The Birth of a Bread oven.

When we built the new animal enclosure last year we had to re-build the bread oven, putting it outside the new walls. This entailed dismantling the bricks and the concrete disc, a heavy pre-formed disc, which forms the heated base for the bread to sit on, beneath which lies the fire. 2013-06-21 08.48.22

Then the Bread Oven maker came and started to re-build it. He first had to make a circular brick base, about three bricks high, to lay the concrete disc on. This was all coated in mud. The opening at the bottom is the fireplace, where the fire is built and stoked. The opening in the concrete is for the hot air to reach the domed ‘cooking space.

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Once this has been mudded into place, he begins to build the dome with red-bricks, one layer at a time. He continues to build it up, one row at a time until he has his dome shape.

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He builds it up around himself until he is left standing in a hole!

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He tidies up the remaining bricks at the opening of the hole so that he can fix the four bricks that make up the vent at the top.

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Mud is then applied to the vent to complete it. The vent allows the excess air to leave after the bread is cooked, but it is ‘plugged’ while the oven is in use.

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The next step is to build another reinforcing brick wall at the bottom of the oven. This adds to the insulating ability of the oven where the fire is lit. 

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The next step is to apply more mud and finish the shaping of the bread oven opening and the air vents. He also spends time smoothing down the mud with water to give it a smooth, even finish.

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The finishing touches are to apply the decoration!

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And there you have it, a working bread oven. It took the man a few hours to build this oven and he charged a little under £15 for the making of it. The mud dries quickly in the sun so the women were able to use it within a couple of days.

Once the bread is cooked and the oven is cooling down, the women then put fava beans in a pot of water and leave the pot to sit in the hot ashes overnight. By morning they have Fuul, which they can eat for breakfast with freshly baked sun bread!

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