I have this grand idea…

These words can get me in more trouble than I can possibly handle some days. And it all started so innocently.

At night, as I crawl into bed, I usually have a book that I am reading. More than likely, it is a book focused on a specific farming practice-a specific plant, such as blueberries or grain; cows; building projects; one of the Foxfire series. A few days ago, while searching my library for something different, I came across a book I had ordered when we first moved out here. It was one of those things that sounded good at the time, but everything else took a priority. Now, though, since we are in a season of simple maintenance, I decided it might just be a good time to re-read this book. And the fires were ignited. The title? Adobe Oven for Old World Breads: Bread Cook Book, by Charel Scheele.

Think about it. It is a perfect book for me. It combines a bit of history, the instructions for building an outdoor oven, and some delicious sounding recipes. I love baking breads, and have been eager to push myself up to the next level. What better way than an outdoor oven? Right?

I am in the early stages of planning. I am looking up the costs and getting an idea of how much money it will take. I am scrounging for supplies, to keep that bottom line reasonable. And I am reading all I can on the subject. Will I really use it? After all, it can take between 3 and 4 hours just to heat it up, only to have to let it cool down to a proper temperature for bread. However, if I do it right, I can cook a pizza in about 90 seconds (or so they claim). I can bake various things as the temperature decreases, like pizza first, crackers or flat breads next, then regular breads, and then sweet breads. Each one requires a slightly cooler temp than the next, so if I start out when the oven is hottest, and then work backwards, I can have a whole week’s worth of delicious goodness by the time the oven is too cool to use. So, the answer to that question is ‘yes’. Maybe not every day, but definitely a couple times a month, or even more. I can almost taste those pizzas and hard rolls now.

I was discussing this idea last night at Alona and Charles’. The usual group was there –Steve, Rhonda, Charles, Alona, the Country Boy and me, with the added characters of Mrs. Reba (Rhonda’s mom) and Susie (Charles’ niece). We started talking about my newest Grand Idea, and the flood gates opened. Charles: “Why in the world would you want to do that? Just go up to Kash Korner and buy you a loaf of bread!” Alona: “I love my bread machine. It’s easy!” Steve: “I can help with that. I’ve built two of them. Best place to set your coffee cup in the mornings, because that’s all it’ll be used for.” Rhonda & Mrs. Reba: “Do I get to be a guinea pig?” Steve did offer some advice, but when he started talking about 1” thick steel plate for the oven floor, I almost stroked. I could buy another 100 acre farm for the price of a piece of steel plate that size! Once the dust settled, I figured out that Steve had built ovens that were much fancier than I had envisioned. Everyone but Charles thought it was a good idea – that boy sure knows how to stick to his guns.

Will I do it? Probably. Will the Country Boy help me build it? Probably so, but maybe not with as much eagerness as me. I do have one Ace up my sleeve, though. My son, James, will be coming back this way for a couple of months. He, like me, loves to try new things. He bakes bread, roasts coffee, creates his own beer and loves to cook in general. An adobe oven will be right up his alley. Plus, he is as smart as his dad at design and construction, so I know if I can get him on board, it’s as good as a done deal.

Never disparage a Grand Idea that the Farm Wife comes up with. Some days, it is just so much easier to use that old cliché, “Yes, dear.” It’ll save you a lot of time and misery!

If any of you know anything about building or using an Adobe oven, I would more than appreciate your input. I also would love to have your thoughts on building one. Would you use one? Have you ever had anything cooked in one? What did you think? Please, readers. Help me out. I need all the ammunition I can get!