How to Build a DIY Pizza Oven
March 19th marked the spring equinox in the United States, and with the summer solstice on the horizon, it’s probably not a stretch to say that the warmer temperatures and longer days are making you itch for a new project. If you’re an avid entertainer, or if you’re raising a pack of hungry wolf-children, a DIY outdoor pizza oven is a fantastic project that will last for years, provide countless hours of entertainment and meals, and add value to your home.
A sturdy and sound pizza oven isn’t exactly the simplest thing to build in the world, however. After all, History.com notes that it took the Italian Queen Margherita until 1889 to finally be impressed by the offerings of Naples’ first pizzeria. It must have been good since her name stuck.
The challenge of building a masonry pizza oven comes from the necessity of a consistent, yet very hot, source of flame, according to Giordano’s. Some enthusiasts even go to as much care as to import an oven from Naples, though that may be overdoing it.
Before jumping into a project like this, it might be a good idea to consider using an outdoor pizza oven kit that will come with the elements you need to build an oven capable of the steady, evenly convected blaze that an authentic pizza needs to let its flavor shine through.
Building kits for success
Avoiding unnecessary planning
Though we aren’t ones to make assumptions, it’s statistically likely you aren’t a tenth-generation Neapolitan mason; and that’s okay! An enthusiasm for DIY construction is enough to fuel your drive for this project, but a pizza oven’s design is the culmination of centuries’ worth of baking pies. Building the entire thing yourself is a process fraught with potential pitfalls, since it entails constructing the vital dome oven top yourself, as generations of oven builders have done for centuries.
Finding a DIY kit that comes with exhaustive instructions, essential tools for the finished project, and most importantly, an oven base that’s modeled carefully after efficient and time-proven design for an optimal pizza oven setup will let you focus on building the oven, instead of how you might build the oven.
Worry less about the final product
A DIY kit’s expert construction also confers the advantage of a finished product that won’t leave you wringing your hands in worry when you first fire it up. The combination of industry-approved design and skilled, deliberate craftsmanship are essential to the success of any project, but especially a pizza oven. Dome cracks, poor temperature management, or uneven heating are all potential issues that can befall a homemade oven, succinctly put by Pinkbird.
Kits also help you avoid making mistakes that can cost you both time, and money. Clear instructions and the correct building blocks for an oven come with the right kit, and will be invaluable resources to keep you on track during the project. In other words, you won’t wash your hands after proclaiming victory only to find a brick missing when you light the firewood.
Choosing the right kit
Questions to ask yourself before starting this project should also include those about what you want your DIY pizza oven to look like when it’s finished. Depending on where you’d like to put your oven, whether or not you’d like to add artistic touches in the form of paints, stains, or tiles, and how large it should be, your decision on what the oven should look like can change.
The easiest method is to begin with an outdoor pizza oven kit, as DIY network points out. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of DIY pizza oven kits available in varying sizes, dome shapes, and support for varying kinds of masonry that can be used to build the roof and foundation of the oven. The right DIY kit should give you ample opportunity to tweak its superficial design to something that will look great, and more importantly, still cook great.
Wood or gas-fired?
The question of the century. Purists, like the industry experts at Chicago Brick Oven, will say that true pizza is cooked over a wood fire. That said, they also admit that a gas-fired oven has the advantages of maintaining the temperature inside the oven without constantly tending to a fire, which may be a valid concern if you’re attempting to be a part host with the most, or are chasing down crazed children on the loose before dinnertime.
When it comes down to it, however, your decision won’t jeopardize the choices in DIY kits available to you. The wide variety of shapes and sizes that DIY pizza oven kits offer also extend to variations in gas or wood-fired designs that offer the same attention to detail, tradition, and enjoyable home use regardless of how it gets hot. That being said, if you go with gas, try not to invite a Neopolitan over for your 4th of July party.
If you’re ready to start a project that will let you, your family, and your dog spend countless hours outdoors cooking great food, then let us at Patio and Pizza help you get the process started with one of our industry standard DIY pizza oven kits. You’ll thank us when the kids stop asking for delivery.