In this post, I will cover one of the most important and maybe challenging subjects when you own a wood-fired pizza oven.
How do you heat up the oven to reach the desired temperature? How do you maintain the heat? What else can you do to use the heat to its fullest potential?
Without further ado, let’s get started.
How Do You Get Your Fire Started?
To get the fire started, you will need the following equipment:
- Two pieces of firestarter, matches and scrunched up paper (e.g.Newspaper)
- plenty of dry firewood
- heat resistant hand gloves
- pizza oven rake
Put the kindling, paper, and fire starter together into a pile and start stacking the dry firewood logs around it. It should look like a little tower.
Carefully move this pile with your hands inside the oven chamber. To push it deeper inside you need to use the oven rake.
Now you can lite the fire with the matches. It should only take a few minutes until the wood starts burning.
How Do I Reach The Desired Temperature?
After you started the fire, keep adding wood to build up the heat. You need to keep feeding the fire.
The best temperature to cook pizza is at around 750 Fahrenheit (400 Celsius). If you use a brick oven, the pre-heating time will take between 1,5 to 2 hours to get to this temperature.
The actual cooking is not on the fire but from the heat that has been stored on the floor, the walls and the dome. That means while you preheat the oven, shift the fire around with the help of the oven rake. Don’t forget to use the heat resistant gloves. It will be scorching by now!
After 1,5 hours it is time to check the temperature. Either your oven has a built-in thermometer, or you could use a handheld Temperature Gun. In general, I recommended using a temperature gun because it measures the heat more accurately than a built-in thermometer.
My review about infrared thermometers also shows you so many more uses, not only for cooking.
While you are busy heating up the oven and shifting the wood around, I am sure you will be pretty hungry by now. Here is a tip: start cooking your first dishes.
You can put bacon, sausages, vegetables or chicken wings into a casserole dish and put it into the oven. They will be ready in no time.
In the meantime, you can get all the ingredients for your pizza ready!
Read more about my all-time favorite pizza recipe here.
The Temperature Is Right, Yippie!
Excellent job, well done. The wait is over.
The oven has reached a temperature of 750 Fahrenheit (400 Celsius). But before you can put the pizza in, you need to shift the burned wood on one site. The cleared area is still covered in a bit of dust and ashes. So you don’t want this to be on your pizza. With the help of a pizza oven brush, we will clean the area.
Now the exciting part: put the pizza in the oven by using a pizza peel. Sprinkle the pizza peel with some flour first so the pizza can slide off easily. While the pizza is cooking, it is important to turn it every 30 seconds. That way the pizza cooks evenly.
After roughly two minutes you can enjoy a perfectly cooked pizza with a yummy crunchy crust and crispy cooked toppings. Delectable!
What Else Can You Do To Use The Heat?
Besides cooking pizza, you can use the heat to cook several other delicious meals. As mentioned before, you could put a casserole dish with chicken wings, sausages, vegetables or potatoes into the oven. It is also a fantastic idea to put a cast iron grill rack on top of the embers and cook the most flavorsome steaks.
The great thing about a brick oven is that it will retain the heat for hours. For instance, after you have finished cooking your pizza etc., seal the oven with a door and come back in the morning. By the morning, the temperature will be decreased down to approx. 400/450 Fahrenheit (200/250 Celcius). This is the perfect temperature to bake a bread or to cook breakfast.
Another option is to slow cook some pork, beef or lamb for lunch or dinner. All it takes is a bit of planning and preparation. 🙂
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or leave a comment in the box below.
Happy Cooking Everyone!