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Earthen Baking Oven
Traditional earthen ovens have been used for baking worldwide. Everything from breads, meats, casseroles, pies, pizzas, etc. can be cooked in these outdoor ovens. A wood fire heats up the thermally mass walls of the oven. Typically the coals are then removed and the food is placed in the oven, the door sealed and the walls radiate heat. Foods usually cook in half the time it takes in an ordinary oven. Your favorite foods never tasted better and it's a great way not to bake and not heat up the house in the summer.
This oven was designed after the French Canadian ovens. Unlike the Southwest traditional "horno" ovens, this oven is easier to build when one doesn't have adobe bricks on hand. It is also more efficient in that it requires less wood to heat the oven walls because the oven cavity is smaller and no smoke hole is needed.
A mold for the ovens is created using lightly damp sand. A plywood cut and shaped to the actual size and form of the oven opening is propped in place to hold the front edge of the sand mold. After a couple days after the oven is finished the sand mold can be escavated out.
View of sand mold from above.
A six inch layer of cob (a stiff mixture of clay, sand and long straw) is sculpted around the sand base. Bamboo pieces cut to 6 inch lengths helped to keep the walls consistent in width.
Over the cob a 2 inch layer an insulating layer of pumice and clay was applied. Since heat causes the oven walls to expand and contract, a protective layer of burlap was smeared with clay slip over the oven to minimize cracking.
A thick straw/clay plaster was then applied with wooden trowels over the burlap.
The finished Oven.

The walls of the seat or banco at the oven base are made from small straw/clay blocks mortared together with clay. The cavity will be filled with dry fill/dirt, compacted, capped with a thick straw/clay layer and then plastered.

Athena laying rocks in a bed of cement for the foundation/stem wall of the adjoining seat to the oven base.
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