General Question

Cutterbup's avatar

Have you built an outdoor oven?

Asked by Cutterbup (71points) February 26th, 2021
9 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

I want to build an oven in my back yard that can get hot enough for bread. Has anyone tried this? What type of brick is really heatproof? Can I use the naturally occurring clay from my yard? What has your experience been like? Resources?

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kritiper's avatar

I think it would be better to use fire brick, a ceramic brick approved for use in fireplaces.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Use a design that works.

Guessing how to make one may lead to a disaster !

Smashley's avatar

Forno Bravo forums are all about this subject. It’s a very doable project and there are a lot of ways of building one. Try getting the book From The Wood Fired Oven, an exhaustive text on building and using wood ovens.

Cutterbup's avatar

I will look at that book, thanks. Watched some videos last night, and they made some cob ovens using clay from their own back yards! Some did use ceramic for the oven floor for longevity and best heat transfer. Feeling like I can do this!

Smashley's avatar

You definitely can. The cheapest ovens will have some drawbacks in terms of heat capacity and longevity, but you can build them in a few weekends, and honestly, earth clay and red brick has been good enough for thousands of years.

The trickiest part, I think, is getting used to making cob. There are plenty of videos on it, but without hands on experience it can be hard to get right. It can be done, but there’s a bit of a learning curve, and cob is pretty laborious as it is. Try to find a person with experience or get yourself to a cob building workshop of some kind.

Strauss's avatar

Years ago some friends and I built some wood-fired clay dome ovens. They were built for a specific event, and we used them for everything from bread to casseroles.

After about a month, with no maintenance, they started to erode; after a year there was no sign that they had ever been there.

Cutterbup's avatar

Well @Strauss, I’ve heard similar reports from some of the videos. Seems like a good way to find out your level of commitment to baking bread in the yard. Also cheap. But I would like to know if you spent any money, if it was all cob, how long it took. I’ve baked in wood fired ovens before. I wonder if this experience would be more rustic, or if fire is fire and cob really works well. Anyway… I love being outside and I can’t wait for the rain to stop so I can get out there.

Strauss's avatar

It was back in the 1980’s, so I don’t remember all the details. I do remember we built three of them and they were approximately 48” inside diameter. We baked bread every day in addition to some other products to feed approximately 100 volunteer staff members for a music festival. Firewood was plentiful, and the hornos were fired up at first light, around 5:00 AM. I can’t remember how long it took to warm the interior, but it got up to at least 600°F, and held enough heat to bake for several hours.

The materials to build came from the ranch where the festival was held, so there was no cost involved. This was in Texas in the summer, so we sun-baked mud bricks.

If it had been a more permanent situation, we would probably have invested in fire brick and a more permanent foundation or slab.

Smashley's avatar

Cob works well, as far as baking goes. It doesn’t quite have the mass of other materials, so it tends to heat and cool down faster, but it’s manageable for most home and small commercial applications.

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