Outdoor Earthen Bake Oven

Instructor and students crafting an outdoor earthen bake oven

Earthen ovens are a traditional focal point of many cultures around the world, where the oven is fired up regularly to bring communities together in town or village centers. The style of oven we will build is informed by designs of ovens from communities in South America, Canada, Europe, and Africa. 

In this two-day course, we'll build a wood-fired earthen outdoor bake oven mainly from local materials: stone, straw, clay, and lime. Purchased materials include firebrick and high-performance insulation, but options will be discussed. The oven design is perfect for bread, pizza, veggies, pitas, cookies, and more - and is designed such that once fired up it stays at baking temperatures for 24 hours. 

We will work from the ground up, starting with the foundation and finishing with sculptural relief and natural plasters. It will be as much a sculpture as a piece of architecture: form meeting function. Participants will work in smaller groups designing, constructing, and learning to use the oven. 

Many of the techniques and topics covered in the course of building the oven will be applicable for building other structures and wall systems. 


Jon Santiago is the owner of Hearth + Timber, based in Easthampton, Massachusetts.  He has been building wood-fired ovens and masonry heating stoves for over 10 years.  His primary focus is design/construction of custom brick ovens for a variety of commercial and residential clients including restaurants, artisanal bakers, and home cooking enthusiasts.  His formation in the trade began in the Patagonia region of Argentina where he was immersed in the world of natural building focused on using clay, sand, straw, and wood to build a variety of structures including simple stoves and ovens.  Since then he has honed his craft working with skilled craftspeople from around the world and has become a teacher himself, leading workshops around the US as well as in Chile and Argentina.  A former Heartwood Summer Apprentice, he still works on one or two timber frame projects per year and incorporates timber framing into his oven projects whenever possible.

Recommended Reading

Build Your Own Earth Oven by Kiko Denzer and Hannah Field 

Aug 11, 2022 - Aug 12, 2022 $370

5 spots remaining.


View All Courses

Get the Latest News