My Brick Oven @ Hobo

I’m excited ~ much, much more excited than an incontinent geriatric at the sight of a bed pan!!

A project that took weeks of research and more weeks to build finally ended, and quite successfully, I must say.

This is my Hobo or Brick Oven I’m talking about. I first saw one on Jamie Oliver’s show years ago, but have only recently succumbed to the madness of building one. “Mad” coz why on bleeding earth would I build one in not-so-oven-savvy Brunei? Even my dad (allegedly) sighed to the builders, “Apa lagi kan dibuatnya ani..?!” (“What is it this time..?!”)… Oh well, it is on his property… But this might just possibly be the FIRST outdoors Brick Oven of its kind in Brunei!! (I think I just wet my pants there… again).

Back to the oven- it is mainly used for baking pizza, or for slow roasting. It cooks through convection of heat generated by the wood fire burning in the corner of the oven, but primarily through latent heat that’s absorbed by the brick and slowly released in the chamber.

Here’s what it looked like in the beginning.
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The cavernous oven chamber

The cavernous oven chamber

Front view, Chimney!! Let's see Santa slide down this one!

Front view, Chimney!! Let's see Santa slide down this one!

Construction finally ended on Friday. Not known for my patience, I thought Sunday (yesterday) would be OK for the first firing.

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First firing! First Pizza! Woohoo!

First firing! First Pizza! Woohoo!

... as spectators looked on open-mouthed in awe and bewilderment.

... as spectators looked on open-mouthed in awe and bewilderment.

Now, I had initially planned to buy frozen pizza but the local Hua Ho didn’t have any, so I was forced to make my own dough. Honest to goodness, I had never made pizza before (just not my thing- I’d always thought it was too ‘unchallenging’ and ‘lazy’- plop tomato sauce and slices, cheese etc onto bread- easy, right??). Coerced into making the pizza base, I was extremely nervous – I was, to borrow Madonna’s pearl of wisdom, “Like a pizza-virgin… touching dough for the very first time. Oohh baby ~ Like a…” Uhm, Nevermind.

Mad divas and their even madder wailing aside, the first pizza I made was topped with simple tomato, cheese, salami and fresh coriander. 20 minutes and a few singed eyelashes and arm hairs later we got this perfectly baked and browned and smoked pizza. Doubters and naysayers, including one who had Pizza-Hut on speed-dial, were converted. Success!

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I made SEVEN pizzas that night (So I overestimated the dough a little bit, so??), and roasted some chicken wings.

Cooking in progress

Cooking in progress

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Wings covered in bbq sauce and honey

Wings covered in bbq sauce and honey

These two pizzas I particularly loved because of their local twist: Honey Chicken and Garlic (Pizza Hut’s bestseller) and Ikan Masin with fresh Chili and Corriander. The salted fish flakes replaced anchovies perfectly, but was more friendly to the local palate.

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I even nearly cooked this man for dessert, but kanyang tia sudah, maybe next time…

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(Just kidding bah, main-main aja Mas Supormo, I’ll save you for a Main dish for next time). I did say the chamber was huge!

So, two firsts in one go- the oven itself, and the pizzas. Not half-bad at all!

Needless to say, I’m very pleased with the results of the construction and of the pizza-making. But I don’t think I’ll be making any more pizzas from scratch for a very long time now… or even eat one. Burp! Tejeluak! And if my one-week leave from work wasn’t successful in the losing weight department as planned, I’ll take comfort in the fact that other kinds of success were achieved. Ho-hum!

P/S: Selamat Hari Gawai to all Iban friends and readers!! Jangan ngirup and driving k!

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42 responses

  1. Bila lagi next session? Panggil-panggil dol eh so we can see your HOBO for real and even get a taste of the outcome..Sia-sia pun!

    • Hi Joh, sorry inda panggil. It was a random spur-of-the-moment kinda thing. Actually the oven was not fully complete yet, it was still naked bricks without plaster. But aku inda penyabar, so i was too eager to fire up to check for holes or constructions defects~ found MANY! so will have to call in the builders lagi to fix it. nanti tah inform u

    • It is quite a sight huh mau! bah we’ll organize something nanti. Jay saw it being built, i took him there aritu.

      be prepared for keriting bulu tangan from the heat tho… but you can always re-bond..

      • awesommmmeeeee!!! bah bah bah, just tell me when! i havent even seen it and im already in love with it! ❤ ❤ imagine all the roasted vegetables! yummyyyyy…

  2. The best hand made, home made pizza ever! Especially the first one. menalan air liur menunggu hahahah. How to describe ah? Chewy, tasty hmmmph… sedap hehehe Won’t be eating at pizza hut lagi for sure.. After this, mengusut arah c godol tah saja ni if i’m craving for pizza hehehe

  3. The best hand made, home made pizza ever! Especially the first one. menalan air liur menunggu hahahah. How to describe ah? Chewy, tasty hmmmph… sedap hehehe Won’t be eating at pizza hut lagi for sure.. After this, mengusut arah c godol tah saja ni if i’m craving for pizza hehehe

    • Hi Rose, have we met before?? We’ll try other roasts and other pizzas next time… ji kan cuba thin crust italian pizzas with moza on top… cant wait.

  4. Goodness, I heard you tell it, imagined it a bit and now looking at the pictures, I’m still impressed. Especially so with such glowing reviews. Kudos to the Hobo! You must invite me to the next event.

    • Johnny Johnny!!! Hey you made it!! Yeah I saw you half-smirk when i mentioned the oven, didn’t quite make sense huh.. haha but yeah, nanti we should get together lagi hehe

  5. (the post deserves to be commented in caps) YOU ACTUALLY HAVE A BRICK OVEN BUILT???!!!!

    ches and maw were telling me about it tadi and description durang did not do justice to the glorious oven. With such passion, you’re in the wrong line of work mister!

  6. Hi Fiz. YES I ACTUALLY BUILT ONE! (You’re beginning to sound like my dad hehe). Yeah, it’s difficult to imagine till u see it. Even the builders weren’t catching the idea- Had to show then some Youtube vids, baru tah they know. I bet they thought I was crazy plg.

    as for being in the wrong profession, may be, but the hobo won’t pay my huge bills though huhu jamie oliver I ain’t…

  7. waw…holy sh*t b@lls mate… you’ve really outdone yourself this time! (or rather Mas Supormo did). but never the less… that hobo looks friggin awesome. Bah… anytime after the 15th June k. I can already picture it…

  8. Ooh Ror, didn’t know you spoke French!! haha I saw Jamie O again this morning and he had another hobo- double-layered huge-ass Igloo-shaped brick oven… I want one now… heh sure, we’ll organize something soon, but dont eat too much… remember “W.W.W.C.D?”… “what would Wu Chun do?” haha

  9. eh macam nyaman pizza nya!! lapar ku tgh malam ani terus..hahah…siuk eh ada oven outdoor ani..:) lainkali jemput2 deh…haha

  10. Pride pun priceless jua..haha..”for everything else, there’s Mastercard”. nah bulih jadi iklan sudah. i excitedly showed this post to the gramps, and we unite in our envy (haha walaupun we both don’t know what we’ll do with it, paling2 pun masak ikan or buat lalap. iski saja labih.)

  11. which gramps?? yeah it’s good for everything actually. I’ve tried pizza and chicken. It should work for a slow cooking casserole/ hot pot, fish, lalap, bread or even cake (but must cover tightly- dont want a smokey cake)… All at once even coz there’s plenty of room! and the fire lasts for hours and hours… the next one i build will be an igloo type. Bila u in brunei lagi?

  12. Bulan 10 lagi ku balik. Bah invite me over to see your oven (haha inda pemalu). Can’t wait to see the 2nd addition to the family! Get buildin’!

  13. ..awesome! and well done dude. no need to go to Fratini’s lagi ah when u are craving for pizza. haha! bah.. jgn lupa buatkan the dough ah. nda sabar ni. hehe.

    • as soon as ada nougat ku… hehe bila ko balik yus? don’t bring back any flu ah… ani dah sekluarga kena quarantine di Tutong hospital malam ani, saw with my own eyes tadi, mcm CSI scene.

  14. Hey man, yeah awesome brick oven that!! I wanna build one like that, but bigger!! haha the one I built has cracks already but does the job. We’ll sort out an invite haha. impromptu saja.

  15. Hey Pei! thanks for visiting. im supposed to be anynymous though! 🙂 Yeah it WAS awesome- ‘was’ because it’s not got cracks as anticipated. Gonna have to redesign and re-do the cracked bits- it’ll be awesom-ER hopefully. hehe

  16. Hi, Kalau ku balik nanti boleh tah ku minta buatkan oven atu arah rumah ku ah. Did you use fire bricks for the floor and the wall of the oven?

    Its my dream to have that kind of oven built.. batah ku tunggu lakiku kan buatkan.. upah saja orang bapa mu dol ah

  17. Ir, yeah kau pun boleh buat belakang rumahmu. In fact, DO build one, tapi a smaller round clay oven. Pakai brick lah (kan ia from clay jua), but i think kalau pakai cement as I did it’s not the best pasal heat expansion. Maybe clay bricks pakai real clay to seal them would be best. I hear this oven is common in Oz, so do have a look around for designs there 🙂

    • from the search that I have done disini ada jual bata and plaster yang khas untuk buat oven atu.. wonder if we can have it imported to brunei ah… they also put a heat proof lining on the wall of the oven to prevent the heat from permeating to the outer surface of the oven Dol. will do some more research on it… If lah sampai tu karang ada outdoor oven rah rumah ku tu it’s will be a dream come true tu eh. Actually masa di UK dulu ada c Pin kumpulkan construction details different designs of outdoor oven tapi mana tia kah ia menyimpan. nanti sudah balik mencari lagi. boleh tah ku booking ko jadi architect ku for the project tu.

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