A mud-brick oven, or horno, is a great way to bake things while in a primitive living situation. It also offers a nice solution for bringing fire into the shelter. A fire is built withing the oven. The bricks or rocks heat up and retain the heat for hours. A few pies or two pizzas can be made in a properly heated horno (in this hungry camper’s experience). By heating the oven, the shelter may be heated for quite a while without the risk of smoke exposure through the night. Just heat the oven and let it burn out.
First, lay the foundation with scavenged bricks or stone
Leaving space for a door, start building the horno up in beehive shape.
Create the doorway
Build the rocks up
And leave a hole in the top for the fire to breathe and to feed fuel through.
Fit the door onto the opening
Fill in all the spaces with mud and clay. This will seal the oven and prevent heat from escaping
Firing the oven will help the mud and clay dry faster and allow the finding of any holes in the mud layer as smoke will billow out.
Get a roaring fire going for about forty-five minutes to an hour and the oven will be ready to bake a few items at least. Covering the smoke hole with a rock after firing will allow retention of more heat. Be sure to seal up the door when cooking.
Any number of methods are employed to cook with this oven. Some cultures scrape out the coals and cook with the radiating heat, other cultures will cook using both the coals and the radiant heat.