Fire in the hole

In mid-summer of ’09, Liam Quinn built an earthen oven on the rock wall above the kitchen patio. Inspired by a workshop on cob building by the Cob Cottage Co. in Coquille, and working with grant monies for alternative building, he created a fixture here that has provided many fine loaves of bread as well as other culinary delights. After buiding a fire inside and keeping it stoked and blazing for several hours, then removing the coals, and sealing the door with wet rags, the temperature is evenly distributed by the round shape. The thick mud walls of the oven absorb enough heat to provide and maintain a 450 degree baking temperature long enough to easily bake several loaves of bread, a dinner dish, and a tray of cookies..all in less than an hour.   Because the mud it is built from stands to deteriorate in our wet winter climate, we trowled on a thin layer of cement mortar..and it has worked well through many a rain.

Mixing the first mud to begin building.
The oven takes shape.
Applying the smooth mud-plaster.
After the cement shell...a stain of black walnut dye is applied.
Preparing the loaves.
Sealing the door to contain heat.