If you love breads and pizza, make room in your backyard for a homemade clay oven, capable of reaching 700F and cooking your pizza in under three minutes. Made from clay and mud, these ovens are built to your specification. The oven itself takes a weekend to put together, but the clay needs to dry out before you can use the oven. Begin your work on a warm, clear day when there's no rain forecast.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Breeze blocks
- Fire bricks
- Sandy soil
- Plastic tarp
Choose a level location for your mud oven that's at least 10 feet away from any buildings, according to sunset.com.
Mix cement and water in a bucket following the manufacturer's instructions. Layer a base of breeze blocks to elevate your clay oven off the ground. Spread cement over the blocks with the trowel, then add another layer of breeze blocks. Continue working in this fashion until the base is as high as you want.
Add one layer of fire bricks over the breeze blocks. This will serve as the base of your oven. Allow the cement to dry overnight.
Pile moist sand on top of the fire bricks until you have a dome. This will be the inside of your oven, so make the dome as large as you want the oven interior to be. The sand should be wet enough to cling together but not so wet or dry that it can't hold a shape.
Mix sandy soil and clay in a 4:1 ratio. Then wet this mixture until you have a thick paste that holds together when you squeeze it. Test the firmness of your clay mix by forming a small ball, and then dropping it from waist height. If the ball flattens, add more sand; if it crumbles, add more clay. You'll know you have the proportions right when the mixture holds its shape.
Coat the sand dome with your clay mixture. This becomes the oven's walls. Make sure your walls are at least 3 inches thick to avoid cracking.
Tamp down the clay by running a wooden board over it. This will compress any air pockets and smooth out the surface of the oven.
Cover over your clay oven with a plastic tarp. Let the clay oven cure for one to two weeks.
Remove the tarp. Scoop out the sand with your fingers. Now the oven is ready to use.
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