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The Mallorcan Wood Fired Horno


Every single traditional Mallorcan finca (farmhouse) has its own stone built, wood fired horno (bread oven; forn in Catalan). These bread ovens were used for the weekly ritual of baking the traditional Mallorcan bread, pa pagès or pa moreno (see my blog entry dated April 8th, 2009).

These Mallorcan country hornos are usually quite old. I suspect that the one shown here (photos top and centre) is a good one hundred years old. The hornos were built by hand; the inner dome-shaped chamber is constructed out of clay bricks whereas the outer shell is built from drystone and mortar. The oven has to be pre-heated before the loaves are put in. Only a wood fire will give the pa moreno its typical crispy crust. Nowadays, bread ovens are sold by builder’s merchants molded in one piece and made in cement; I personally would not touch one of those travesties.

There are still a few panaderias (bakeries) found on the island that will bake their Mallorcan bread in a wood fired oven. There are half a dozen of those in the island capital, plus a few in Consell, one in Campos, three in Felanitx, a few in Inca, two in Santanyí, one in Andratx, one in Sant Joan, two in Pollença and one in Sóller. Please forgive me if I have omitted one or the other panadero (baker) who also keeps up the good work, in another pueblo of your choice.


You will have seen Mallorcan bread in a bakery near you, so I don’t bother to  show you a photo. You may not have seen the freshly kneaded dough though in its final shape before the loaf is placed in the hot oven chamber (photo bottom). The loaf in the background is a white  pa pagès, the loaf in the foreground is a dark pa moreno. After the bread is baked the oven will still remain very hot for a number of hours. Mallorcan farmers’ wives will use the remaining heat to cook a suckling pig, a leg of lamb or a large fish such as Merluza or Llampuga.


The photos (top and centre) were taken near Lluchmajor, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: October 1st, 2009. The time was 15:27:43 and 15:28:44, respectively. The photo (bottom) was taken in Campos del Port, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 10th, 2009. The time was 13:14:41.

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