Instructables

How to build a Pizza Oven

Featured
Building a woodfired oven with clay or mud
After having built a oven for myself, i think it's a nice to have piece of work in your backyard.
Be warned, it takes quite some time to build, but also to use it. It's no substitute for your Microwave... it's rather in the slowfood class, even if you can bake a pizza in 2-3 minutes.
 
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What type and size do you want?

Picture of What type and size do you want?
DSCN0071.JPG
DSCN0072.JPG
Depending on what you want to bake and the space available, you can adjust the size of your oven. The amount of material needed doesn't scale linear. My oven needed 4 times the material of a small but usable oven.
In numbers that was 600 kg of clay powder, around 950kg of sand.
In my case, the size was selected because my main use of it is to bake bread and i wanted to be able to use the cookie pans from my electric oven. I also selected the thickness of my thermal layer to keep the heat long enough to bake multiple batches of bread, without the need to reheat.
As a general guideline, i wouldn't go smaller than 40cm/16inches inner diameter. Mine has 75cm/30inches. The thickness of the thermal layer should be no less than 15cm/6inches. Mine has 20cm/8inches.
At some point you need to decide whether you want a chimney or not. I had the chance to use a oven with a chimney, but decided against it for my oven. The main advantage of a chimney is to take the smoke out of your face. The main disadvantage in a simple design, lots of heat will go out the chimney instead of heating up your oven. It also adds complexity to your design. If you need to add a chimney, because your fire doesn't burn cleanly, you can do it even after finishing your oven.
There are certain ratios between inner oven diameter, inner oven height and oven door height you need to have. The most important here, the oven opening height has to be 63% of the inner dome height. This is essential for a clean burning fire. Further, the inner dome height should be 60-75% of the inner dome diameter. With these ratios and measurements, you can determine the actual measurements for your oven. It's best if you look around for firebricks, before you decide on the size of your oven floor. You should sketch your firebrick layout on a large piece of cardboard 1:1. Then draw the inner and outer shape of your oven on it and cut it out. This will help you in the next step, the form and size of your foundation. You should place the opening of your oven away from the main wind direction. Last but not least you have to plan for a roof of some sort. If you plan to bake in bad weather, make it big enough to shelter you as well as the oven. The oven should be able to breathe, so the moisture can get out.

I would like to strongly suggest for everyone to read the book from Kiko Denzer, "Build your own earth oven". It goes much deeper into the details, he built countless different ovens and shares his knowledge. You will see references to his book throughout this instructable. Don't get me wrong here, you can build a oven with this instructable alone, but maybe you'd like to do it a little different. In this book, you will find different techniques, styles and lots of background information.

Pictures of smaller ovens made at a workshop. One with chimney, made in the sand mound method, the other without chimney was made with the inverted basket method.
almondsurf2 months ago

"Here pictures of my latest build. Smaller and faster to build.
Instructable will follow."

Where is the newest instructable? BTW. I am making WFO in a few months and this is the template I will be using. Thank you.

t.rohner (author)  almondsurf2 months ago

I will see, what i can do...

Anyway, this will be only a foto report of the build with cross references to this instuctable. I don't find the time to rewrite it completely. (So many projects, so little time ;-)

This is awesome! I just built a pizza oven in my back yard. It's not as easy at it looks, believe me, but well worth the effort! I got my hands on this detailed step by step guide, helped out a lot, check it out www.buildapizzaoven.org
pizza_oven_design.jpg
slylee2 years ago
Awesome oven. Thanks for the tips. We made one with clay dug from our lake. It makes tasty pizzas, stuffed mushrooms and bell peppers..and actually it makes everything taste better.
IMG_0827.jpgIMG_6561.jpgIMG_0897.jpg
t.rohner (author)  slylee2 years ago
Very nice

Here pictures of my latest build. Smaller and faster to build.
Instructable will follow.
DSC00247.JPGDSC00248.JPGDSC00244.JPG
slylee t.rohner2 years ago
Nice! that is very sleek and compact. We put a vent at the top of ours, but I'm not sure if that really helps or hurts the design.
t.rohner (author)  slylee2 years ago
If you want a vent, you should place it close to the front.
We built one with vent at a workshop.
But you loose heat in such small outdoor ovens.
I don't care, if it smokes out of the front opening.

DSCN0070.JPG
slylee t.rohner2 years ago
cool. nice smoke stack. is that a clay ball at the top?
t.rohner (author)  slylee2 years ago
Exactly, but it didn't tightly fit. So we still lost some heat.
When i did that again, i would wait until the smoke stack is somewhat hard.
Then place a plastic film on it and press the ball in place, so i get a tight fit.

We also had some kindergarten teachers in our group. They wanted this design ;-)
slylee t.rohner2 years ago
Ah, nice idea.
pompeysie3 years ago
Hi clay Pizza oven lovers. aside from my blog (http://clayoven.wordpress.com) I have now produced a downloadable eBook containing everything you need to know in order to build your own oven. Have a look and tell me what you think:

www.clayovenbook.co.uk

Happy building!

Simon

:-)
t.rohner (author)  pompeysie3 years ago
Hey Simon,
does your eBook sell?

Check out this site, if you haven't already.
http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm

It's a long read... i PDFed it and put it on my Android phone to read offline.
I made a dough for a "Flammkuchen" with his method (hydration and wet kneading) and it's amazing. I made it with yeast only, i'm still waiting for the delivery of my sourdough cultures.
I kept it in the fridge for 3 days.
I made it in my 300°C electric oven on the pizza stone.

Try it, you won't regret it.
Wow that guy clearly has a pizza obsession! Amazing.

S
t.rohner (author)  pompeysie2 years ago
Yeah, he went all the way.

The section about different flours and kneading techniques is very enlightening.

It's the most secret-revealing text, i've ever seen.
And best of all, he speaks from his own experience.


By the way, i'm going to build a oven for a friend this spring. It will be a bit smaller and without a door.

The foundation is already built and my big bakers kneading machine for kneading the building material is already on his property.

Maybe i take some photos of the building process. My brewing buddy, who helped on my oven will also help. So i guess we can finish it in two days.
I'm VERY intrigued by this " big bakers kneading machine"!

S
Doesn't seem nice to advertise your book on the back of someone else's intructable.
All of the instructions to build the oven are also still freely available on my blog but I know some people like a good old book. Also, my oven is different to the one featured here.

Simon
t.rohner (author)  13blue2 years ago
Technically you are right, but it's ok with me.
Look at it as further reading.
eric m2 years ago
Too complex.

Simple brick oven = faster.

or temporary mud/clay/earthen oven. Just enough for a year or two's worth.
t.rohner (author)  eric m2 years ago
I wouldn't say that.

I'm enjoying it the fourth year now.
As long as the roof stays up, this oven will survive me...
I agree. Mine is almost 4 years old now and although it has had quite a battering (I have neglected it a little to be honest) it still works great. Have a look at my latest post and video showing the winter damage:

http://clayoven.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/winter-damage-again/

I fired the oven up immediately afterwards and she worked just like the first day she was built.

S
Aron3132 years ago
Now i need to learn how to make pizza!!!! HAHA
t.rohner (author)  Aron3132 years ago
Try this text, it's very long and very thorough.

http://varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm
tinker2343 years ago
hey could i use handmade bricks or ed bricks for this
t.rohner (author)  tinker2343 years ago
I don't see, why not.
As long, as the ovenfloor is insulated from the foundation, you can take about everything. We used a wooden structure for the temporary ovens in the workshop.
oh okay i just love handmade bricks and was wondering hey have you thought of useing a eltric heater as well as fire for heat
t.rohner (author)  tinker2343 years ago
I have thought about electric heating, but to in order to heat up such a monster(in terms of thermal mass), you'd need quite a couple of kilowatts. What your standard wall plug delivers, woult take very long to heat it up.
I was also thinking about propane or natural gas heating. Here you can crank out 10+ kW at a reasonable price.

But then, why do i build a wood fired oven in the first place? Because i love (controlled) open fire.
It has a Zen-like quality to fire up the oven, while the dough is rising.

When it's dark, after making many pizzas in the afternoon, i take a chair, throw some crackling pinewood into the oven and watch the flames.
That's better than most TV-programs, especially with a homebrewed beer or a red wine at hand...
yeah i just meant as a added benfit
treynolds573 years ago
Thomas, that was a FANTASTIC Instructable! Great job and your English is just fine. Thanks for sharing!
bowow08073 years ago
i was wondering what is the color of the clay? because in my country we seem to have high rich clay content in our soil. and also would the oven survive heavy rain because 6 months is of the year is the rainy season and we don't have snow so frost is not a problem. and when i dug in my yard i found a hard dark soil under the gravel
t.rohner (author)  bowow08073 years ago
Well, clay comes in different colours. My building clay was brown when wet and beige when dry.
For the final touch-up layer, i used a red one.
But i have seen from light to dark grey and even blueish clay.

If you let a ball of your dug dark soil dry, it should get stone hard. It will also be somewhat brittle and have some cracks due to drying shrinkage.

If you don't want your oven to be gradually washed away, you need to protect it from rain. (A roof also helps to keep the pizzaiolo dry ;-)
The clay is not fired on the outside, so it stays water soluble.
thanks ill try that and when i dug in my yard i had to use a pickaxe to get to the dirt because it was so hard that i couldn't use a spade, so maybe its a good sign? and by the way it had rained only a week ago and the dirt is very hard now.
i just made a small ball last night and how its rally hard like a stone and when a dropped it from shoulder height it cracked and broke like a brittle rock and like you said it formed some cracks due to shrinkage. i think that this would be a great material if i let it mix with sand
max-!3 years ago
I have some old concrete 'urbanite' - it has a really high aggregate content - do you think that would work?
t.rohner (author)  max-!3 years ago
I didn't have to do it, so you have to judge for yourself. If you have it around, use it.
I would pick up stones from a nearby creek, because i don't have "urbanite" around.
max-! t.rohner3 years ago
Thanks - I'll give it a shot - great instructable.
hi - I was wondering, the River Cottage Bread book has some instructions on this - and they suggest doing three layers - innner, 'insulating' (with woodchip mixed in the clay' and outer. Any point in doing this?
t.rohner (author)  xhalmers_8603 years ago
I don't know this book, but it certainly makes sense. I did it somewhat similar. The inner layer is also called the thermal layer. It's made of clay, sand and shredded straw. The thickness has to be 4-8 inches. This gives the thermal mass of the oven. (mine is close to 8 inches) This means the oven keeps the heat longer, but also needs more time and fuel to heat up.
I did some test bakes with only this layer, but i planned a insulating layer from the beginning.(you can see the oven without insulation in step 6 picture 3)

The oven got quite hot on the outside, so i made a insulation with a perlite clay mix.(perlite is a foamed mineral like pumice)
The outside temperature fell by half, keeping the heat even longer.
With woodchips, i guess the insulation needs to be a bit thicker than mine.

The third layer is for protection and good looks only. I did it with a red clay and fine sand.
browneken3 years ago
I myself will be building two of these this summer. After a lot of reading it appears that your door ratio may be a little on the large size which would result in a large heat loss. Would you agree with this?
t.rohner (author)  browneken3 years ago
Hello

as described in step 1, the calculation only covers the heights of the door and the inner height of the dome. The width of the door can be smaller of course. I just used, what was available at that time. (i wanted a minimal width to use the trays from my electric oven) The opening also doesn't have to be rectangular.(In most ovens i've seen, it isn't.
de Oliveira3 years ago
Hi t.rohner!

You can also build this oven making a mold with fine and wet sand as you want inside. Cover with clay, as you did. When dry, open the door and take the sand out for next building. You may use soil cement in a ratio of 18:1 with bamboo slivers either to build the oven or to cover it. Ok, it's a little bit more expensive.

How much water to use with soil cement? Get in hand some clay and squeeze. Falling just a drop of water is perfect.

To avoid cracks mix sugar with clay. Warning: the mass is slightly softer with sugar. Wait to dry completely and fire strongly. Using cement, don't forget to wet for 3 weeks, to keep cement cold and just use after 30 days. You can use sugar with cement too. Very good!

Then, good pizzas, good breads and much more!
pmartinez4 years ago
Dude you AWESOME !!
gingboote4 years ago
amazing... thankyou, you've inspired me.... I'm going to start collecting materials and plan for my own oven. Have wanted to make one for about a year but have never been brave enough on my own even with lots of research!! This is a very helpful concise and enjoyable instructable to read...will try to enlist the help of my friends with the promise of pizza and home made champagne!! :-)
t.rohner (author)  gingboote4 years ago
Thank you for your nice comment. Some help is definitely desirable. What kind of champagne do you make? I used to make elder flower "champagne" for years. This year i made elder flower sirup. It's very nice in a glass of prosecco or champagne.(even with plain water...)
I'm curious why you didn't use quicklime, the fireproofing and waterproofing ingredient i've read about in cob books. I've made mud bricks in Mississippi climate, they just melt away in the rain, without quicklime added. I submerged a quicklime brick in water for over a year and it remained hard.
I'm guessing the temperature of the oven turns the clay into ceramic? But I wonder if the straw burns without the lime to protect it?
t.rohner (author)  longhairedartist4 years ago
That would have probably worked for waterproofing the exterior. Cob doesn't need fireproofing, it its fireproof by itself.
The clay in the cob is only fired in a small layer on the inside, if at all. This fired portion will be waterproof, but that's not much help on the inside.
The straw will burn in this layer, leaving holes in the cob as added insulation. Since it's not that much straw in the mix, it's of no concern.

I have to admit, i can't remember having read about quicklime in cob. But a roof also helps to keep me dry, if it starts to rain... and it's easy to build.

Doesn't quicklime reduce the moisture permeability of the cob? This could be a problem with trapped moisture in the thermal layer. The expanding vapor could crack the thermal layer if this happens.

Quicklime repels liquid, but is vapor permeable. This is why it forms a superior mortar for brick, or at least that's what the spokesman bragged about on their visit to my architecture materials class. I purchased two books for building cob homes, both adamantly require at least road grade quicklime, a truckfull from $300. From my experience, i hesitate to call it a cob unless it has quicklime, mudbricks are so different in quality. I remember reading somewhere that the great fires in the times of the plague were the result of having abandoned the use of limewashing. It seems the carbonate structure limits the burning reaction. I can still hardly believe it myself. Would love to see a detailed experiment.
t.rohner (author)  longhairedartist4 years ago
It looks like it's not used in ovens like this. I can't tell you why.
But it could well be, that by the fire in the oven, the slaked lime would be fired back to quicklime and get hygroscopic again.

For general building, it makes a lot of sense of course.
Nicely done Instructable! I have the Kiko book and I'm going to build a variation on this some time this summer.
t.rohner (author)  Strawbale Shop4 years ago
Do it, it's very rewarding.
By the way, if you read books, buy the one from Peter Reinhart "AmericanPie" It's all about pizza. I wanted to do a professional 3 week training as a pizzaiolo. But after reading this book, I don't think i would learn much more. Especially since i don't have the intention to do it for a living...
I would like to do it for some time, but my actual job in the tech section is much better paid...
vadios4 years ago
One of the greatest and useful instructables I've ever seen! Thank you for a great explanation. Maybe one day I'll have something like this. 
cancersux4 years ago
Hello there, great instructable.  Could you estimate how much the whole oven cost you and what it would have been in US Dollars?
t.rohner (author)  cancersux4 years ago
I haven't really done proper accounting, but it had been between 1000 and 2000$. (The exchange rate to SFR is 1:1 give or take)
Since most things are less expensive in the US, you should get away under 1000$.
The biggest chunk in my case was the clay / loampowder, then the firebricks and the sand.
If you dig your own mud / loam, you should get away even under 500$.
Hi there, I love your pizza oven and now would like to have a go at building one, approximately how long did it take to complete from start to finish? Carrie
t.rohner (author)  carriemeaway5 years ago
Hi Carrie It must have been around 90 man-hours. But since i built it with a friend, it took us only half that long. It really helps, if you haven't to build it alone.
beckenham5 years ago
Hello, Thanks so much for great photographs and for telling your story - it is very clear. A couple of questions: how cold do the winters get where you live (it looks like Europe, somewhere) and how has the clay held up over a winter or two. Thanks.
t.rohner (author)  beckenham5 years ago
Hi, i live in Switzerland. The temperatures in the valley go down to -15 -20 Celsius sometimes. That's in the lower single digits in Fahrenheit. The clay held up fine, it has some cracks, but that's more from the firing. I just used it yesterday...
flytier5 years ago
These look wet did you make them yourself, if so how? (what was the mixture)
t.rohner (author)  flytier5 years ago
What do you mean with "them"? You have to be a bit more specific... I made the cob/mud mixture myself, see step 5. In short it's clay powder, sand, cut straw and water. It was actually rather dry, the more water, the more shrinkage you get, when it dries.
Wow, that is neat. I have been searching for a method to make an outside oven and been begging my husband to consider making one. I need to show him this. thanks!
jackillac925 years ago
Where did you get the door from?
t.rohner (author)  jackillac925 years ago
I got it from my neighbor. He is a retired blacksmith and has a lot of "stuff" around in his shop. Maybe you can find one in a junkyard.
But you can also make one from scratch, like Fritz Bogott did in his instructable:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_pizza_with_a_plasma_cutter_a_backhoe_and_a_p/
If i hadn't gotten mine the way i did, i would have made it similar like him from stainless steel.
createchaos5 years ago
awesome job, i would like to do something like this after i buy a little plot in the woods with a cabin. question, how do you bake your pizza. do you put parchment paper under the dough? after you clean out the oven i can't imagine you direct cook on the stone because of ash, no? or a baking pan maybe?
t.rohner (author)  createchaos5 years ago
No parchment paper or pan whatsoever. I use a hand broom with coco-fibers, that i mounted on a broomstick. Before i wipe out the oven, i dip it into a water bucket. This cleans the oven really well. After a couple of pizzas, i repeat the cleaning because ash accumulates in small amounts from the fire burning at the side, or cheese and other toppings that fall off. This is really a no-brainer and it's cheap. If the fibers burn down eventually, i'll just buy a new hand broom for 2 or 3 bucks. You can see my "construction" in step 7 and 9 standing at the side of the oven. I have seen this design on a oven building site, but i don't remember which one it was, so i can't give the due credits to the "inventor".
tacamaral5 years ago
Great work, man. I'd like to ask you one question, though: I'd like to make a similar oven, but I'll be baking pizza, and I'd like the smoke to be involved in it (makes the pizza taste better). Do you think just making walls and setting some grates would work? I mean, as if your oven didn't have the floor, but used the old fireplace walls. : ) Thanks.
t.rohner (author)  tacamaral5 years ago
I don't think, this is a good idea. First and foremost because it's very important, that you have the contact heat from the oven floor. This gives you a crunchy pizza dough, instead of a soggy mess.(like most pizzas made in houeshold ovens...)
For the smoke involved: as you can see on the fourthlast picture in the last step of the instructable, there is a small fire burning on one side of the oven, while my buddy shoves a pizza in the oven. This gives you enough smoky taste (imho). Especially in a chimneyless design like in my oven.
I made this oven for baking bread in the first place, but i mostly bake pizzas and "Flammenkuchen" now. I bake most breads in my electric oven, but pizzas come out much better in the wood fired oven. (even with the pizza stone in the electric oven, the temp. and the thermal mass just isn't the same)
So before you start the real work, maybe you want to check out this instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Charcoal-Grilled-Thin-Crust-Pizza/
If you like the way the pizzas come out, go ahead. It's tasty, but not a pizza the way i like it. It's all a question of personal preference of course. That's why i love instructables.
I really enjoyed your instructable, it was fun to see how you went at it and how you fixed the mistakes you did in the process. May I ask why you stopped baking bread in it? From the pictures, it looks great.

For now Id be unable to build anything remotely similar, tho I am learning how to make my own bread (the prices are extremely high for low quality bread) and so far Ive learned some very basic and tasty recipes, but very american style bread. I cannot for the life of me achieve the great baguette style crispy crust, sign of delicious bread. =(

How many types of bread do you know, and would you consider posting some recipes for the most popular ones?
t.rohner (author)  LittleWolf5 years ago
Hello Little Wolf I didn't stop baking bread in the oven. I just don't bake every bread in this oven. I normally bake 2-3 times a week and i'd need huge amounts of wood for that. It also takes me about 3 hours to get it ready for baking bread. It's also quite tricky to have the correct temperature for a bread of a certain size, since i take the fire out, before i shove the loaves in. When it's too high, i can open the door a little bit, but it gets too dark too soon. When it's too low, there's not much i can do, except heat up the electric oven to bake it to perfection. I have the experience now, and i bake bread in it whenever i make pizzas. Mostly i invite some friends for pizza, so the investment in wood pays out... There is no magic in baking good bread. It's more the procedures, than the recipes. A instructable of my standard bread is in the making at the moment. I guess it will be online in a week or two. (There is still snow on the slopes...)
Yeah, now that you mention it, I can see the fire. So I'd just have to push the wood to the corners. : ) Now that I think of it, that's how I've seen it done in Brazilian pizzerias (all of them use wood ovens). Thanks for the reply.
g'day.just wondering if there is any way of waterproofing the pizza oven? so i won't have to build a roof over it.thanks
t.rohner (author)  melbourematt5 years ago
I haven't heard or read about it. You probably could add a layer of glass-wool insulation, then some chickenwire and then a waterproof plaster (concrete) over it. This way it schould be able to breathe and it's mechanically decoupled. But i guess that moisture will accumulate on the inside of the waterproof concrete cover. But then, wouldn't a simple roof be easier to make? Besides, it shelters you from the weather, while you bake.(If it starts to rain...) Anyway you should make a design, that allows ventilation under the waterproof cover. Metal, concrete or whatever you may take...
pompeysie6 years ago
Hi I have recently completed my own oven build and have started a blog to show how I did it. If you are interested come on over and have a look:

http://clayoven.wordpress.com/

Thanks

Simon
t.rohner (author)  pompeysie6 years ago
Hi Simon nice foundation for your oven. How does it bake? I just made some pizzas on saturday with some friends. This time it was a rather small pizza feast, only 5 persons. A couple of weeks ago, we were around 20 persons. To me, your clay mixture looks a bit moist. Although it's almost impossible to prevent cracks while it dries, the drier and the more sand the mixture contains, the less likely it is. By the way, i have organized(got it for free) a commercial size dough kneading machine. It's made for 100kg / 200lb of dough. Since i have some friends, thinking about a oven in their own backyard, we could do it with much less "footwork" while kneading the clay mixture.(after seeing your flickr-pics, you know what i mean) It's nice to see others building ovens as well.
Hi thanks for the compliments. The oven bakes amazingly well. We had a pizza party last Saturday with about 30 people, each making and cooking their own pizzas. Most of us had more than one of course becuase they are just so good! I'm convinced that the cracking was becuase I fired it b4 it was completely dry but you may be right about the water content. I love the idea of using a dough kneading machine. I have been wracking my brain trying to think of something that will make the job easier. Let me know how it works. If you have any other hints and tips I'm going to add a section to my blog for just such gems! Thanks Simon
this is faboulas dude great project well doctmnt you must be very intelegant you said you brew beer i brewed myself many years ago great stuff how do you find time to sleep and work have you got two bodys mabe you could spare one for me ha,ha,joking very good instrctble congrts
leoneill6 years ago
Thank you ever so much for taking all the trouble to document this and yr cleAr instructions. You never have to apologetically eexplain you are not originally an English speaker, because yr English puts most of us to shaME! I would like to see pictures & dimensions of your brick moulds & how you made them, the moulds.Did you fire them or just let them dry. Thanks so very much. May you win the lottery tomorrow! --mo
t.rohner (author)  leoneill6 years ago
We didn't have a mould to make the bricks, we just cut a piece out of the kneaded building material and pressed it into the needed form. Since the oven is round, most bricks had to have a form similar to a slice of a pie. The length of it was 20cm / 8inches in our case, i wouldn't make it shorter than 15cm / 6 inches. The length gives you the thickness of the thermal layer. The height and width was in the range of 10cm / 4 inches. Then we pressed the bricks into the oven wall while they were still wet and somewhat soft. You should be able to see it in the pictures, especially in step 3 and 5. The bricks are not fired, maybe one inch on the inside gets fired by using the oven. But on the outside it's not fired, that's why we need a roof to keep the rain away. When you klick on the little " i " on the upper left corner of a picture and then on the pixel dimensions under the image, you can see the pictures in full resolution.(7MP in my case)
Me and my dad are going to try to build one this summer . what was the aprx price for all of the supplys for this ?
t.rohner (author)  CheesySnackMAN6 years ago
It must have been somewhere between 1000 and 2000 Swiss Francs. With the actual exchange rate, it's about the same in $. But you can build it for less, if you dig your own mud.
what do u mean dig my own mud like just dirt from the ground ?
t.rohner (author)  CheesySnackMAN6 years ago
You should read the instructable, especially step 5. Maybe you should consider to buy the book mentioned in the instructable and in the comments. In short, you have to remove the fertile topsoil, then 1 to 2 feet below the surface, you find the building material that has a high enough clay content. This is true in many parts of the world, but not everywhere. A good example are the pueblo indians in CO and NM. I have seen their buildings and ovens in Taos NM. But you find this building style from Africa to South America and the drier parts of North America and Europe or Asia.
okay thanks _
oncex6 years ago
When I was a kid I made one that looked like an Igloo (that was the standard model in my hometown) and it had a 20 cm radius. I couldn't do much with it since it was just a thing I made to see if I was able to do it. I was able to cook a 6-8 inch fish in it. But my uncle had like a small business selling fish and big carps cooked in the ovens, but he had 5 really big ones (1-1.5 m radii) and those were really nice. I want to make one but I live in a part of CA where the soil is not that good to make the clay and I lack other materials. I need to convince my father to make one because he's really good doing this stuff and he had made some ovens before.
whisk6 years ago
Hello, I am currently living in Tanzania in the rainy season, and was wondering if it is still possible to build a mud oven in this season. Are there extra measures I should take to ensure that it will dry? Thanks for the great instructable!
t.rohner (author)  whisk6 years ago
Hi, i don't see a reason why it shouldn't work. It may take a little longer to dry out totally in a very humid climate. You have to shelter it from rain of course. If you don't bake regularily, i'd fire it up lightly the day before you intend to use it. I do it here as well, if the weather is on the humid side. By the way, i think the traditional ovens in Africa are quite similar to this one. Maybe you could get information on materials and techniques that are used there. I'd do it.
lillyr6 years ago
Thanks for the info. I want to build a oven but I live in Las Vegas and clay is hard to find here. I found 50 lb. bags at a builder supply but they said to mix the clay ,water and cement. I was just wondering if I had the right stuff. Your help would be great.Thanks
t.rohner (author)  lillyr6 years ago
I'd buy a bag and make a test with clay, sand and water only. You have to take sharp sand and not too much water. Then mix and knead it. Form a brick with it and let it dry in the shade. It should get rock hard when dry but it will also be brittle. I definitely wouldn't add cement, because i don't think the resulting material would tolerate the heat.
Claudia6 years ago
Adorei seu forno caipira! Vou fazer ! Abçs
I LOVE your backyard
dentsinger6 years ago
Excellent, I LOVE Tandoori.
zeero3607 years ago
i wanna make one so badly but i dnt have the room or the time
theque7 years ago
oh i love it. i want to make one so badly!
t.rohner (author) 7 years ago
Hey gal's and guy's i just added a couple of pictures from our latest action with my oven. It's European, we actually joked about being a "famiglia neapolitana". We actually just learned, how much fun it can be, to have a "italian gathering"(at least, if it's defined by good food). Well, i have to drive 3 hours to be in Milan from my home. I have been there a couple of times, but mostly to work...
For anybody making cob, there is an alternative to the tarp method of mixing. I mix on a wheel barrow. I mix the clay with water first to a slurry, then add in the sand, mix with a shovel, You slice through it to mix it. little 1 inch slices with the shovel until homegenous. Then I add about 5 inches high of straw, and mix that in too. first with the shovel and then as the mix stiffens with the straw addition, with a garden fork. The entire mix of (in my case) 5 clay (from my subsoil) 7 shovels coarse sand and half a drywall bucket of straw takes only 5 to 6 minutes! And it is already in transport position when complete! Way way way quicker than the tarp method.
t.rohner (author)  gaiatechnician7 years ago
Sounds interesting, the tarp method worked very well for me, since i used clay / loam powder. If you dig your own subsoil, that can be the method of choice. I would guess, there are more good methods around in the Southwest. It was very interesting for me to visit the Taos pueblo, while we were skiing in the Taos ski valley. The whole pueblo village is built in the adobe style. They also have ovens there, i think they are called hondos.
rogelin7 years ago
Excellent Job t.rohner!! I got the book, as you had suggested earlier and you are right, it is a MUST if you want to try this project. One of the things I am not sure about is the "floating firebricks". What issue were you trying to solve? How has it worked for you, now that you have had a chance to play with your oven? I m getting ready to build my oven in Panama, where right now is the rainy season, so I think i will wait until is a bit drier like December or January.. I will let you know how it goes.
warrenf rogelin7 years ago
hi, can you please tell me which book it is please? been searching for a good one!.. thanks
t.rohner (author)  warrenf7 years ago
thanks ; )
t.rohner (author)  rogelin7 years ago
Hi Rogelin You really go for it, if you start doing it, we could collaborate here. I'm not yet sure how it works, but i guess you could add your experiences here. That would make it even more interesting for others. By "floating" i mean, that the bricks just lay in the sandbed. without the ovenwall touching it. This makes it possible to exchange them in case they crack. If they expand or contract in the heat, they can do it as well, without any strain from a wall sitting on them.You see it best in step 4 with the cardboard around them. I don't know whether it's needed, but i just wanted to be sure. I can't tell whether it needs do be done, maybe in 5 years it makes a difference. I tried to build for all eventualities(i could think of), if this is possible anyway.
Nice challah, botards, and boules! It's interesting that it takes less time to cook, and i wonder about the differences it can have in the bread. It is easy to imagine that the crust would turn out better in an earth over, but does the crumb also yield better results? And are there certain breads that turn out better in earth ovens, or in convection? Thanks and nice job. Matt
t.rohner (author)  owlsVSsnakes7 years ago
The bread you think is a challah is actually a Swiss specialty and is called "Zopf" or "Züpfe". This means literally a braid. I think it came from the region around our capital Berne originally. I didn't know what challah is, but i looked it up. Challah seems to come from the arabic culture. They do have much in common though. They use eggs and fatty components. In a "Zopf" it's milk instead of water and molten butter instead of oil. But some say that eggs don't belong into a "Zopf". I think it's better with egg yolk only. It used to be a sunday treat in my family. You can buy it in almost every bakery in Switzerland. The crumb seems to come out better as well. It seems chewier to me, it stays moist but still backed through. It's a bit early to finally tell what breads come out better from the clay oven. I just don't have enough experience yet. Since i can bake in it, i used it exclusively. But the weatherman just said it's snowing down to 3000ft by tomorrow, so winter is coming sooner or later. Then i will bake some in the electric oven at the latest. I also intend to make some instructables on bread and "Zopf". I will make them in the electric oven, so everyone can follow it.
It also looks like the Swedish/Finnish cardamom bread that my wife learned from her grandmother. Yum!
Awsome, thanks. I accidentally replied to "robot" in my email. Will it send it to you?
t.rohner (author)  slickrockpete7 years ago
The receipe of this braid originally comes from my grandma's cousin. He used to have a bakery in Appenzell.
Great instructable! I got the book a while ago (I got it from some online bookstore, either Amazon or Borders, I think), and it's great. I've wanted to get it for a few years, since I first heard of it, but just never did until a few months ago. My wife has already agreed that I can build one in our yard...of course, we have to have a yard, first. I'd strongly recommend the book as well, and the book paired with this instructable, make it even simpler than it is! Great job (with the project, and that delicious-looking bread)!
Zetheros7 years ago
Wow. I've been thinking about making something like this in my own backyard. how did you braid the bread though?
t.rohner (author)  Zetheros7 years ago
Hi Redrouge this will be my next instructable. I learned it from my mum many years ago, actually when i moved into my first own place. I made my dough, and when i was ready to braid it, i didn't know how to do it anymore. So i rushed back home and she showed me how to do it with kitchen towels.... After that, i never forgot how to do it. This is a braid with 2 strands, when you fold them, you actually braid with 4 strands. You could do it with 3 or 4 as well, but i will show it with 2 in my instructable. I will let you know, when i load it up. This weekend, we will throw a "little" pizzaparty, so i intend to do the instructable the next.
Cute! The oven, too. :-) But seriously, great Instructable. Your English is great. And what a first-time effort! Good job.
jongscx7 years ago
Dude... awesome... I live in Georgia, USA and we're (relatively) well known for having clay... I should try this, maybe in a smaller scale though. And honestly, this is one of the better instructibles I've ever read. Quite a read, I'll give you that, but on that note, it's thorough and detailed. And if I do say so myself, your english is much better than that of some (read: a lot) people I've met.
carlos66ba7 years ago
My father in law has a similar one in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We love having all sorts of things cooked there (pizza, bread, empanadas, chivitos, lechon, even cakes!). Way to go!!!
Scrambly7 years ago
Great job! Thanks for this instructable. I think you should do some baking ones now!
hooloovoo337 years ago
Oh man! That braided bread (challah?) looks beautiful. I was going to build a pizza oven w/some left over bricks from a previous project. It wasn't going to be nearly as involved, but now I'm reconsidering......
Nice! I've been looking forward to this one. Looks great, I can't wait to try this myself. Thanks for sharing. :-) -DMC
supes7 years ago
wow, after all that work I hope that the food that comes out of that tastes great.
t.rohner (author)  supes7 years ago
It definitely does, after baking bread for about 15 years in different electric ovens, i had the chance to bake a dough in such a oven at the workshop i attended. That was the point, when i decided to build one. Although the breads i baked in electric ovens were very good, baking them in a wood fired oven gives them a extra touch. I can bake it in a shorter time, don't ask me why. I suspect it's the radiation heat instead of convection in a conventional oven. The staling of the bread takes longer. The crust is crunchier and tastes better. I have a pizza stone for my electric oven and i can add steam, but i don't get the results i achieve in my clay oven. I will add ways to add steam in clay oven soon, but the results are already better without it. Now let's talk pizza. The pizza i made on my pizza stone in the electric oven always lacked crunchiness under the toppings. I tried to reduce the moisture content in the toppings, but i always ended up with a crunchy dark rim and half baked dough under the toppings. This with a baking time of 12 to 15 minutes. A pizza out of my oven is crunchy all over in 2 to 5 minutes. I can hold it with two fingers, it doesn't hang down like it misses v1agra. Last Sunday my girlfriend made a pot roast after i baked some bread. This roast was in the oven for 3 hours at around 350 Fahrenheit and it tasted fantastic.
canida7 years ago
That looks fantastic! Great job, and nicely documented. I'd love to see some examples of how you use it.
t.rohner (author)  canida7 years ago
What do you mean exactly with examples how to use it? How i fire it up, how i put the dough in or take the bread out? The last step in the instructable shows some results.
This looks great! I'm hopefully going to be starting work on my own wood oven soon, just waiting on a reply from the local authorities about regulations. Your instructable has given me some great ideas for building my oven.