Building a Mud Oven
A few weeks ago, we built a mud oven at our home. We had a lovely girl, Julia, who was woofing (see WWOOF.ORG), with us. She came to work on the oven, and got most of her information about building from some books we have and various internet sites. While she was working, she played around a lot with the mud, and shared that making a working oven is a lot of experimentation… so get out there and try one. (And please, invite me over for pizza whenever…)
The first step in making the oven involved getting the foundation ready. We had to dig a pretty deep hole and then filled it with sand a gravel.
Once the foundation was ready, we arranged some blocks in a roundish shape, and made sure they were level… This is important, you would do better to use a level of some sort, not just eye balling it.
Once everything was nice and level we chose a piece of granite for the main base, and then more cinder blocks and fire bricks. Any part of the oven that will touch fire needs to be fire brick. We purchased this brick from a local chimney supply store.
Once all the brick is assembled, we made a form for the oven out of sand.
Then comes the fun part! Time to get your feet dirty and mix up some Mud!
On top of the sand went wet newspaper, then our cob clay mixture. At this point an insulative cob base was built. This holds the heat when you’re making your breads and pizzas…
Once the proper shape for the oven was created, and it had dried a good bit, the sand got emptied out of the oven. We made several layers- a cob/clay layer and then another layer with straw and then a final layer of cleaner clay.
As you clean out the sand, you need to be careful and take your time. Once you touch newspaper, you know you’ve gone high enough. The newspaper is your signal that you have emptied all the sand out.
At that point, we decorated the oven and put beads and other decorations.