Cob Ovens 101
What is Cob?
Cob is a mixture of clay, sand, hay, water, and sometimes lime. It is a low-cost material that is fire-proof and resistant to seismic activity. It’s a malleable medium to work with and you can create beautiful sculptures, structures, homes and cob ovens.
This is labor encouraging material. The earth literally brings people together to share work and receive the benefits of making beautiful regenerative and biodegradable creations that are multi-purposed and reduce our carbon footprint!
History of Cob Ovens
People have been gathering around Cob Ovens or “Earth Ovens” for thousands of years. This technology was widespread but it has the most historical presence in the middle-east. The Hebrew word “tannour” is used commonly in Arabic and Hebrew languages meaning a place where bread is being baked by fire. (1 See Resources)
These ovens have two different shapes, one like a shortened cone, with an opening either at the top or bottom to stoke the fire. Others were made cylindrical with an opening at the top. They also have a small air-hole at the base of the oven called the “eye of the oven”. It’s function is to make sure that there is sufficient air flow and to clear the accumulation of wood-ash. Detached ceramic lids were made for these ovens that had distinct rims. These were used to hold and heat additional pots and pans as needed and are still used today throughout the Middle-East. (2 See Resources)
There are many different variations of cob ovens found throughout the world but to speak in more general terms I’ve decided to keep it simple and just share about Tannours. If you’d like to read more about the different types of cob ovens feel free to read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_oven
Benefits of Cob Ovens
-Reduce our carbon footprint most of the materials can be sourced locally if not in your own backyard.
-Repurpose old glass bottles.
-Biodegradable the materials are from the earth and will return back to the earth.
-Bring people together to share in a fun project that will serve as a place for gatherings and connection.
-Builds bonds as you invest your energy in time to build and create the fire to cook delicious meals together.
-Play with making a variety of dishes from baking, boiling and grilling.
-Bring us in deeper contact with the elements which is healing and rejuvenating for all those involved.
Timing & Implementation
-Slow is fast- This is something that takes between 12-24 hrs with a group of 4-6 people to build. Then you need to wait around 2-4 weeks to make sure it's completely dried before the first firing.
- Cracks happen- this can be due to many factors and can mostly be avoided by having the proper mixture. Cracks can be repaired easily and it's an important skill to learn especially if you want to continue to work with Cob. (3 See Resources)
Other uses of Cob Ovens:
-Heated bench – The excess heat can warm your body as you wait for yummy creations to cook while gazing at the stars.
-Hot Tub or water heater– If you coil some copper pipe within the walls of the oven as the fire cooks the food the pipe gets very hot and can exit into a hot tub or outdoor sink and voila, you have steady heat as long as the fire is going and the walls are still warm!
Landscape Feature – You can really let your imagination run free. Cob is a fantastic medium to work with and you can create anything you can imagine. These can add magic to your gardens and backyards taking you to a place of wonder and inspiration.
(4 See Resources)
Cob is a regenerative material that is low-cost and multi-purposed.
Cob Ovens have been used for thousands of years as a technology to transform food and deepen community bonds.
Cob Ovens support not only connecting with your community but also with the earth and all of the elements.
Are you ready to build your own?
Good, so are we!! We would love for you to join us:
March 10-12th at Ecomaste for our Cob Oven Workshop
Amanda Luna Co-founder & Land Steward of EcoMaste,
Yoga & Herbal Alchemist, Women’s Sovereignty Mentor
and Founder of Amanda Luna Living. Amanda Luna is a self proclaimed “plant person” with a deep love and curiosity for nature. She has painted her life with a broad palette of interests, experiences, talents and knowledge that is ever-evolving. As a land steward and co-founder of Ecomaste, she gets to put her energy into holistically developing the land, permaculture and landscape design, supporting the regeneration, beauty and vibrancy of the environment.