Building Tannour, best bread oven ever, old folk handicraft in coastal region

Lattakia, SANA _ Building or constructing Tannour ( bread oven) is one of the old folk handicrafts in the villages of coastal region.

Tannour is a three foot by two foot oven made from a special kind of clay that retains heat.

In the village of Ein al-Mejwiya, 30 km away from Lattakia, Um Eyyad is famous of building the clay Tannour . she has practiced this handicraft for more than seven decades .

“It is an exhausting work and it takes a lot of time, effort and needs patience and practice to master it,” she said to SANA reporter in Lattakia.

“Building Tannour does not need special molds or engineering design, but rather a skilled hand to work with simple raw materials,” she added, stressing that it passes through several stages.

“It starts with collecting the clay, it should be red, separating and sifting it in a designated place where water is added; the clay is left for one day to ferment; next day the clay is mixed  for long hours with a piece of wood to fragment the soft gravel. Later goat hair or sheep wool or cotton are added and mixed  with hands,” she explained.

Um Eyyad said that the time Tannour needs to dry is about 15 days if the weather conditions are suitable and in winter it may be longer due to the cold weather and humidity; so February is the best time to start its constructing to be ready by spring.

The bread ovens were built up through coiling, a common technique used in pottery, particularly for the construction of pots.

Usually, a number of  families will share a tannour, so it is placed in a location convenient for all the families involved. It is usually placed on the ground next to a wall.

The tannour becomes ready for baking when the flame dies down and the wood coals are glowing. Its bread has been much preferred despite the spread of modern furnaces.


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