The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cob oven

  • Pin It
tchism's picture
tchism

Cob oven

It's up and running! It still needs a finish coat of lime plaster but she's working.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d98hV_ZvlB4

Darwin's picture
Darwin

The oven looks great, and lots of work.

Congratulations on your new toy and hard work.

tchism's picture
tchism

Thanks Darwin! It was a lot of work. More than I thought. The outer layers are finally almost completely dry so I should begin to see just how well it's going to hold onto heat after a firing. Hopefully I'll have bread photos to post soon.

polo's picture
polo

I'd love to see some photos..............fire away.

Pun intended, by the way.

tchism's picture
tchism

Ok, it was a busy day but here it is. The oven worked perfectly!! I was really happy with it. I lit my fire at 8:30am. I used the fire door to direct heat and it also allowed me to pre-heat wood sticks before I placed them on the fire. I checked the temps on the floor and on the dome through out the burn time to monitor the progress. For the last hour of the burn the temps at the top of the dome exceeded 1000F, This burned off the soot in the dome nicely and was an indication the oven was at peak temps! Time into the burn at this point was 2-2.5 hours.

Once the oven had been firing for about three hours, I spread the the coals over the floor to saturate and even out the heat in the bricks. I let it set like this for 30min.


Next I removed the coals. I definitely need to make some tools for that because the oven was extremely hot and it was difficult using my ash shovels for that. Temperatures on the floor averaged near 600F 


Next I swept and mopped out the oven. Mopped is not the correct term but it involves a damp cloth attached to the end of a dowel in my case and spun around in the oven. This really worked great. It pushed any remaining ash or embers to the sides of the oven and cleaned the floor nicely. After this process, I placed my wood door that had been soaking in water since I started the fire, in the opening. I allowed the oven to set for another 30 min to equalize the temps in the oven.


Earlier in the morning I had decided to attempt to make some naan bread in the oven while the temps were still too high for my bread but hot enough for flat breads. I ended up rolling it out too thick but it still baked up nicely. Temps were still about 550-575F


By the way, I used Mue's recipe for the naan minus the egg. Also, to my horror, when I went to get some yogurt for the recipe from the fridge, I discovered that all we had was Yoplait banana cream pie yogurt. I figured what the hell and used it. It made for interesting tasting naan. :)

By this time, I had moved my loaves outside and was just waiting for the oven temps to come down to my usual baking temps. I typically bake around 425F but had decided to place the loaves in the oven while it was a little warmer because I was not sure how fast the temps would fall. The loaves had been proofing a little over 2 hours since removing them from the fridge. 


Just before I placed the loaves in the oven, I mopped the floor again to cool it some but also to try to add some steam. The loaves went in with temps averaging 450F I put the wood door in place and waited for for sixteen minutes. I usually go 18 minutes when I'm baking using the roasting pan method in my regular oven but curiosity got the best of me. when I looked, I was surprised of how much oven spring my loaves had experienced. The one in the middle back had exceeded my slash cut b a good amount. I also think I could see the effects of not having as much steam as I get with the roasting lid in the conventional oven. 


In the end, I was pleased with the results of my first bake in my new wood fired oven!!! It held temps really well and was still holding around 250F five hours after baking was done.  The loaves I baked were smaller ones, about 1.5 lb. Based on the space they took up, I feel I could have had at least twice as many if I had a smaller peel and knew what I was doing a little better.  


Again, I'm not sure why the one loaf really split out. It may have been from the loaf forming or the slashing but there was more spring than I usually see too. It may have been from the temps being a little higher than I usually bake at. All part of the learning curve with a new oven.

Later in the evening when the oven was below 300F, I loaded the oven full of wood for the next time so the oven could dry it out. What a great day!!

Oh, I forgot to add that even when the oven was at its hottest, the temps on the outside of the oven never exceeded 135F!! WOW, that's a difference of about 865F in an about 8-9 inches of oven wall. 



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Glad you showed photos or I would be clamouring for them!    Yeah!   

tchism's picture
tchism

Thanks Mini, it's a hole new adventure for me.

Darwin's picture
Darwin

Shasta those look great!  

tchism's picture
tchism

Thank you Darwin, my obsession with baking has been taken to a whole new level!