Bakery uses 130-year-old oven

December 7, 2010 (CHICAGO)

"Oh the oven's got to be a good 120 to 130 years old," said Victor D'Amato, owner.

D'Amato's uses a coal burning brick oven. They have to feed it every day. The coal fire heats the bricks and the bricks heat the oven.

"When the heat goes up it circulates all around the oven and that's how it keeps the oven hot," said Victor D'Amato.

They bake 300 to 400 loaves of bread at D'Amato's every day and they work seven days a week.

This past summer they remodeled at D'Amato's and for the first time in who knows how many years they had to shut down the oven. And that's when they discovered something amazing.

"We shut down that oven and it took about seven days for it to cool off," said Nick D'Amato, D'Amato's Bakery. "Yes, a whole seven days."

Then it took another seven days to get the bricks hot enough to bake again.

"When that oven gets hot and the bricks get hot you have this nice crust on the bottom ... when you eat it it's nice and crunchy," said Victor D'Amato.

When Victor retires the business will pass on to his daughter, Rosanna, and son, Nick.

"We're really close and it keeps the business strong and we all work together," Rosanna D'Amato said.

The bread is available at the bakery or next door at Bari's Grocery, where they use it to make sandwiches.

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