A wood fired pizza oven is THE most authentic way to cook a traditional Italian pizza.
They can be used both indoors (with proper ventilation in-place) and outdoors, and can reach temperatures of up to 425 degrees celsius – cooking thin-crust pizzas in a lightening quick 90 seconds! Now that’s fast (and very delicious) food.
You can even implement a grill mesh to go in the oven to cook some of the most amazing char-grilled burgers and meat.
They take around 45 mins to 1 1/2 hours to heat up to full temperature from starting the initial fire, depending on the size and insulation ability of the oven.
They’re also versatile, giving you the space and ability to cook a range of different dishes – not just pizza.
Wood Fired Pizza Oven Fuel
Being wood fired the fuel for these ovens is . . . you guessed it – wood!
The best wood to use is any dry, hardwood such as oak, chopped into kindling around 3 inches thick and 10cm long – but you could also get more adventurous and impart different flavours on your food by trying different fruit woods, almond wood, or olive wood.
Avoid using resinous woods such as pine or spruce as it will ruin the oven floor and the smell/flavour is often very intense with the potential to ruin your dishes.
Start the fire near the chimney (near the entrance of the oven) to begin with, then when it’s a bit stronger, move to the middle of the oven for a few minutes, before moving the fire to the side of the oven so that cooking can take place in the middle.
The best way to start the fire in your pizza oven is using a piece of dry scrunched-up newspaper or a natural firelighter.
Cooking in a Wood Fired Pizza Oven
Depending on what you are planning to cook in your wood fired pizza oven, there are three different types of cooking technique:
High Heat – Using lots of wood, build the fire in the side of the oven to the point the flames climb up the wall of the oven and finish around the middle of the ceiling of the oven. This technique is used for pizzas and breads/appetisers – cooking in a matter of minutes.
Roasting – Using a moderate amount of wood, build the fire in the side of the oven to the point the flames just about reach the oven ceiling directly above the fire. This technique is perfect for roasting chicken, providing a perfectly browned skin but also cooking through whilst retaining tenderness and juices
Baking – Use a small amount of wood to just about maintain a small flame. This technique is used for many pasta dishes, breads, and veggies.
Wood Fired Pizza Oven Maintenance
After use, just leave to cool and burn-out, then sweep clean. It’s that simple!
No need to clean as the intense fire burns off any spillages or dirt.
If built properly, a wood-fired pizza oven should require very little repair work or other maintenance than a simple sweep inside the oven and a wipe-down on the outside using a damp cloth – they are very low maintenance.
Top Tips for a Wood Fired Pizza Oven
- Expect regular cooking times on any recipes (unless they have been written specifically for using a pizza oven) to be reduced by around a third
- If you want to dampen the flames on your wood fired pizza oven, or put them out completely, use an oven door to prevent oxygen from fueling the fire (do not attempt to remove burning wood from the oven)
- If your wood is smoking too much, hissing, or crackling, then it is likely that you are using green wood, and should switch to a kiln-dried hardwood for maximum burning efficiency
- DO NOT use glass dishes or pots/pans with wooden or plastic handles, they will crack/explode/burn/melt. Only use steel or cast iron pots and pans