After that final layer dried solid I tried to cook in it again. I started the fire small, and built it up and kept the burn going for 3 hours which was twice as long as the first attempt. I pushed the coals all over the floor and let it sit for 10 minutes to heat it up. Then I moved the coals aside and mopped the oven floor with a wet rag on a stick to get rid of the ash. I checked the temperature and it had reached 350C (662.0F)! I was pleased with that so got ready to cook. This time I made simple garlic and herbed bread in a thick pizza shape. I floured the peel and placed each pizza in the oven directly on the floor. This time the pizza cooked in 4 minutes flat, with the dough cooking all the way through. I cooked 4 of these flat breads in a row in the space of 8 minutes which tasted fantastic!
Just after we finished the pizzas, I put the door in place and found that the temp went up to 400C (752.0) and the door began to blacken, so I removed it quickly. Talk about being hot! If I soak the door in water before I cook, it should stop this from happening.
This time we found that the oven kept its heat for more than 4 hours, with the temp dropping down to about 180C at about midnight. If I had have planned ahead, I would have cooked a roast dinner next, then bread, and maybe even more bread or pastries or even jacket potatoes in foil on the coals.
I have so much more to learn, and have even bought a cook book specifically for cob ovens which should help a lot. I know that there will be many more wonderful meals to come out of this oven in the very near future. It is so relaxing cooking in this oven. It really gives you time to prepare the food as it is heating up.
Does anyone have any experience cooking in this type of oven that they would like to share?