Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cob Oven Update #4 - Tools of the Trade

The oven is essentially finished. After she dries out well i will put the final coat of plaster on her. She is about ready for her maiden voyage into baking though. i built a test fire in her last week and she breathes very well.

I have been making the tools i will need for the firing and cooking while i wait for her to dry out a little more.

These are the tools of the trade:

This the rough form of a peel. It will be used to place loaves of bread and pizzas in the oven and peel them out when they are finished baking.

This is called a scuffle. i made it from a paint roller extension pole, a nail, some copper wire and an old cotton sock. It will be wetted and used to swab out the remaining bits of ash in the oven before the loaves go in. The moisture left in the oven turns to steam and helps to create a nice chewy crust.

This tool is the rooker. It is used to scrape the coals and ashes out of the oven before the baking begins. I connected an ell bracket to a watering wand with a couple of screws to make this fine tool.

This precision tool is an oxygen delivery tube a.k.a. blow pipe. I will be used like a bellows to blow air into the fire to keep it burning evenly. I smashed the end of a 1/2" copper tube with a rubber mallet to flatten it out to provide a wide focused flow of air to the fire.

This is a fire door I fashioned out of a piece of aluminum flashing, a couple of ell brackets and a piece of copper wire. It serves as a temporary chimney improving the draft in the oven especially on windy days. Cool air flows into the oven along the floor and circulates up the the top of the oven and out the top of the door. When the wind blows the flow becomes turbulent and the wood does not burn efficiently. The fire door deflects the wind keeping the fire burning efficiently thus using less fuel to heat the oven.

This is the baking door. It is made out of cob with a piece of bamboo for a handle. Right now the damn thing weighs about 40 lbs. Hopefully when it dries out it will weigh a good bit less because it is very difficult to handle right now. It should keep the heat in well though.

We are very excited to fire her up and bake something soon. With the holidays fast approaching it may be next year before we try her out.

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