Table of Contents
Why a wood-fired earthen oven?
Earthen building or what is "cob" anyway?
Chapter One: Build a Basic Mud Oven
How big an oven should I make?
Materials & tools
Beauty & sculpture
A roof for your oven
Eight steps to a simple oven
Chapter Two: Firing & Baking In Your Oven
Building and managing a fire
Assembling a set of traditional baking tools
Chapter Three: Simple Sourdough Bread!
Introduction and a note on ingredients
A quick outline of a ten step sourdough process
On yeast, flour and bread
How it works - the ten step process in detail
Chapter Four: Materials & Making Do
Straw & other fibers
Gravel & sand
Subsoil clay & what to do if you can't find it
Chapter Five: Other Mixtures Other Ovens
Single layer all-clay "rammed earth" oven
Sculpting & finishing
Lime plasters & other water-resistant breathable plasters
Brick or metal doorways
Chimneys & doors
Insulating a mud oven
Experiments & things to try
Chapter Six: Pyro-Dynamics or playing with fire
Mechanics of fire
Some related principles
Metaphysics of fire
Chapter Seven: Troubleshooting
My sand form won't hold its shape
I have no sand - how else can I make a form?
I can't find straw
My fire won't burn
The bottoms of my loaves always burn
My oven is cracking
Can I quick dry my oven?
Can I keep an all-clay oven from shrinking?
The doorway is crumbling & falling apart
I can't find clay subsoil anywhere
What about fuels other than wood?
Art earth ovens
Books on bread and building
and info about the author
Excerpt from the Introduction
Why a wood-fired earthen oven? Modern cookbooks make bread-baking seem complicated and difficult - which it is not. Building and baking in a wood-fired earthen oven restores the simplicity of bread by returning you to essential: earth water air and fire. Plants transform the energy of the sun into woody material fire transforms wood into energy and the massive walls of an earthen oven absorb and concentrate that energy as heat. After a couple of hours the oven is hot enough that you can remove the fire and bake bread. The hot dense mud radiates its stored heat at a steady rate (like the sun!)