Shell Lake's Outdoor Clay Oven

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Built during the summer of 1997 by a group of volunteers.
Making the framework out of freshly cut willow
The base was built out of stone, laid up with clay rather than cement. The interior of the base was filled with stones not suitable for the outside base, and topped with sand. The door frame was set into the base. Used brick were tapped level into the sand for the "floor" of the oven.
Pre-mixing clay with water
Mixing mud
Once we got smart, we took advantage of youthful exuberance to mix the clay with the water.
Mixing the clay
Kneeding the hay into the clay to make a block
Laying the mud blocks onto the framework
Making the dome

Placing the last block and making a smooth finish.
Taking a fresh tray of cinnamon buns out of the oven. With one firing, we can bake about 20 loaves of bread and 22 dozen cinnamon buns.
Fresh buns
The building crew (from back left, clockwise): Ellis & Carol Vaagen, Fay Brewer, Rebecca & Galen Kennel, Brett Prafke, Jason Jessop, Mark Dicus, Scott Strate, Allan Stalwick
The group

The oven was left for about 2 weeks to cure slowly. Then we built small fires in it three separate times before we did a test baking.

To do a firing now, here are the steps we take:

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This page was updated on 2-Aug-2002 by Rebecca Kennel