BAKING WITH A CHARCOAL OVEN IN KENYA: How to Use your new Charcoal Oven.

This month we’re going to start a new series that’s aimed at helping out anyone who has bought a charcoal oven or already has one and uses it for baking.

Sometimes it can be a bit tricky to bake with one,but with a few helpful tips, it’s very easy.

Today we’re going to start from the beginning, when you get your oven and you’re not sure how to get started. Here are a few tips.

Large Cookswell Charcoal Oven

1. Lighting It

To light your charcoal oven, you have to start by lighting a small charcoal jiko. When it is lit, make sure you have oven mitts on, while using a metal spoon to scoop the coals into the oven charcoal burners. Then, add your charcoal (or any other fuel you are using), to light a medium fire. Don’t add too much charcoal or you oven will be too hot, add just enough.
Another easy way of starting it is purchasing a natural match fire-starter; place it in one of your jiko liners in the oven, light it and stack a little bit of charcoal on it to light.


When it catches fire, add an extra amount and spread it between the jiko liners to light up the oven. You can click on this link to see a video of how to light a charcoal oven from Cookswell Jikos.

Lighting your charcoal oven

2. Temperature Control

If you can afford one, it’s important to get a high-temp thermometer to use in your charcoal oven while baking. It will make it easy to control the temperature in the oven and therefore give you the best results in your baking. Make sure your high temperature  thermometer is hanging in the middle rack in the oven. If you have achieved your required temperature, you can start baking. If you haven’t, you can add a bit of charcoal to get it to the required temperature.

High temp thermometer hanged in the middle rack

If you don’t have a thermometer, you can still learn how to bake with the charcoal oven. Just make sure, you start with a medium heat and maintain it through the baking process. After your cake has set, you can check the heat and if it has reduced, just add 1 or 2 coals to each jiko burner and continue baking. However; in time it is imperative to get a high temperature thermometer for best baking results

Use the slots below to control temperature

Once your oven is lit, close the slots at the bottom to maintain the heat in the oven. If you’re oven temperature reduces, you can use the slots, at the bottom of the oven to increase temperature by opening them (after adding one or two coals – if the heat reduces drastically).

3. Cleaning your charcoal oven

Make sure you clean your oven at least every 2 weeks, at the most once a month. When your oven is not in use, remove the racks inside the oven and clean them. You can use a wire brush to remove any residue on the racks and brush them out until clean of any charcoal dust.
Using a soft brush, you can scrub the sides and bottom of the oven and sweep the dust into the burners, then you can wipe the wall of the oven with a wet cloth.
Clear the ash from the burners and then, remove the ashes from the ash collector at the bottom of each burner and return them.
Return the racks and them wipe the outside of the oven with a wet cloth and your oven is clean.
You can use some steel-wire to scrub the outside of your oven and then wipe it down with a clean cloth.

Clean charcoal oven

4. Baking

If you don’t know how to bake, you can get started by signing up for one of our Baking Classes, or any other institution that offers baking lessons.

You can bake very delicious and moist cakes in a charcoal oven

We hope those few tips are helpful, if you have any comments or questions please feel free to post below ^_^

Published by Maureen Kamari

Amari Baking Center offers baking classes to those who want to learn how to bake. We train our students using Cookswell original charcoal ovens. We also offer basic business start-up training for those who want to start small baking businesses. We do groups vocational training anywhere in East Africa as well. We hold classes in our home-based bakery workshop located on Ndwaru road in Riruta, Nairobi; off Naivasha road, next to Pelida School. We use original Cookswell charcoal ovens to bake and train our students due to their efficiency, effectiveness and economy. They are the best option for anyone starting a small baking business on a budget.

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