for our Tanzania group, we went on a scavenger hunt throughout Gakinjiro, Kigali searching for skilled oven builders. We were determined to find an oven that was half the cost of our prototype, was portable, heats up to the right temperature, and creates odorless breads. We spent hours talking to welders, researching how to DIY, and talking with a baker with 30 years of experience. Our decision – to commission the construction of a metal, portable, insulated oven at half the price of our prototype. This week, we plan to test this new design with the Remera group we are currently training.

We plan to continue modifying both prototype ovens and continue researching other oven designs. If fact, we would love any oven junkies reading this post to give us feedback and suggestions! The oven battle, it seems, has just begun.