How to set up your fire in wood burning pizza oven.

Firing Your Pizza Oven

Build your fire in the center (left to right and front to back) of the pizza oven using 7-9 sticks of dry kindling, one to two odor-free, non-toxic fire starters, and two to three pieces of seasoned medium or hardwood. Alternatively, you can light your fire with a butane torch. It can be easier and faster than the traditional match or lighter. Try to avoid wax and sawdust fireplace starters, and they could leave a taste in your food.

Once the fire gets going, add 2-3 pieces of wood so that the flame reaches the center and front of the dome of your oven, without lapping too far out of the pizza oven opening. Use seasoned wood that is roughly 3’-4’ in diameter, and roughly 18’ long. Your firewood should not smolder or smoke before catching fire, and should burn easily and quickly. Once the fire is well established, continue adding more wood, and wait for about 20 minutes. 

Heating the Dome 

After about 20 minutes, a small spot at the top center of the pizza oven dome should start to turn clear (or white), and then begin expanding outward. This “whitening” is the sign that the dome is reaching the desired cooking temperature. This change occurs when the carbon accumulated on the oven dome reaches about 700ºF and turns from black to clear.

The photos show the top of the dome starting to turn clear, then the sides, and finally a completely clear dome, ready for wood fired cooking.

Once the whitening has started, begin building the fire toward the walls of the oven by adding pieces of wood on either side of the fire, and in the back. This wider fire will help drive the necessary heat across the entire cooking floor, and evenly spread heat across the cooking dome. Within a few minutes, you will see the whitening spreading across the dome to the sides.

Reaching Cooking Temperatures

Depending on the size of your oven, after roughly 45 minutes, the entire cooking dome will turn clear, and the cooking surface will have reached the desired 700ºF for cooking wood fired oven pizza; you will have also saturated your oven with the heat it will need for baking and roasting. Some people prefer to let the oven rest for 10-20 minutes after moving the fire to the side of the oven. Waiting is not required (you are can start baking pizza immediately,) but it does cool the floor a bit, reducing the chance of burning the dough on your first pizza.

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