Pizzas need to be cooked in a proper environment with enough heat to get that perfect finish. Here we will teach you how to build a wood-fire pizza oven with a step-by-step guide.
Back in ancient times, pizza was considered as food for peasants. It was looked down upon because it was too simple and is not right to be fed to the royalties as it did not have flavor.
However, nowadays, pizza has come a long way and has become one of the favorite foods all over the world. It is now eaten by any person of any social class as it tastes delicious.
From being one of the most boring foods during its first years to now being one of the most versatile foods in terms of flavor. Pizza is the best cheat day food and comfort food as well.
Cooking it is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. However, up to this day, you need specific conditions in order to create the best pizza that you can have with crispy crusts.
One secret in making the perfect pizza is to cook it on a surface that is able to eliminate the moisture inside the dough. That is why we have pizza steels and pizza stones now.
But is it really authentic if you did not cook it in the same kind of oven, or in the same way that the Italians did hundreds of years ago? Well, that depends on your personal preferences.
Pizza can be cooked in any appliance that you want as long as you reach the right temperature for the crust to become crispy.
However, wood-fired ovens are still the best option for cooking it.
Wood-fired ovens or brick ovens are the ones responsible for putting that unique flavor that you can taste in authentic pizzas. So here is how to make one in your backyard to cook your pizzas.
A Bit Of History
This is just a bit of homage to the amazing food that is pizza so bear with us. The history of pizza is a very great story as it has come a long way from being the worst food to now.
But we have talked about that in the introduction so what about the brick ovens or the wood-fired ovens? We have so many options right now that you can just buy your oven.
However, these ovens are often made out of different materials to make them convenient. They offer lightweight options so they might cook like the original but they still are not the right ones.
Wood-fired ovens are usually made with bricks and clay. Such ovens unearthed from hundreds of years ago still work up to this day if they are properly cleaned and fired up once again.
These are usually used by families in the same area. So the communal ovens were popular back then as they can cater to many people and not just one family in that case.
These ovens are usually made outdoors in between houses. They have become bigger as the years went by and people were able to bake loaves of bread for the whole village.
It was not until recently that we made wood-fired ovens to be as small as they can be so we can use them anywhere we go. This, in turn, made us forget about the heavy and large ovens.
These aesthetically pleasing ovens are great for your backyard as they will last forever if taken care of properly. So read on as we start with the process of building your wood-fired oven.
Of course, you cannot make large ovens anywhere without actually planning the building process. You need to find the right spot for the wood-fired oven to be built upon.
Depending on the size of your setup area, you are going to adjust the dimensions of the oven. If you have a large backyard, then you can find space where you can move around with the oven on it.
Another thing, you need to keep it out of flammable objects and nearby things that can be damaged by heat. These ovens produce immense heat of over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Study A Bit
It would not hurt to know more about these ovens before you actually build one yourself. This will let you know what factors are needed to be considered before making the oven.
Before you follow the instructions on Google to just put bottles and bricks together, you need to know the science behind the process of making these ovens.
So here are the simple sciences behind the wood-fired brick ovens. First, the depth of the chamber, the chimney, height, width, and other measurements need to be precise.
Precision is one of the most important factors in making the wood-fired in order to give way to the air it will need.
Airflow is the key to keeping the heat inside the oven at optimal temperatures.
Second, are the materials that you will need to use when building the oven. You will need to purchase refractory materials that can withstand temperatures of up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.
With these two simple factors, you are going to have a wood-fired, authentic brick oven that will last for hundreds of years of cooking the best pizzas from one generation to the next.
So now that you have done the planning and researching part, let us go step-by-step to the building process of your amazing wood-fired brick oven in your backyard.
What You Will Need
Note that these materials are meant for high-heat retention. They are also available in most hardware stores so you should not have any problems finding them.
1. At least 30 bricks– these bricks will be used in making the floor of the oven. At least 20 of these bricks should be smooth with no holes nor perforations on them.
2. 20 breeze blocks and 5 kilograms of cement. You can also get 20 120 cm by 120 cm by 20 cm wooden beams meant for the plinth frame (and wood screws to secure them in place).
3. Big Stones. Get as many as you can.
4. Around 200 to 300 kilograms of builder’s sand. That is roughly 10 to 15 bags.
5. 130 to 180 kilograms of clay. Any clay will do, even the cheapest ones.
6. Assorted bottles and roughly 6 kilograms of wood shavings.
7. Add more bricks to the purchase or a clay pot for the chimney.
The other tools and equipment that you will need should be found in the house such as a hammer, baskets, knives, water, tape, and boots so there is no need to purchase them.
If you want to skip everything and check out a simple way of doing it then do take a look at this video below!
Before we get into the steps of making your wood-fired oven, it is important to note that the mixing of the clay and sand will be time-consuming so do it only when you need the mixture.
First Step: Make The Plinth
First, you need to clear the floor and then dig a shallow hole with the dimensions of 120 cm by 120 cm. This will be the foundation of your oven so you need to make sure that it is sturdy.
If you use breeze blocks or bricks on this part, you are going to need cement right away. If you use wood (which I recommend), then screw them tightly together and then set them on the hole.
Aim for a solid box made out of the wood beams with a height of 1 meter. Put rubble of stones in the middle of the wood and then add sand to fill the gaps between the stones.
Second Step: Insulation/Heat Sink
After flattening the sand over the stones, put the bottles on the sand, and secure them in place by pushing them down into the sand until they are hardly moving.
Make sure to put some space between the bottles in order to allow them to expand and contract when the heat from above them has reached its maximum temperature.
These will act as heat sinks where the heat is used to warm the bottom and then radiate it back up into the oven to cook the crust of your pizza or bread.
Top the bottles with sand and then with smooth bricks. This will be the cooking surface so make sure that the bricks are as smooth as they can be and that they fit perfectly together.
Third Step: Make The Dome Mold
Use the sand to make a dome-like structure by placing it over the plinth that you just made. Make sure to keep it circular by looking over the top of the dome from time to time.
Cover the dome of sand with paper to keep it from drying out and then start layering the clay. This dome should be around 45 cm high and 80 centimeters in diameter.
Follow the shape of the sand dome and put the clay all over it. Be precise and add water in order to make the shape smoother or more appealing then let it dry for four hours.
After four hours, the clay should still be a little bit wet and soft but it should be hard enough to take the shape of the dome. From there, use a knife to cut the entrance out (30cm by 20cm).
Fourth Step: The Door And The Chimney
Get more of the bricks and start layering them up in the entrance that you have just cut. The spaces in between the bricks should be filled with clay to follow the shape of the dome entrance.
Get a nice arch as an entrance and fill the gaps with clay. After that, cut a hole on the dome right on top of the arch and then build a collar around it with clay.
This will serve as the chimney of the oven. Use rings of clay and then smoothen it out by using more water around it with every layer until the hole is around 4 inches tall.
Fifth Step: The Shell
This is going to be the final layer of clay that you need to put on the dome and just like the first dome, you will need to layer the clay all around the oven until the first layer is covered.
The wall should be around 7 to 10 cm thick. This will help the insulation within the oven and make it heat up even when it is raining outside the dome.
Wait for about two hours to dry it out. Once it is dry, it should be strong enough for you to remove the sand and the paper inside the dome that you used earlier for the mold.
Let the oven dry out for another couple of days or go for a week. Clean it once more and then fire it up!
Starting Up The Fire
This oven is pretty easy to use as you only need to put some small blocks of wood by the entrance right under the chimney. Light it with paper and then let them heat up.
Use another set of wood to help the fire go higher. Let the fire go larger before slowly pushing the woods toward the back of the oven, do it slowly to keep the fire going.
Let the fire heat up the entire chamber of the oven.
Add more wood but just enough for the pizza to fit in the chamber. Keep the fire burning and then place your pizza in the oven, it will only take 60 seconds to cook the pizza perfectly.
Pizza is a great recipe and when done in the most authentic way, it can be the best. Wood-fired ovens give that authentic taste to your pizza with a little bit of smoky flavor.
The brick flooring of these ovens will help you in cooking the best crusts. These ovens are great for making pizzas or other baked goods without worrying about electric bills.
They are able to produce heat that is twice the temperature that a conventional oven can produce. That is the perfect temperature for cooking authentic pizzas.
One misconception about wood-fire brick ovens is that they are expensive. But as you can see, the materials needed are not that expensive and you can easily purchase them.
So if you are a pizza enthusiast and you would love to cook your pizzas as authentic as possible, then invest in a small amount of money and make your simple wood-fired pizza oven!
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