Building an oven
Learn to bake great bread in our hand-made clay oven on our 1-day course. Or do a 2-day course and learn how to build the oven first. Courses are run at Casa del Bosque, placed on the beautiful volcano Maderas with unique views over the lake and a peaceful farm setting... (more)
Wood-fired ovens, grills and stoves are an integral part of Cafe Campestre and Nicaraguan culture. We use sustainably harvested firewood from our farm in our kitchens and want to share with you the joy of baking in this traditional way in an oven you created for yourself.
With the knowledge you will gain from this course you will be able to go home and build your own oven for creating great baked goods and more besides. We will guide you every step of the way on how to build and oven and bake a range of products.
Be prepared to get your hands dirty on this course, where we’ll mix mud and clay and make artisan breads.
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners will be provided throughout your stay using local and farm produce, and for the two-day course there is the option to stay at Case del Bosque. We hope you’ll join us in the kitchen at the end of the day to make our evening meal and we’ll have time to see and discuss the farm, village life and Nicaraguan culture and visit other ovens in use in our area.
$50 per day
Note: This course is available for a minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 8
Check the calendar
to see course dates
We’ll make you comfortable at Casa del Bosque and settle you into your home for the next 2 days. Then we’ll discuss the farm and our brick ovens and their place in Nicaraguan culture over tea, coffee and fresh bready treats before we get down to the business of building a clay brick oven.
This is a team building approach. We aim to get everyone familiar with all the design considerations for building an oven and will make a fully working oven similar in design to those used by Campestre. We want you to leave feeling confident of tackling the project yourselves at home.
We’ll begin by digging clay and sifting the materials while discussing consistency, ratios and where to find the products locally to you.
Next we will mix the building materials and create our mold which we’ll use to lay bricks over. We use a pre-made base and will discuss the various types we can use and how you can design them for your individual needs. We’ll also talk about roofing for your oven, siting and other design features you might include.
Slowly we’ll build up the walls of our oven and consider chimney designs and their necessity. Finally we’ll add our brick arch doorway and apply a layer of clay to the outer walls before we fire it. Oven built, we’ll relax a little before dinner.
At a convenient point in the day we’ll stop for a hearty lunch of locally produced products made fresh in our kitchen and ovens looking forward to our day baking the following day.
Home made bread tastes great but bread baked in a brick oven tastes best and we’ll show you how with this one day bread making course on our farm.
You will learn the craft of making truly great bread with a day of mixing, kneading, baking and eating at Casa del Bosque. We’ll teach you how to bake a variety of fresh breads in our brick oven and show you the other uses of this fabulously simple tool. We’ll teach you how to make basic bread recipes and how they can be adapted in a variety of ways. We hope this course will inspire you to build your own brick oven and start making incredible breads and hosting amazing pizza parties at your own home.
You’ll be met at our restaurant and bakery where we’ll have a quick look at the restaurant's brick ovens, stoves and grills before taking you up to the farm where we bake in the outdoor kitchens amid the farm setting.
We’ll make you comfortable at Casa del Bosque and discuss the farm and brick ovens and their place in Nicaraguan culture over tea, coffee and fresh bready treats before we get down to the business of brick oven baking.
To begin we cover the basics of a brick oven and discuss brick oven construction, firing, and the process of baking as well as looking at the ingredients of bread, learning the differences between flours, yeasts, batters and doughs and measuring and mixing 3 great basic bread doughs which we’ll go on to use in a variety of ways.
This is a hands on session and we expect you to get your hands gluey! We’ll leave these doughs to prove while we start preparing lunch.
With our oven stacked and burning bright we’ll be preparing our pizza sauce and collect salad from our gardens. Then for lunch we’ll go about making fantastic brick oven pizzas and focaccias. Prepare to singe your eyebrows and burn your tongue on these fantastic and simple delicacies.
We’ll sit on the veranda of Casa del Bosque for our family style lunch of pizza, focaccia, farm fresh organic salad and fresh local juices.
With our basic doughs proved we’ll show you how to shape your loaves. While we’re waiting for them to either prove or bake we’ll use our time to make flour and corn tortillas and top them and eat them toasty as we go, using locally inspired recipes and ingredients.
Our course will focus on using wood as a clean, sustainable fuel for cooking so all our cooking will take place over open flames in our outdoor kitchen.
We’ll finish with 2 techniques for baking great bread with the maximum of ease. Soda bread and “No knead”. Both methods are extremely efficient in time and both produce a very different type of loaf, we’ll teach you the why’s and how’s of both these overlooked methods.
We’ve finished baking bread but what else can our oven do? Here we’ll show you how to make more products for your oven and discuss what else it can be used for once the heat has died down.
We’ll drive back to Cafe Campestre at 4pm, arriving at the restaurant no later than 4.30, giving you time to get back to your place of stay or onward journey. Hopefully there’ll be some bready treats in your bag to savour on your way.
Please note: This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course, it is not concrete and is subject to the whims of Ometepe and farm life as well as adapting to and being led by our guests' desires.
On the farm
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We butcher a whole, pasture reared, organic pig in our 1 day course with Ben and his local team.
This is a hands-on pork butchery course where we will teach you how to tackle a half pig carcass, transforming it into a wide range of delicious pork cuts and recipes... (more)
We will work as a small group and introduce the basic principles of pork butchery, learning how to make the best cuts, how to use the whole carcass and how to make bacon and sausages.
In addition to the course we offer a three-course lunch of locally produced food and the chance to explore and discuss pig rearing should you have the desire to rear you own.
We start at 8:00 am with locally grown fresh-brewed coffee and some treats from our kitchen to get us going. We take lunch at 12:30 and aim to finish some time around 4:00 pm.
$80 per person
Note: This course is available for a minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 6
Check the calendar
to see course dates
We’ll make you comfortable at Casa del Bosque and introduce you to the team who’ll be working with you throughout the day. We’ll discuss the farm and pig husbandry and the pig's place in Nicaraguan culture and history over tea, coffee and fresh treats from our kitchen before we get down to the business of whole pig butchery.
First we will visit our pigs and discuss animal husbandry and the process of slaughter before we take a look at our carcass and talk through how to butcher the pig into the primary cuts.
We’ll discuss the tools needed for the job and get started on our primary cuts. This is a hands on course and we expect you to get stuck into the process guided by Ben as you go. We’ll use both halves of the pig to create a range of useable home cuts and we’ll show you how to bone and which parts are used for what purpose.
We’ll use Lunch as an opportunity to try some of the dishes that can be made from the offal that came from the day of slaughter and to try some local food and salads from our farm.
Through the afternoon session we’ll continue breaking the pig into its respective cuts and start on the process of making fresh sausages and bacon. We’ll also make some local chorizo and show you how to prepare delicious fresh flour and corn tortillas which we’ll be using later for dinner. The brick oven will be fired and we’ll get a joint on in anticipation of dinner.
Now we’ve the carcass broken down it’s time to concentrate on dinner. We’ll be eating a range of the cuts we made throughout the day, a joint from our clay oven, fresh breads and local recipes as well as grilling some ribs and rump steaks, sausages, bacon and devouring the belly pork casserole. We’ll eat dinner on the veranda of our guest house and go through the various talking points of the day.
You’ll leave Casa del Bosque at about 8:00pm, though if the beers are flowing freely it might be a bit later.
What people think of our courses:
"Great fun and I learned soooooo much. Plenty of hands-on stuff, just what I needed."
"Really enjoyed learning proper meat prep skills from an expert. Made it feel more real because we were on the farm and could see how it is run organically."