Monday, August 8, 2011

Cob Ovens

Before I built my first brick oven, I saw a number of small and large cob ovens.  These ovens are built normally using a sand form over which clay/aggregate mixture is applied. Once the thickness for heat mass is reached additional layers of porous material and clay are applied until the dome is both thick and insulated.
This is certainly the most economically accessible wood-fired oven one can build. In areas where clay can be dug from the ground the costs are nearly nil.
Modifications to the simple chimney-less dome can be made to increase the ease with which the oven is used.
Although, as a mason, I exclusively build ovens from carefully cut firebrick, I appreciate and support this more accessible version.

The pictured oven at left was built atop a stone hearth that left ample room for pans, bread boards, and tools. The floor and mouth were constructed from firebrick and form a durable rim around the oven's working opening. A shed was in progress that would shelter the oven and baker and the oven was fitted with a curved piece of steel that acted as both a air damper and a mini-chimney.
What I especially like about this particular oven is the careful attention to the dome shape.
To see more on the building of this oven, visit the Katywil blog at:
and thanks to the people at Katywil for hosting a great evening of food and community.

Because people are not being stopped by the technical or monetary obstacles that a brick oven presents, wood-fired ovens are proliferating and the delicious products that are baked in them are more available.

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