Wood fired pizza ovens. The art of building your own wood burning brick bread oven. All you need to build your own chimney, flue/vent, smoke box, firing dome and arch in the serene and welcoming setting of your backyard. The dream of cooking in a wood fired oven is all in the palm of your hand. Join thousands of others, builders and chefs.
For me, all this is about eating wonderful foods prepared by our selves and cooked using a little fire in a wood burning pizza-bread traditional oven. It's visually very pleasing, interesting, as well as efficient and economical. Your friends will be so impressed they will probably follow you by building something suspicious in their homes. Cook meats, roasts, casserole dishes, bake cakes and never have to clean the grease inside the oven → ever! It'll burn in the oven's hearth!
So easy & smart ...
A wood burning pizza/bread oven is an oven made out of clay adobe, refractory fire bricks or refractory concrete (heat resistant mix made from ingredients that can withstand prolonged high heat conditions). Traditionally, ovens were made using material that wasn't costly and was easy to obtain in nature. Nowadays, we have everything we need to build a wood oven readily available in most refractory and building store yards.
Traditional wood burning pizza-bread ovens and cooking using a gentle fire are simply 'the low TEC highly efficient technology'. So primitive and interesting, it will not let us down.
A fire is built inside the oven (now you may say: 'I know that, but what's next?' - just kidding). The fire burns, giving off the heat which the heavy oven walls absorb. When the dome chamber inside is heated to flat white-hot, the fire is allowed to die down or kept burning only very gently for longer. The embers can be swept out of the oven or left somewhere aside in the oven.
Above tutorial continues in part No.2 How to remove ash out from the dome of wood fired pizza oven.
Short film of MTo pizza oven / Ferrari oven design, by Jim (free hand-picked stones collected for the whole construction out in the nature surrounding his home.)
During the firing, the oven door is open and the flue at the chimney, if there is a chimney, is also left open. When we stop the fire and the embers are swept out of the oven, the door and/or the chimney are closed. The wood oven is then let to rest for a few minutes to allow the heat in the dome to even out, and for the temperature from the fire to drop down a bit. At first, the oven is around 800°F or 425°C perfect for making fast in 90 seconds thin and crispy pizzas, however very nice pizzas are being done also in 300°C - 572°F temp, but it's still too hot for bread. When the temperature has dropped to around 450°F or 230°C, then it is time to put big roasts and other large meals in.
Bread goes in last so it does not bake too fast on the outside - as it most definitely could due to the fact that the pizza cooking temperature is nearly twice as high than the bread, cakes baking or roasting temperature. If needed to convert temperature scales, etc., use the automatic calculators. Brick ovens are extremely efficient basically in all culinary aspects, and radiate out the impressive pleasing character of course.
Pizza, bread, cakes, sausages, meat, cookies bake from the heat of the wood fire stored in the walls of the wood oven. Heat is spread around by radiating out of every heat source (it's a physical law called blackbody radiation, as in our sun or electric radiator). All of the radiant heat absorbed in by the oven floor and walls is now slowly radiating out, spreading around and working for us. And very efficiently actually, evenly.
Complete tutorial with pictures on how to make a good pizza
Just like with a floor heating at home the radiant heat source from the heated floor and the whole vault and walls of the oven comes from everywhere, from an every square bit. Not just from a single one spot but from the whole surface area of the hot face. This heat is conducted and spreads around in the dense material evenly. Firebricks are excellent for this energy distribution.
You can read more about the wall mass and the importance of a back up thermal heat insulation various types later in these pages. And so-forth the refractory concrete information.
Nice pizza dough recipe that works well.
This depends on how well the dome of our wood oven is insulated on the outside, and also on how much wall mass the oven has, see(?), here you go. After heating up the very massive oven walls get hot enough to cook easily for a whole day. Traditionally, we cook with the oven's radiant heat, placing foods into the oven right as the temperature reaches the stage appropriate for the food. These ovens were traditionally used also to dry fruits, mushrooms, herbs or the firing wood for the next firing if it's fresh or too wet from the rain. They produce very useful low temperatures as well as the hot cooking environments for cooking the superb pizzas. My favorite activity is to cook or slow-roast all kinds of meats and to achieve very nice tenderness with the option for that lovely smoked flavor.
Wood ovens, particularly ovens made using firebricks, have domes that are only about 4 inches thick (10 cm). If well insulated on outside, then this is perfectly satisfactory for pizza oven and not as much for baking. But once you decide to build your own wood burning oven and after cooking pizzas you will prefer to do proper baking or roast large pieces of meats slow way at stable temperature, consider making the walls up to 6 inches (15 cm) thick by adding on 2 inches concrete cladding layer; such brick ovens will stay hot enough to cook for at least 6 hours using the heat energy generated at pizza making time (it's a worthy project and heaps of fun afterwards.)
The extra dense mass is crucial for properly performing ovens. With this additional layer called dense cladding, which is applied on top of firebricks, your oven will be a lot more efficient in production sense and smoothness of baking evenly and for other delicious culinary activities, plus stronger in the durability sense. You may need to heat it up a little longer, but those 20 minutes and a few bucks extra for concrete gravel etc. will pay you well off and you will be more happy in the end. To be stable even every quality commercial pizza oven and Conveyor ovens must use dense layers on hot face.
Inside-Restaurants, we can watch the small fire inside a wood oven. They operate their ovens this way in order to maintain even temperature over a long period of time. You know how happy the owner is to use their wood burning oven; it changes the whole situation a lot for them. Basically, they operate wood oven the way a "modern" oven is operated except the fuel is a firewood and the shapes are different.
Wood burning pizza ovens have temperatures normally higher in the ceiling above and the floor is normally cooler (another physical law, convection, says heat is inclined to go up).
However when the oven gets closed for a couple of minutes both vault and floor become equaly radiant in the heating sense, it's very quick to get the conditions inside Nice n' Even. Pizza is done with the door opened and with ongoing fire or bulk of very hot red embers still radiating inside the oven. This cooks pizza in about 90 seconds, leaving it with no burnt edges or bottom of the pizza base.
It is impossibly expensive to maintain this temperature for a long periods of time in gas or electric ovens, and it's also not environmentally friendly to use modern conventional appliances*. Restaurant wood burning ovens are being used primarily for pizza and are being kept at a lower temperature because they keep the fire on and these ovens still cook fast. They are extremely easy to run, and guess what- They do not have to be cleaned from grease! Grease in the oven burns out on it's own. Now, if you have ever cleaned your busy oven at home, you know or you can easily imagine how this works.
Why is pizza best from a wood burning oven? See this page link:
Making pizza traditional way, by using small fire.
* I will write in here also about wood naturally rotting when left on the ground produces precisely and creates exactly as much of the same bad gases as burning it, and how much of this gas the actual tree absorbed when growing into its body or branch when alive, the same amount that goes out in burning it. About burning a coal (fossil fuel) in power stations and its carbon emission, or about controlled bush fires and sugar cane burning.
Normally, one and half hour is the very correct answer.
If you are just going to bake bread, then you should operate your oven the traditional way, with embers left to die or swept out of the wood pizza bread oven. It is the only one best way for building up the steam inside the oven at early baking stages to give you the ultimate crust. But if you are baking pizza and also making foods for dinner, roasting a chicken, a leg of lamb, potatoes, baking a pie, etc., then I suggest keeping a small fire in the oven, as they do in restaurants.
This absorbed heat makes the cooking very easy. After that culinary mentioned above, put your breads in and close the wooden oven's door which has been soaked in a bucket of water. You may watch oven's temperature using an oven thermometer to see how hot you are. It is possible to economically reload several bread batches and such from one heating up if the oven was constructed logically, therefore technically efficient as is the MTo oven design for instance.
But you don't really have to go into the expense of buying a thermometer. How to figure this out is easy, please read my tutorial on how to find out how hot your wood oven is, the traditional sure way as I used to do it. Now I don't really check the temperature any more, and you will not need too either after cooking for the third time.
As per home ovens, the longest time I have seen is 2 hours for an oven being fired up to the carbon burn of temperature - it was a bigger family home oven holding heat comfortably for 40 breads surface area, whole lamb or 6 roasting pots with lids for big turkeys. Backyard or house wood burning ovens will be fully heated up in 1 to 1 1/2 hours. This is the aim. There is an early phase in the firing when the oven can smoke as you start it- it lacks fire kick start, it has thermal inertia. This is minimized by using dry wood, thin kindling, and blowing air into it. As the fire builds up in the temperature, the gasses given off by the burning wood will ignite and the whole oven will be filled with flames not smoke.
It is important when you build the oven to design and to make the flue in the front (also often referred to as hood, vent or smoke box or just flue box) and the chimney connection on top correctly as they draw off and direct the exhaust, and as well, it is very important to calculate carefully the 63% ratio of the entry door height to the inside dome vault height for proper burning. Construction of these two parts is not difficult but significant for achieving the best function within your oven. Necessity equal to the heat insulation on top which protect the energy stored after the heating process.
There are two types of thermometers owners of any wood burning oven can use;
I absolutely prefer this self standing thermometer type, it is sufficient and completely everything needed.
However, for people who have a higher demand, any digital oven thermometer obviously will measure fine as well ... still, invest into a digital thermometer only if you were interested to experiment or otherwise there's not extra benefit really.
Waste wood, old furniture, branches from trees, these are all sources of firing wood. You may want to split larger pieces, I do. But burn natural wood- don't burn wood that is painted or soaked with chemicals.
DIY building a wood oven can be simple or complex, depending on what you would like to build. You can tend towards the simple side at first for testing the cooking or build proper oven right from start.
First wood burning oven may even be built using cleaned old solid red clay building bricks, one can get them for free or build such oven for less than 150 bucks. But proper and lasting oven can be completed from around 750 bucks total very easily if you apply my single-simple-idea but logical one for the material gathering (well even 650.) We always do that as it'$ worthy! There is then a beauty saving generated for landscaping expenses and furniture, if it's needed. Otherwise if no a special/expensive decorative material was used the total cost can reach 1500 and above easily. I placed here detailed workshop plans on CD's full of information for building a few oven designs: simple ones and more advanced, tutorials, and complete instructions on DIY and building your own chef cook wood ovens. Here is a first one: Plans for quality wood burning brick oven - 3 oven designs shipped on one DVD or all links sent via one quick email and anyone can start building planning.
I am working on it while building and taking pictures of each stage as in my other tutorials here in this www.traditionaloven.com site. Here is a next oven I call Masterly wood oven ® with a nice brick decorations technique for people who never laid a brick before will find this very easy way (oven has special firebrick part) - its outside walls are calling for imperfections visually effective - even for experienced bricklayers. The oven has revolutionary dome design I put immense work into- structurally high quality, spacious, easy to form into any desired size but in contrast nearly no need for cutting firebricks!
If you'd like to own an oven like the one mentioned above or any other size or shape, but have no time to build by your self, make an offer and we can consult further.
I will be delighted to hear any wood oven building suggestions that you may have.
Thank you and enjoy.
Wood fired ovens building inspiration, Culinary Arts & More.
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