This page is dedicated to the intricacies of the Cob Oven, and is a collection of our experience building, teaching others and using our own wood fired cob oven, as well as information we have written, refined, and videoed over the years. If you are interested in wood fired ovens, as well as on-going information about the world of natural building, upcoming workshops, we would recommend signing up for our newsletter.
Before Building Your Oven:
We’ve seen a lot of ovens in the past few years. We’ve watched fire dance in their bellies and we’ve had the pleasure of eating from many of them too. Every oven is slightly different, no doubt because every group that builds an oven is slightly different. We’ve yet to construct an oven that doesn’t bake a mean pizza but here are a few pointers for those wishing to make the most of their oven making experience.
How to Use Your Wood Fired Cob Oven:
1. How to light a Fire in a Cob Oven: Recently, we decided to give into our fresh craving for bread and light up the cob oven (it could be December, but its great to use the oven all year ’round!).
2. Preparing Sourdough for Cob Oven Baking: We’ve been baking bread with our own wild yeast sourdough starter for almost 5 years now and people are always amazed with the results; they love the sourness, the spongy texture, and the crispy crust.
3. Cooking in a Cob Oven: A cob oven gets hot enough to do plenty of baking. This is what we call successional baking. Start with pizzas or flat breads, follow it up with several loaves of bread and a roast with veggies, bake some cookies, a sweet loaf or a pie, and you’ll have yourself quite a feast.
We’ve built a few (well, more than 50!) cob ovens, mostly through workshops. Have a look at our to get an idea of what a workshop day looks like, the process of building an oven, and some inspiration.
Find answers to common cob oven related questions here, including how these amazing ovens work, what ‘cob’ actually is, an overview of building & baking in a cob oven and more.
Finishing Your Cob Oven
From experience, we know these are busy times, and though we have the best intentions, often there are projects that just go unfinished. The ovens get used but they still have that hairy monster look. We tell ourselves we’ll get to making that plaster one day soon but who are we kidding? As a solution, we’ve taken action to make plastering a joy, not a chore.
So yes, it has finally happened. We have a wonderful cob oven design that brings the best of cob oven cooking together with the benefits of a rocket mass heater. This article combines a description, as well as a photo blog, of the process.
Cob Ovens & Community: Resources for Building Ovens in Public Spaces
From the folks who worked hard to get a public oven in Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto. They took the time to put together a very detailed document if you’re interested in pursuing a similar project in your own local park. We can help you get it built through a workshop with your community.
There is also a great organization called City Repair based in Portland Oregon, who has a book available called the Placemaking Guidebook, which is not only about ovens, but about the bigger picture around revitalizing community and public spaces.
Other Ovens in Public Places