Cob ovens are one of the oldest traditional ovens. They require a good deal of heating at first, but then the heat lasts for many hours. Basically, you build your fire in the oven with smaller twigs and sticks, build it for a while and let it get hot (@ 2 – 3 hours) until you have red coals. When you are ready for baking, you then scoop the coals out of the oven and into a pail (safely set the pail aside) and swab out the ashes and soot. This is a fairly quick procedure. Put the door on to keep in the heat, and your oven is ready to bake!
Because your cob oven is so thick (9 to 10 inches), its thermal mass will absorb the heat and release it slowly. The insulation throughout the cob (in the form of straw mixed into the clay-soil, sand and water) will help your oven hold onto the heat longer. Note: When building your oven, you definitely want to insulate underneath the fire brick; otherwise, the foundation below will absorb the heat, and it will dissipate much too quickly!
Your temperature will reach 700+ degrees, just perfect for thin crust pizza. After baking several pizzas, your oven temperatures will be ready to bake bread.