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Cob or Cast Homebrew? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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  • Cob or Cast Homebrew?

    I've been trying to figure out what the downsides would be of doing a cob oven, vs casting with homebrew refractory? Do they not get up to temp? Do they not last long?
    Last edited by Gulf; 04-09-2019, 04:16 PM.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum! I also considered making a cob oven when I first started "the dream". One of the biggest drawbacks (IMHO), is that in our wet climate, the longevity is pretty limited without constant repairs and maintenance. That said, you certainly can have a successful build using cob/clay...there are many (especially in the drier, hotter, climes) that have been using their cob ovens for years. For pizza, you'd seriously want to consider using a firebrick cooking floor simply because it takes a lot of wear and tear from the peel and moving pots/pans across the surface. For me the initial charm of the cob oven was the low cost that was highly touted at the time (Kiko Denzer's book). However in looking at the work involved and the results that I had seen, I decided it wasn't for me.

    The insulation used in the cob ovens was pretty low tech, empty bottles embedded in sand under the cooking floor and straw mixed with the outer layers of cob (the straw wood carbonize and leave air pockets as insulation for the oven). The stories all stated that pizza was no problem, so temps could be achieved with the low tech approach...again, I really wanted something that would last and I didn't worry about during every rainstorm (especially the one we just had here in the Pacific NW !).

    Anyway, that's my two cents worth...you can do it, but refractory will provide you a more consistent (materials wise) oven that will last much longer (and building in brick can be pretty rewarding!)

    Again, it really comes down to what you want and how much time & money do you have to invest.

    Hope that helps some.
    Last edited by SableSprings; 04-09-2019, 05:38 PM.
    Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
    Roseburg, Oregon

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