A wood fired earth oven (aka. cob oven) can be made from readily available and often free materials. The process is deeply rewarding and the result is endless fun and delicious baked goodies!
If you always dreamed of making your own wood-fired oven pizza or bread in your backyard, it is totally doable. Here’s a detailed DIY wood fired earth oven tutorial to help get you started!
Recently I attended an Earth Oven (also called Cob Oven) building class taught by one of the best teachers in this field, Kiko Denzer – more about Kiko and his website in Resources at the end!
During the 6 hour long class, we built 2 portable earth ovens, which were auctioned the next day. I learned so much about building with earth and other readily available materials. There’s such simplicity and beauty to the process that I find deeply inspiring
( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. )
Years ago, I was greatly inspired by one of the best books on oven building by our teacher Kiko Denzer, Building Your Own Earth Oven. To be in his hands-on class is a dream coming true.
I will share a quick overview of this amazing class so this post does not get too long. If you want to dig deeper, I made a free ebook on building a simple wood fired earth oven with lots more details for you to download at the end! ( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. )
You are probably wondering -“What can you make in this little mud oven?” Good question!
The next 3 pictures are from our friend Bill, who bought the earth oven made by the class last year. He loves it so much and decided to join our class this year so he can build another one!
Bill has been using his DIY cob oven almost once a week for a year now. I asked him to share what are his favorite things to make, here’s what Bill said-
” you do get a long cooking time from each firing if you think of cooking along the temperature curve with pizza first, bread, then braises of all sorts.( pulled pork,beans, rice of all ethnic cooking styles) pies and cookies and then overnight meats like carnitas. the end temp. is long in the 250 f range and is great for drying fruits, toasting nut’s and great grilled cheese. those are my favorites … really it works for everything that you can imagine as long as you understand a dish’s temperature requirements.”
“Here are a few shots of a fun Sunday bake. 3.5 hr fire, coals burned out and got 900 F dropping to 600 after coals out. Baked pizza, bread at 500 F then cooled to 400 F and did the bean casserole and still the next day(24hrs) oven still at 250 F for any drying of fruit!!”
OK, is this enough temptation for you to run out there and start building yet?
Kiko and the event organizers graciously allowed me to share my experience of this awesome class with you. So here are some step by step details on how to build a cob / earth oven!
Step 1: Create sand-clay mix
How fun it is that our work is to dance in the mud?
Step 2: Make a portable base with insulation
The glass jars and vermiculite provide insulation. The fire brick hearth is set on top of that.
Step 3: Build a sand form
Just like building a sand castle! The sand is scooped out after the next 2 layers are built.
Step 4: Build the thermal layer
The purpose of the thermal layer is to hold heat in its dense mass. We also made a “molding” around the earth oven door opening.
The final steps are adding insulation and finish layers. Continue to next page –