baking oven. This is an enormous oven (it bakes more than
30 loaves and a large empanada – meat pie all in
one batch). The oven is of granite, dome-shaped but has
no chimney and to protect the thatched roof, above the
opening, there is a bell-shaped slab of stone, which catches
sparks from the oven where they die out and in this way
the thatch roof is protected from the fire.
The problem with the oven is that it consumed more than
a cart-full of wood, so it was lit only once every month
to bake bread (rye bread which keeps a long time in the
right conditions but when it got a little musty, you just
scaped off a layer of mould and ate the rest underneath).
To heat up the oven, wood was placed inside and the fire
was built up till the stone turned white; then the ashes
were taken out, the inside was swept out with a broom.
A pile of hot ashes was left at the opening forming a
barrier to keep the inside hot, so no door was needed.
(It is said that originally there was a wooden door sealed
up with cow-dung!)