Pizza Ovens Ireland
An Easy Guide to Building your own Outdoor Pizza Oven
With photos showing you the way
Lighting your Pizza Oven and Cooking Pizza

On this page you will find information on lighting your oven. You'll also find simple recipes which will get you started.    Click here for Page 1 of Pizza Ovens Ireland  which contains the first twenty-one images of How to Build a Wood-Fired Pizza Oven.  All images can be enlarged.  Use back button to return.
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Pizza Oven
Eating quality home-made pizzas has become a very fashionable thing to do.  The big problem is, of course, that you can't pick up a Pizza Oven like you would a gas BBQ.  You have to put some work into acquiring a wood-fired-oven.  However, as anyone who has built an oven will tell you, it's the building of the oven that makes the end product so special. Pizza Ovens, Bread Ovens, Wood-Fired Ovens, are all one and the same.  (Bread is baked at a lower temperature than Pizza).  Stone baked pizza is simply pizza that has been cooked on the brick oven floor.  There are some fancy metal ovens on the market in USA but they use a fire-brick base.  Just goes to show, the brick base is the secret to good pizza.

Lighting the Fire
The first fire you put in your oven after you build it should be modest.  All the water you have used in construction will have to be dried out slowly.  Light a small fire each day for a few days.  10 minutes, 20 minutes, forty minutes, and then one hour.  You will notice some water under the roof but this is quite natural.  It's condensation from the warmth under the roof and the humidity from the dryng process.  When your oven has dried out you can really fire it up.  Use dry, dry, dry wood.  Have a special area in your shed where you keep the driest of all wood for your oven.  Start with newspaper and kindling.  Don't use firelighters as they will taint the first pizzaa.  I try to avoind kindling that has paint on it; the paint melts and might taint your food. Dry kindling makes a satisfying sound, provides great heat, and is pleasing to look at.  Experiment with the oven door before a party.  Remove, replace, fit almost closed etc.  See what happens.  You don't want to be experimenting when you have ten guests waiting for your first pizzas.  Small blocks of dry hardwood (ash, oak, beech, etc..) will bring up the heat in about 1.5 hours or more.  Pine and forstrey firewood will bring the heat up but tends to spark and put little black bits of clinkern on the pizza.
You can get a temp gauge (not essential) which will show you when you are up to 350 - 400 degrees C.  Keep a good supply of blocks nearby so you can tend the fire as you cook.  Occasionally I put in a large dry block of ash.  It gets going quickly and provides the main heat source for the evening once the heat has been achieved.  The small blocks can be used for quick rise in temp when needed.  The temperature will drop slightly as you cook, so, after three pizzas, I rest the oven for five minutes to bring heat back up.  

Oven Temperatures
The oven works as follows:  The fire heats the bricks on your floor and the fire-clay dome overhead.  Because you have insulated properly, this heat will be trapped in the bricks and dome and in the oven!   Remember the heat will leak out if you haven't used your vermiculite and the ceramic blanket.  The oven would still work, but less efficiently.  Keep the fire burning in the front middle of floor at first.  When temperature is reached, you must push the fire back but let it burn away as fiercely as ever.  An amount of smoke coming from the front opening is normal.  This will lessen as the oven and the chimney heat up.  Use a long handled wire or bronze brush  to sweep ash and bits to one side.   You are now ready to slide in your pizza!

Cooking
Cooking the perfect Pizza will come with practice.  What a joy it is to see the cheese and sauce and toppings bubbling in the heat after just one minute.  You MUST turn your pizza so that the farthest away part is brought around to be the nearest part.  That way the crust will crisp up at an even rate.  An aluminium  peel is used to do this 'turning' but some people make a hooked implement to turn the dough.  The peel can be used to lift the edge of the pizza to see how the underneath is cooking.  It doesn't have to be really brown, but a slight honey colour looks good.  The top will want to cook before the base and this is where you can use a larger peel to shelter the top of the pizza from the fire for twenty seconds while the base browns.  Whichever way you cook them, your pizzas will be fantastic.  Fresh ingredients cooked in your own oven, in your garden, with friends and family.  Doesn't get any better.

  Making Pizza Dough           Making Pizza Sauce       Toppings to use         Organising the Pizza Party

   
 Wood Fired Ovens  Brick Ovens  Stone Baked Pizza