Frequently Asked Questions

Oven Location: Prince Albert, Ontario.  Prince Albert is an 1850s village in the GTA, north of Whitby.

Owner and Head Baker: Jim Wills

Builder: Jim Wills, plus a carefully selected group of traditional craftsmen.

Oven Design: Alan Scott/Ovencrafters.

Exterior Style: Mid-19th century rural Ontario village architecture.

Total Weight:  foundation—about 8 tonnes; oven—about 22 tonnes.

Oven Type: Mary G's is termed a black oven, because the fire burns inside the oven chamber
to a temperature high enough to burn off all soot, turning the bricks white hot. 
The ash is raked out, the hearth is thoroughly cleaned and the breads are baked
directly on the brick, hence the term "hearth breads."  By contrast, a white oven is heated from below, usually with gas.

Fuel: hard and soft woods gathered from rural Ontario.

Hearth Size: 4 feet deep, 3 feet wide.

Capacity for Each Bake: 12 one kilo hearth breads, or 40 Kaiser rolls, or 22 pan breads, or 20 baguette.

Bakes per Day: Approximately 10, depending on exterior temperatures.

Peak Firing Temperature: Circa 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Baking Temperature: Circa 550-600° Fahrenheit for hearth breads.

Recipes: France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, England, Ireland, US, Canada.

Ingredients: All grains and ingredients are selected for freshness, quality and flavour, without regard for price.

Advantages of Wood: Almost all artisan-style breads currently offered in the Greater Toronto Area are baked in conventional gas-fired commercial ovens.  Mary G's artisan breads are baked on a small batch, strictly controlled basis exclusively in a traditional wood-fired oven.  The difference in flavour and texture created by gas and wood firing is the same and as pronounced as that between wood-fired and gas-fired pizza ovens.
 
Spiral Imprint: The spiral markings on our hearth breads result from rising the dough in  traditional French coiled rush baskets called banneton. The dough is turned out of the baskets onto wooden peels, then loaded into the oven.

The Name:  Mary G's Artisan Breads is named in memoriam after Mary Gertrude Wills, 1918-2004.