At a Rainbow Gathering in Sussex a collective effort was made to create this oven.
- First a lightly woven oven frame was made from soft green (alive) twigs and string, Modelled here beautifully by Chris.
- A tightly packed mud/ clay foundation is created to support the walls. (See below)
- The "Igloo" like structure was then covered with layers of damp newspaper.
- Mud was then layered up over the structure until a thick wall was created.
- Mud ovens are best left to dry naturally, using a fire to dry the clay will result in more cracks and a weaker structure.
- Finally adjustments to the door and any ventilation will need to be made so that the oven stays lit and is easy to use. These adjustments will be different every time and need to be assessed on a case by case basis. In general the top of the door should be more than half way to the ceiling of the oven. (The oven below would need to be fitted with a "chimney vent" allowing for a convection.)
- To use a Earth Oven a fire is made inside, once a nice pile of embers has been achieved these are pushed towards the back and sides of the oven. It's these glowing embers and the residual heat stored in the thermal mass of the thick walls that can bake your bread (or Pizza!)
- Between baking's straw and light twigs can be used to "flare up" the fire... This sinks more heat into the oven structure and maintains the temperatures.
- Earth/ Mud ovens like these are capable of reaching much higher temperatures than a conventional domestic oven. Resulting in professional Italian standard Pizza.
Pictured below is an oven made at a Swiss Rainbow Gathering.
It took many days to complete.
The Bread was lovely! Not to mention the Pizza!
There is no one way to make a mud oven, nor one way to use a mud oven.
The best way to learn, like many things, is to just get out there and do it!
If all that seems like to much work though and you just want to get a pot on, a simple kitchen structure can be dug into the ground in no time (see below.) Local rocks, clay cement and some old Road Pins made a very effective Hob.