For a long time now we’ve dreamt of building our own bread and pizza oven. It doesn’t seem terribly hard to do and there are some good books on the subject.
This summer we finally got our act together and got started. We’re building a medium-sized double-chamber cob oven based on the design by locally renowned cob builders Ernie and Erika Wisner. The second burn chamber and chimney will hopefully reduce the amount of smoke significantly while also resulting in a more efficient use of fuel.
The first hurdle was to source all the materials. Ideally, you could find most of these on site; but while our soil certainly is full of rocks and clay, there’s not enough for what we had in mind. Luckily we found a nice person who had a lot of quality clay left over from a cob building project and was willing to let us have as much as we wanted. Empty bottles are needed for the insulation layer below the oven and our local wine dealer has an abundance of those. Stones, sand, and perlite we’ll have to purchase.
This weekend we worked on the base for the oven. We decided to do a gabion of river rocks. We like the look, it doesn’t require any cement or mortar, and it’s very solid. It does entail moving a lot of rock though.
We’re quite pleased with how it turned out. Next, we’ll add an insulation layer that prevents too much heat from leaking from the oven into the base. But that is a job for another weekend.