As my way of butting in on Cowie's pizza oven project, I have not only decided that our clay oven will now be called "Cassius", but I have also given him another layer of clay which means I have technically been part of the building process!
Despite dislocating my thumb in the "claying" process, it was a huge success. Cassius is now looking and cooking better than ever. Next time we are going to add an insulating layer of clay mixed with straw/sawdust which will help to bind it together and conserve heat. Once this is set and the structure seems sound we will add a cosmetic layer of clay and maybe even decorate Cassius with some mosaics and possibly a very manly name badge.
The next step will be to convince Cowie and her parents that they are desperately in need of an "outdoor kitchen" which will give us license to build a little table and sink to make the pizza making easier. It might also be a good idea for us to get a little bakers shovel so we don't land up using the spade! Even though it does make for a great photo.
Here's a photographic update:
After the first firing, it is quite natural for the clay to crack. It looks a bit like crazy paving. So to stop the cracking and to add strength you have to add another layer of clay mixed with sand which is what I'm doing with Andrew in the pictures.
You can see how wide the cracks are, but they are relatively cosmetic. I hope!
Our proscuito, olive, mozzarella and pepperoni pizza was awesome.
Great spade work from Andrew or Andreas as he likes to be called now!
Each time we fire up Cassius and cook a fresh batch of pizzas we get ever so slightly better. We've got our pizza dough down to a fine art and this time got the oven so hot we could barely stand near it - which wasn't really the ideal way to welcome our new layer of clay to the oven! Once we've finished the oven fully we are looking forward to experimenting with sourdough pizza bases and baking/roasting things beyond pizza. I've got my eye on a porchetta recipe for instance.
If you've got any bright ideas for what we should cook in Cassius let us know.