A cob oven is a wood-fired oven that is made with a few simple materials: clay, water, sand, and straw. It has been used for thousands of years, and it is still used by many cultures today.
The word “cob” originates from an old English word meaning ‘lump.’
Another common name for cob oven is also clay or earth oven. They all describe the same: a hollow, dome-shaped structure oven made of clay, clay mixed with sand or clay mixed with straw.
As with any wood-fired oven, the food will be delicious through the unique flavors you only get when you use traditional ways of cooking.
What Is A Cob Oven Made Of
As mentioned before, the materials are very simple, and you might even find them in your backyard. All you need is clay, sand, water and good-quality straw.
You don’t need expensive tools to get a project on building a cob oven started.
Also, you will need empty glass bottles for the underfloor insulation and firebricks for the oven floor.
Overall, these are very basic materials. That’s why wood-fired ovens made with clay have become hugely popular in the last few years.
What Is It Used For
The most popular use is most likely the baking of a yummy delicious tasting pizza. Read more on what you can cook in a clay oven in my post A Little Guide On How To Cook In A Wood Fired Oven.
A cob oven stays hot for more than 10 hours. That gives you a long time frame to cook not only pizza but also roasted chicken, beef or pork, vegetables, potatoes, or even bread.
In the morning, just rekindle the fire and cook a scrummy breakfast with bacon, sausages, eggs and baked beans.
How Does A Cob Oven Compare To A Brick Oven
Besides the use of different materials, there is not much difference between both types. Both ovens have been around for thousands of years and work the same way.
They are both heated up with wood. Once the oven is hot, you push the burning wood to the rear to make space for pizza and other food.
Read more about How To Heat Your Wood Fired Pizza Oven.
Are you planning on building your own wood-fired oven? A cob oven is cheaper to make than a brick oven.
You get more info in my post Should You Build Your Own Wood-Fired Pizza Oven?
What Are Some Common Issues With A Cob Oven
- You need to build a shelter for your oven to protect it from rain, snow, and sun. Bad weather can affect the cob, and you might have to renew the plaster every so often. A proper shelter is necessary to keep the cob oven in good shape.
- Cracks can appear when the oven is not cured properly. Before you use the oven, you need to cure it. That means to light small fires at low temperatures that will dry the clay over time.
- Cracks can easily be fixed by applying wet clay.
- If the oven is properly insulated, the outer layer should not heat up. Even if the oven is piping hot inside. If the outer layer does heat up, it’s a sign that the oven needs more insulation.
Choosing a location
- Choose a location wisely: keep the distance to your house due to the fire hazard but also close enough, so you get lots of use out of your oven. A sheltered area would be best.
Building A Cob Oven
You will find lots of credible resources online that will show you exactly how to build a cob oven. Here is a great link to get detailed information.
I also found a video on Youtube which I find very informative and entertaining to watch. It shows how to build a very simple version of a clay oven that can be done in a weekend.
A cob oven is relatively easy to create from rather inexpensive materials. It is a great way of cooking food in a traditional way like our ancestors did centuries ago.
Choose the location for your oven carefully and plan the size of the oven as well. How big do you want the oven to be? The smaller the oven, the more heat sufficient the oven is. Make sure to make the opening big enough to fit a pizza peel, one of the essential tools you need to make pizza.
Would you like to have a cob oven in your backyard? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
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Hi.. We are moving and have to leave our current oven because of it’s sheer weight and size. Not wanting to have this huge investment again, I am looking at the alternatives such as a cob oven.
Appreciate any tips and or suggestions…
thanks for your question. I assume that you want to be more flexible with your next/new pizza oven. For ideas and suggestions, you could check out my post The Best Outdoor Wood Fired Pizza Ovens In 2020 where you can also find portable pizza ovens which are not too heavy and big.
Please let me know if you were able to find something suitable.
I have a conventional indoor stone fireplace [w/flue liner] built in my camp pavilion-[4’H x 5’L x 4’W]. The exterior materials for chimney are brick atop of the 4’H x 5’W x 3′ L reinforced cement block footing/foundation w2″ concrete slab atop the cement block foundation. The chimney is centered leaving: 16″ +chimney16″ + 16″ [48″] left to right. From exterior building wall to end of foundation =’s, 42″. Is it possible to create a cob oven with the remaining flat space, [32″ x 42″], incorporating the chimney as an existing part of the oven walls.
May be a bit to unorthodox for a building project proposal; however, I venture down those paths…I always lead with my heart; tugging at my head to follow me down those paths, thanks.
Hi there Charlie, thank you for your question but truth to be told, I am not a building expert. So I leave this question here in the hope that maybe one of my readers can answer it.