Saturday, September 29, 2018

Cob Ovens: Stu Silverstein at the Kneading Conference

I've known Stu Silverstein for thirty years.  In the past twenty or so, he's built and promoted cob ovens,  a construction of bake ovens that uses clay, sawdust, sand and other low cost materials that make wood-fired baking accessible to anyone with 500 bucks.  The 2018 Kneading Conference was held in Hinkley Maine at the Kennebec Valley Community College, Harold Alford Campus has one installed.
As I arrived early and love firing ovens, I started the oven off so that dinner pizzas would be served.
The next day, Stu lead a  group of participants in building small cob ovens, some of which were taken away as the participants left.
Wood-fired ovens need not be expensive.  Cob ovens are an accessible alternative to one, like I build, which are both more costly and last a lifetime.  Still in some cultures, the cob oven is maintained over the lifetime of the family OR rebuilt as needed.
They admittedly don't hold the temperature as well as true brick ovens, which keep baking temperatures for four days.

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