The Cob Oven Bible: Build Your Own Earth Oven, 3rd Edition

"The definitive book on how to build an adobe oven." Many readers have taken it's practical and creative advice to build their own ovens, bread-businesses -- and even their own earthen homes! "Empowering." Over 75,000 copies in print.

$15.00 — $17.95

$10.00 — $15.00

You save $2.95 — $5.00 (16% — 33%)!

The Cob Oven Bible! (I have to put that in for the search engines…) It began as a pamphlet for participants in hands on (and shoes off!) workshops where small groups of folks would come together for a day or three to build an oven together. The resulting beauty and community — as well as bread — inspired the author to try and put a workshop between the covers of a book. We invite you to take off your shoes and jump into the mud:

Look Inside:


  • updated, expanded, and completely revised text
  • new, super-insulated design holds heat longer and burns less fuel
  • new simplified guide for making naturally leavened, whole-grain sourdough hearth loaves, by Hannah Field, former professional baker for wood fired and organic bakeries on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • foreword by Alan Scott, grandfather of wood-fired ovens and artisan bread, co-author (with Dan Wing) of The Bread Builders;
  • 8-page color gallery of beautiful sculpted ovens, many built by readers!
  • mobile ovens, “rocket” ovens, hay-box cookers, and more.

Praise for Build Your Own Earth Oven:

Rave reviews on Amazon (4.7 out of 5 stars): “This Book Gives You Courage,” “practical and well conceived,” “user-friendly,” “easy to read,” “detailed and complete,” “best book on the topic,” “one of the best building project books around”


“Brief, brisk, artful, and well-written….explains the principles of breadmaking with a few deft strokes…. Graceful, well-detailed, and empowering throughout.” – Permaculture Activist, August, 2004

“There are really only three books for the would-be bread oven builder. If you get only one, get Kiko’s…” – John Connell, founder, Yestermorrow design/build school, architect, author

“…inspired creativity combined with traditional wisdom….Get a copy and build yourself an earth bread oven. It’s that simple.” –

“…enjoyable, down-to-earth and sensible….his instructions are clear as rainwater, his advice…intelligent and sound….” – Petit Propos Culinaires

“…Appealing to a diverse audience of bakers, outdoor cooks, traditional crafts persons, and…homeschoolers looking for a project…should be part of most public library collections.” – Library Journal

“…The illustrations really make it accessible, and the information is such a good blend of science and love.” – Marc Peter Keane, Landscape Architect, author, Japanese Garden Design

“Your book is an excellent guide to building an earthen oven and lots more…. My son-in-law just finished an Italian bread and pizza oven [that] cost $4,000. I told him I will soon build a horno of adobe for less than $100.” – Clint T. Colorado

Related Links:

  • Hot From the Oven! – An archive about do-it-yourself wood-fired ovens.
  • Build Your Own Barrel Oven – A new book about a quick-firing hybrid oven for bakers in need of a versatile, multi-functional oven with the capacity to feed large crowds at short notice.

Contact us if you are interested in quantity discounts. Let us know if you are interested in writing an article or otherwise linking to the book and we will be happy to help you out.

Build Your Own Earth Oven is distributed to the book trade by Chelsea Green.

kiko denzer
hand print press
3d edition, revised, expanded
paperback or pdf
page count:
132 pages


  1. This question is for Kiko Denzer.

    Excellent book, but I am confused by the materials chart on page 30 of the 3rd edition.

    Are the oven and insulation figures both after mixing sand/insulation materials with the mud or is only the insulation after mixing? If the mud is not mixed, do I add the sand to it in the proportion resulting from my test bricks, e.g. for a 1 to 1 ration, 17 buckets of mud plus 17 buckets of sand? If not is it 8.5 buckets of each? Also, I plan to use perlite. Do I need to calculate “half again as much?”


    Doug Wistendahl

    Douglass Wistendahl
    1. answers below in line…

      > This question is for Kiko Denzer.
      > “Build Your Own Earth Oven” is an excellent book, but I am confused by the materials chart on page 30 of the 3rd edition.
      > I live in Athens, Ohio, a region once famous for its brick industry because of the abundant rich clay virtually anywhere you dig. So, good mud is no problem. My confusion and questions concern how to calculate quantities for the mix of mud and sand and for the insulating materials.
      > I plan to build a 36 inch oven, and here are my questions as succinctly as I can phrase them:
      > 1. Are the oven mud and insulation quantities both after mixing sand/insulation materials with the mud/slip or are only the insulation material quantities after mixing?

      yes, all quantities are of mixed material. when you calculate the oven mud, the clay will effectively “disappear” in the gaps between the grains of sand. For example, if you mix 3 buckets of sand w/one bucket of clay, you’ll end up w/about 3 buckets of mix, not 4 (depending on your clay and sand, of course). With that in mind, I generally just use sand volume when figuring totals.

      > 2. If the oven mud quantities are not mixed, do I add the sand to mud in the proportion resulting from my test bricks, e.g. for a 1 to 2 ration, 17 buckets of mud plus 34 buckets of sand?

      n/a, see 1.

      > 3. If the oven mud quantities are mixed do I calculate the 1 to 2 ratio for 17 buckets of oven mud as approximately 6 buckets of mud and 12 of sand?

      That sounds like a pretty “lean” and sandy clay, so my “normal” estimating rules might not apply. (If the soil is as clay rich as you say, you might get some cracking. However, I like a clay-rich mix, as I think the clay is more durable in repeated firing.) However, when in doubt, check it out (do a little test) — or just make more than you need.

      > 4. I understand the insulation quantities are a mix of slip and insulation materials – I plan to use perlite – but I don’t understand what you mean when you say “get half again as much loose stuff.” Does it mean increase the quantity of insulation materials in the chart by 50%?

      no, it means that you’ll need a much larger volume of unmixed sawdust to end up w/your target volume of mixed insulation. However, perlite tends to pack pretty solid, so I doubt the same rule will apply. I always try to order just a bit more than I think I’ll need (more insulation is always better). I’m afraid I work more by intuition than by exact measure — I cook that way, too…

      > 5. Finally, how thick do you recommend the oven mud sub-floor (#3 on your page 43 diagram) should be. Is it the same thickness as the oven walls?

      yes, as in the diagram on p. 38, I generally suggest you make the subfloor the same thickness as the walls, since you’ll be taking more heat out of the floor, where the cold food comes into direct (conductive) contact.

      > I am anxious to get building and baking and look forward to your response.

      Remember Hannah’s rules for bread! “Patience, wonder, nae stress.” They apply to ovens too…

      > Thanks,
      > Doug Wistendahl

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