Stone on Stone: Communal oven for Darmstadt-Eberstadt

Oven in countryside
Photo: K. Plischke

Public baking houses and ovens are a long-standing tradition. And although a functioning oven is now part of the standard kitchen equipment in flats and houses, corresponding neighbourhood or community offerings are becoming very popular again. Not only are they places for socialising, but with skilful planning, the oven can be used efficiently for many baking processes once heated. Interested parties in Darmstadt-Eberstadt came together in 2021, forming a working group within the association called “Eberstädter Bürgerverein von 1980 e. V.” to install such a “Backes” in the garden of the Geibel smithy. Through a connection to the former SAGST project manager and passionate oven builder Klaus Plischke, the idea grew into an international collaboration with young Polish students. Plischke had met the latter while volunteering for a student bakehouse project in Juchowo (Poland), where SAGST supports a large biodynamic farm and other institutions. Before that, Plischke had already seen a similar project to fruition with international volunteers at the premises of another of the Foundation’s Darmstadt project partners, Hofgut Oberfeld.

In May, a group of art and architecture students from Racibórz, Poland, travelled to Darmstadt along with two professors to build a stone bread and pizza oven for Eberstadt. The art students created a large painting next to the oven. With financial support from SAGST, this project gave the young adults gain practical experience to supplement their theoretical knowledge. Other cooperation partners were also on site: Students from the Peter-Behrens-Schule vocational school were responsible for roofing the oven and Werkhof e. V. was responsible for the oven door and the ash container, as well as various small metal parts. Now that the construction work has been successfully completed, nothing stands in the way of communal baking: In future, the citizens’ association will organise open baking days where interested Eberstadt residents can cook bread, rolls, pizza or even cakes in the stone oven.