Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Why An Oven?

I built an oven two years ago in my backyard. I built it out of clay and sand, some water and straw. I made it because I loved the idea - to be able to bake bread in a wood fired oven.

Years ago I read an article in the Chronicle about baker Fran Gage. It said she was up in Sonoma, baking bread in an outdoor, wood fired oven. What fun I thought. But an outdoor oven can cost thousands of dollars and that was definitely not in my budget. Lamenting my disappointment to an architect friend, produced an alternative. She said, "Why not build a cob oven?" and sent me a class announcement. Keiko Denzer had a two day workshop up in Oregon to teach people how to build their own earth oven.

My Oven
It took about 4 weekends to complete and the labor of a group of friends.
It cost between $300 and $500, most of which was spent on food to feed my crew of volunteers.
Items I paid for:
  • Sand
  • Firebrick
  • Chimney Brick
  • Clay Pigments
  • A kid to haul some clay from a neighbor's yard

Items I found, scavenged, got, or otherwise obtained:

  • Clay
  • Urbanite
  • Perlite
  • Rice Straw


ratebeer.com said...

Great story! Saw your blog mentioned in the Chron article. Any more pics? The little piece in the pic above looks beautiful. Do you have a background in pottery or arts?

Melanie said...

Thanks! I do have more pictures of the oven that I plan to post as I go along. I'd love to add a slide show but I haven't figured that out yet.
I am not a potter, but it was important that the oven have a really nice shape and some decoration. I am glad you like it.

Brendan said...

Hi Melanie,

My name is Brendan Clarke. I am the education outreach intern at Yes! Magazine on Bainbridge Island, WA. We put out an online newsletter for teachers every month and this next issue is on food. I read your article in the SF Chronicle and your blog and we are interested in featuring your "community cob oven" as a story in our newsletter. If you are willing to share your story, please contact me at bclarke@yesmagazine.org. Thanks, hope to hear from you soon.

P.S. The sooner the better becaue our deadline just got bumped up and I am working on a tighter time frame. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

anandhi said...

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sangeee said...

Nice article, thanks for the information.

Nice guide! thank you!/I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

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