People have baked bread for nearly 30,000 years, so actually improving on the process at this point would be a tricky thing to do. Two Chicago designers, however, think they have. Ted and Sharon Burdett’s Fourneau Oven utilizes cast iron baking, a method championed by people like Sullivan Street Bakery’s Jim Lahey, whose no-knead bread has risen to prominence over the last decade. But the Fourneau eliminates the major problems involved with cast iron baking—namely that you have to lug around a 12-pound pot after it has been heated to 500°. The Fourneau looks like a tiny oven inside an oven. You simply slide the dough in with a peel and close its door. When its sealed you get the same sort of heat retention and distribution you get with a heavy pot.
Interestingly, the Burdett’s chose to take their oven straight to Kickstarter because, according to Sharon, they didn’t know how many people would actually be interested. The answer, it turns out, is a lot of people. With six days left to go, they have raised almost $135,000, 50 percent more than their initial goal. Sometimes it seems like Kickstarter exists solely to solve problems that don’t actually exist. Would we like a robot that can craft our portrait out of Nutella? Sure. Do we need a robot that can craft our portrait out of Nutella? Not so much. So it’s actually refreshing to see something so simple and useful. Backers who contribute $195 can still get an early delivery of the oven and a maple peel this coming November. Everyone else can put in preorders at Fourneauoven.com that the Burdett’s say will be fulfilled by early 2016.