One of the things I'm dreaming of building is an earth oven a la Kiko Denzer, this summer. Just a small one, enough for a pizza at at time.
Although I own 650 sq m of garden, I don't want to upset my neighbours. I must add we already own a tile stove "Kachelofen" and light fires every day in winter, but the chimney of course is at the top of the house. Will the smoke from a two hour firing of the oven upset my neighbours? Did any of you ask permission?
My question is this. It'll be a small base about 1m - 1.3m. Does the hot air stay more inside the oven (I believe the principle is refractive heat) or does the heat radiate out, say a metre away? I'm thinking of locating it next to a willow tree - will it kill the tree?
Most earth ovens I've seen are very well insulated, and the out sides of it get warm, but it's not like the radiant heat from a cast iron stove or open fire. We successfully raised bread on top of one that I had the pleasure of cooking with in New Zealand, and that was during the very hot "pizza" fire.
That's encouraging Marina dear. How about the smoke? Given our chimney is higher up on a normal two storey house, would there be a risk of annoying neighbours with such an oven nearer ground level, i.e., three feet up?
I just used other people's a few times. No expert in construction! The one in new zealand was very DIY low tech - a street sign was bent to create the inner wall of the oven, and cob was piled in layers around that (so I was told - didn't help with the construction). And it worked great!
I have a book about bread oven construction, and though it recommends firebricks and concrete as the building materials, it covers some basic principles for oven design that seem to be important - it would answer all your questions about chimneys, for instance. The curve of the dome, for instance, can vary according to the cultural slant of the creator, or purpose of the oven. Pizza ovens have a flatter, longer shape, while "true" bread ovens are more of a half-sphere, seems to me. I'd want one that was all-purpose. Anyway, the book is called The Bread Builders, and I'd recommend it. The first half is all about sourdough bread, the second about the ovens.
So far as I can tell, the goal with an earth oven is a really hot fire, and really hot fires don't make a lot of smoke. There might be a bit right as you're getting the thing warmed up, but it shouldn't be smoking the whole time you're cooking. The coals of this big hot fire are pushed back to the perimeter of the oven chamber right before you put the food in, and the residual heat of the whole mass of the oven (as well as air-current stuff created by the dome - too complex for me to comprehend) is what creates the amazing cooking environment.