A displaced Iraqi woman cooks in a mud oven in a camp for displaced people in the central Shiite holy city of Najaf, 20 July 2007. About 9000 Iraqi families fled to the central city most of them from Baghdad, where they search for safety in camps for displaced people according to official sources from Najaf. The sources said that the increasing numbers of displaced people who are converging to the city's camps will soon suffer from a shortage of food and water supplies.
"Bread is eaten every day in Iraq. In cities people either buy it directly from bakers or mix their own dough and take it to the baker for cooking. In the villages you have to make your own bread every day. People use the tanour, the traditional bread oven, to make their bread. It's fired up with dried cow dung called Mutaal and the dough is slapped between the hands until it becomes a wide round flat pancake before being slapped onto the inside wall of the tanour where it's cooked. It's incredibly good and there is nothing quite like the taste of fresh bread anywhere but particularly here."
Here are some temporary, very funky, mud ovens that were made in Brockwell Park, South London for an urban green fair in 2007. Note how the ovens are sitting on plywood supported by concrete block. Even the ubiquitous blue tarp is present to protect the grass. Urban Green Fair 2007
Girl makes nan bread in mud oven. Maybe the rooster has it all figured out, but it appears that the oven is just beneath a culvert pipe. Not a very good arrangement, but perhaps that was the only possibility. "Omaha Rapid Response sent a team in March to the northwest tribal areas of Pakistan, up in the mountains, to continue the ongoing relief effort we have been supporting there. Our primary efforts included the purchasing and distributing of over 6,000 fruit trees, chickens and chicken cages, which allow these people to grow food and generate income. ORR isn't just giving food, we are helping these people grow their own." Apparently this photo was taken by someone from Omaha Rapid Response.
An Orthodox man is employed to inspect the process of baking of unleavened bread (Matza) for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover in a religious community near Kiryat Gat April 13, 2008.
Women at a bakery near Kiryat Gat kneaded dough for unleavened bread for Passover. A judge has ruled that leavened bread can be sold during Passover. To read the article, go here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/18/world/middleeast/18israel.html
Note how the bottom of the oven opening is expanded, allowing ample room to slide the matzas in and out. These matzas look nothing like the packaged stuff found in U.S. stores.
The yellow photo shows matzas being made in Chicago.
No matter how obscure the place, in fact the more obscure the better, you're sure to find an earth oven. Date: ca. 1930 Fonds/Collection: Claude and Mary Tidd fonds Photographer: Claude Tidd Format: b&w print Original Size: 7 x 10 cm Subject Headings: Camp - Pelly River area
Here's a baker in Amman taking a flatbread from the side of the oven where it has baked. The golden looking flatbreads are from Khotan, and the flatbreads with tea pots are from Uyghur. How's your geography?
Here are three photos from a bakery in Uzbekistan. I couldn't figure out who took the photos, but here's what the photographer said: They basically mold out the non (I think it's a typo and he or she means "nan." into a disc and slap it up into the inside of a beehive shaped oven, where it sticks until it is done. Then you collect your fresh hot bread! I think the masonry oven is fired with gas, not wood. If you look closely you should be able to see gas tubes. I don't see any ashes or any trace of wood.
Oven bases can be made from rock, block, brick, mud, or as we have seen, ovens can be built directly on the earth. In these photos you'll see two ovens, one built on logs and the other built on saw horses. Unless your oven floor is well insulated, it is possible to char oven bases made of wood.
Bread Earth And Fire: Earth Ovens And Artisan Breads
For the past couple of years I've been revising my book, Bread Earth And Fire. I've added the subtitle Earth Ovens And Artisan Breads because I feel this more fully explains what the book is about. Along with the photos, you'll now find drawings that better illustrate the oven building process, new ovens to build as well a history of bread from the "beginning of time."
Bread Earth And Fire: Earth Ovens And Artisan Breads is available as a print copy as well as an ebook from Lulu.
I write about bread and wood-fired bread ovens. Sourdough bread baking is my specialty. While the dough is rising I have time to make art, lots of art. Each winter I travel to Guatemala to build energy efficient stoves for the Mayas.