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. 

Recommended Reading

Build Your Own Earth Oven by Kiko Denzer and Hannah Field 

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