Baking a homemade pie in a wood-fired outdoor pizza oven is an awesome experience; it’s hands-on, gives the pizza a unique flavor, and makes for a really cool way to entertain friends and family. Of course, it can take a little practice to get just right. Here’s how you can get a handle on controlling your oven’s temperature.
It all starts with a well-built fire. Make sure the door is left slightly open and the chimney damper is set to completely open so your fire can get sufficient oxygen. On the left side of the oven, tent some small sticks around some crumpled newspaper for kindling, place a few larger pieces over the structure, and light the kindling underneath. After an initial smoking period, the fire should catch, and the oven should begin to warm. At this point, partially close the chimney damper halfway, so as to still let smoke escape. Partially closing the damper helps the oven preheat quicker! You may need to add more wood—or even more kindling—to ensure that your fire doesn’t snuff out before it can stabilize.
True radiant heat is paramount to the success of baking a pizza in a wood-fired pizza oven. The dome of the oven reflects heat from the fire back downward from several directions simultaneously. This radiant heat is what melts the cheese and cooks the toppings through. During this time, you’ll need to carefully monitor your fire and make sure you’re adding fuel at a reasonable rate, neither starving it nor building it up too far.
To get your oven up to the right temperature, it is important to note the distinction between chamber temperature and floor temperature. Because heat rises, the chamber usually reaches the desired temperature before the stone floor heats. Generally, a good floor temperature for wood-fired pizza ovens with our Standard stones is around 750° F (or 850° F if using our Saputo stones), which gives a cook time of just one to two minutes. We use a digital infrared thermometer to accurately measure the stone temperature. This is critical for achieving consistent results in baking the pizza. If the stones aren’t hot enough, the top of the pizza will burn before the dough underneath can fully cook. Use the chimney damper to help regulate the temperature. An open damper will make the interior temperature drop. A mostly closed damper will result in the chamber maintaining a consistent temperature (or a rising temperature depending how strong the fire is).
If you consider yourself a food connoisseur, baking your own pizza in a wood oven is a must-add to your bucket list. With an authentic, professional-grade oven from Fontana Forni, you can bring the traditional goodness of Italian brick pizza ovens right into your backyard.
Browse our ovens online or call us at (877) 842-9822 for more information.