Gary Jones and Ellen Gibb are the current experts on the Squirrel Tail Oven at the Horn Farm Center.
From Ellen, “We have baked bread, cookies, cakes, pies, bread puddings, meat pies, turkey, ham, roasted vegetables and garlic and dried vegetables, herbs and apples in our oven. We also have a hearth that we have used for spiced cider, sweet potatoes and ham and soups.
Check out the following site for more information about ovens – www.squirreltailoven.org
There are several locations around here with squirrel tail ovens that you can visit – The York History Center, Landis Valley Farm Museum, Dills Tavern and Kutztown University German Cultural center.
This site is a great resource for recipes and equipment that would be used in 18th century cooking/baking. www.youtube.com/user/jastownsendandson
There are also some good books available if you type in bake ovens – they cover building an oven, recipes, history, pictures or just general information.
Basically, you build a fire in the oven like you were building a camp fire. Start with small kindling and add larger pieces of wood until you have a good fire. Let it burn down to ash, sweep the oven and begin to bake.
If you could provide some background as to your role with these ovens, we could streamline the information to fit your needs.
You are welcome to set up an appointment to visit the Horn Farm Center and meet with Gary and me. We are in the process of converting part of the summer kitchen into a limited use food preparation facility. We hope to have this completed and inspected by mid October. We will have classes during the 2017 year demonstrating baking foods in the oven.”