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How to set up fire in wood burning brick ovens

How to fire and heat up wood burning pizza ovens. Pictures of different types of fires in wood burning brick oven. Starting the wood fire and keeping a continuous fire for a long time pizzas making.

Not everyone can imagine right away how to set up a fire in the wood fired brick oven. For instance, I couldn't imagine how to fly a jumbo jet or perform a brain surgery (by the way we had all these people in here reading these pages.) Hence I will introduce you to it with the help of pictures, with a..

.. devotion of an own brother.

Now, if you have never closely encountered with firing brick wood oven (that's ok if not yet, when you build your own then you will heat it up all the time) here you have a close up shots of what it looks like inside. No need to use a positive imagination in this respect.

This tutorial continues in part No.2 How to remove ash out from the dome of wood fired oven.

Lightening of fire using kindling firewood.
Setting newspaper on fire with dry kindling wood on top

Nothing special, assuming your oven has well sized ratio of entry door height to inside dome height required for a good combustion, the fire behaves just the way as would any fire on the open space. Except flames are naturally bending as their tongues lick the low ceiling of the chamber.

More kindling firewood into the fire in wood oven.
Adding more dry wood into the small fire

Once the fire reached some strength we start to put on slightly larger pieces of firewood. From the start up point till now passed about 5-7 minutes. Now the activity slows down a bit as larger pieces take longer time to burn. Notice under also more embers turning out from the burnt wood.

Starting with large pieces of wood in the oven.
Starting with larger pieces of fire wood

Heating the floor, walls and vault or dome in well built and insulated ovens. As soon as there is a nice bed of red hot embers on the hearth floor, it takes somewhere close to 15 minutes, you can put on large piece of fire wood, just one will do. If you see it's taking longer to burn add one or with some smaller pieces of wood as well.

Firewood of a large size on the hot embers in the oven.
When more red embers develop add one big fire wood piece

* How to heat up pizza oven in only 1-1/2 hour - short film created by Rob - firing their own MTo design oven. Rob produced more films; one is on home page, or building details page, two are on cooking page, another on pizza dough page.

Enlarge the below picture please, see those little flames coming out of slow burning of that large firewood piece. This is how the small or gentle fire kept for a long time in the brick oven looks like. Keeping it in this way, ones the wood oven dome is hot, will allow you cooking pizzas continuously. The gentle fire source inside the oven keeps on the ceiling, floor and walls heating.

When you are after bread baking leave it burn fully down and once your oven cools downwards (by that time the inside-the-mass atmosphere also beautifully evens up) put the breads in and close the dome with a wet/saturated with water wooden door to create the initially desired steam and keeping it very stable within the inside. Soak the door well by dipping it in a bucket of water - that's all what's required.

Find out how to make wooden door for the brick oven, and come back please we haven't finish here yet.

Fire keeping for long cooking in the wood firing ovens.
Keeping a small fire for continuous cooking

Suppose you come across a nice dry tree branch but it is too long. Not always you have to cut it into short lengths. Stick it inside the oven along the entry door side and all the way to the end of the dome (bellow picture). It will burn of and after some time as it gets shorter just push it into the oven again. I do this on a regular basis when I am heating the dome up saving my own physical energy and the saw blade.

Burning long branch in the burning oven's dome.
Firewood in a form of a long dry branch works perfectly

We keep continuous small fire pushed to side to free the space for meals. It's very easy to push the light ash and embers to a side. In case the fire slows more then it should, usually is enough to throw in on top of embers some tiny kindling firewood, such as when we started the fire at first, and it will ignite on it's own as wood gets hot.

Fire embers in wood oven made of bricks.
It is very easy to push the fire to a side

Above picture shows the remaining end of that same long branch, just mentioned, used for firing the wood oven.

Igniting fire again using dry kindling wood on hot embers.
Igniting fire again using small firewood kindling

A wood oven with a thick heat absorption wall mass will take about 1 hour to fully heat up to highest cooking temperature. You do not need to set up a massive, too large fire. More time you allow to absorb the heat from a moderate fire into the dome walls of your oven more evenly the heat will distribute in ovens walls and then equally radiate around the dome, that's good for cooking or baking, oven gets the same temperature in every corner inside.

Fire is heating up this brick oven.
Burning firewood heats up the oven - 5 sec. long exposition time

People in general find wood burning ovens very captivating. Especially after tasting the food !!! The place all around the oven can be made warm, like with a mystic feel to it. if you plan to build your own oven start to collect also some rustic items that can lay in the area. From the sitting place it's great to look into the chamber with the fire on, mostly in the evening. Ouu, my goodness just be careful so your friends do not 'dring vino tuu much' :-))). With pizzas, roasted leg or anything else this could be so easy to happen.

Firing atmosphere around in the wood burning oven.
Look carefully - quietly - into your oven to spot the fire dwarf

Maybe you've had a thought about me, "what is this man doing here?" But I enjoy developing this web site, I like to write, work on wood burning ovens and take pictures. Not because I receive very nice feedback from all over the world but because it is my passion to do this for you. Hoping you enjoy being here.

This tutorial continues in part No.2 out from the dome of wood fired oven.

Thank you and,

by Rado Hand

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