Monday, 18 May 2009

Pizza Oven (Cassius) Progress

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:

Adding more clay

Adding another layer of clay

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.

Cooking pizza

You can see how wide the cracks are, but they are relatively cosmetic. I hope!

Olive and procuito pizza

Our proscuito, olive, mozzarella and pepperoni pizza was awesome.

Spade work

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.


Le laquet said...

Oh one of those outside kitchens that they have in the south of Spain - built in BBQ, place for fridge, running water - move out there for the summer!! Off to Rosas on Saturday all this talk of Spain bringing it closer ;o)

Anthony Silverbrow said...

Jon that looks seriously good and I'm seriously envious

Ollie said...

This is such an amazing project. I'm so envious.

that girl ... said...

wow ... looks great

Lizzie said...

It's smaller than I thought it would be. Great project! Looking forward to seeing it with it's manly decorations...

Helen said...

Suckling pig? Would it fit in there? You've got to roast some sort of manly joint of meat in it surely?

Browners said...

@Le laquet - I love Rosas. Great place. We stayed there pre El Bulli in a bizarre place run by a (normally) naked German man called Wolf. Awesome.

@Anthony Silverbrow - It is a very serious project that we are seriously proud of. It's going to (hopefully) just get better and better.

@Ollie - It's so much fun. You should give it a go.

@that girl - glad you like it.

@Lizzie - it is relatively small. I'm planning to build a bigger one at my parents' house. This is a great starter one. But there's a lot of stuff you can do to improve it. Ideally we'd have one the size of Franco Manca's!

@Helen - Suckling pig is a great idea. As is a leg of pork perhaps...

MsMarmitelover said...

Never mind the's the pix of the totty building it I'm checking out!
Pecs and pizza...yes!

Browners said...

@MsMarmitelover - I assume you are talking about Andrew in the grey T-shirt. He's annoyed he wasn't told to flex his guns!


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