Hello! Welcome to our four part series on how to build your own cob oven. This is our very first attempt at building with cob and we by no means know what we’re doing. Please use these posts as a rough guide and learn along with us. If you are interested in building with cob, we strongly suggest finding a “hands-on” workshop to participate in.
Let’s finish up with step 4!
Slowly remove the sand over the course of a week or so depending on how quickly the cob is drying. Once all the sand is removed, give the empty oven a solid week to dry the rest of the way. You’ll notice it will begin to turn a much lighter color as it drys. Give it another week to dry as an empty oven.
Now it’s show time! Get your tools together:
– construct a simple door by tracing your doorway shape onto thick plywood then cut it out. We used two thicknesses and added a handle.
– a pizza peel with a long handle (we added a long handle to a peel someone gave us)
– a cotton mop (we cut a cotton t-shirt into strips and tied it to a long stick… hokey but it works)
– something to pull the coals out with (we used a garden hoe, but the proper tool is called a “rook”)
– a bucket of water
– a fire safe bucket to shovel the coals into
– and a water hose nearby in case of a fire emergency
Start your fire near the entrance to get it going well. Then push the fire into the center/rear of the oven and burn hot for 3 hours. In the meantime, soak your wood/plywood door in water until you are ready to cook. Do not place the door on the oven while there is fire inside. Once you’ve reached about 2 1/2 hours go ahead and let your fire burn down for the next 30 minutes. Scoop the coals out of the oven and into your fire safe bucket.
Then pop your pizza, or bread, or pie, or sweet potatoes in and place the soaked door on the oven. Cook according to your regular recipe, but be sure to check on it every once in awhile. When we cooked pizzas I kept them on parchment paper so that the soot and ashes didn’t coat the bottom. When cooking, be sure to tuck your food into the back of the oven. Things near the door do not cook as well as things in the back. In this oven I was able to comfortably fit two 12″ inch pizzas in at a time.
After all that work it turned out that the cob oven cooks pizza amazingly. It really gave the food that “woodfired pizza” taste. I was a bit worried, since we used man-made fireclay instead of natural clay, that the oven would give off a weird taste. I was very happy to be proven wrong. I would definitely build one again now that I have learned what to look for when building with cob and I can’t wait to bake some bread in it!
Good luck with your cob ovens and if you follow this tutorial when building your own, please please please give us some feedback! Or better yet… pictures. Hope you enjoyed.