Cooking in a pizza oven has become more popular as home chefs are increasingly using this ancient method of cooking to add some flair to their dishes. This method of cooking helps to create unique flavors that aren’t achieved with other fuel methods such as gas or electricity.
Cooking in a Pizza Oven
Heating up your pizza oven differs depending on whether you have a wood fired or gas fired oven. While both require the same temperatures for cooking, the method in which they heat are very different.
So, how do wood fired brick ovens actually heat up? Putting pieces of wood in an outdoor brick oven creates fire and heat, which is absorbed by the oven - this is what we call the firing stage.
As shown in the video below, start with small pieces of wood and then add additional wood to build your fire.
Depending on your oven, building the fire to a maximum temperature of more than 800°F can take 30 minutes to two hours. Once you've fired up your oven, we recommend cooking several types of dishes while the oven is hot rather than just cooking one dish, like pizza.
For gas ovens, the heat source is typically located in either the back or the side of the oven. The heat will directly heat the dome first while indirectly heating the cooking floor. Therefore, it often takes longer for a gas fired pizza oven to raise the floor to a hotter temperature.
Planning Your Wood Fired Meal
You need to plan the sequence of dishes when cooking in a gas or wood fired brick oven, and at what intervals. You can start with the dish that needs the most heat and leave the one that needs the least amount of heat last.
Use a suitable handheld infrared thermometer to track the temperature inside, and add or remove pieces of wood to adjust the temperature suitable for the food. If you feel the current temperature is too low for your food, just add another piece of log. If need be, you can also keep a small fire in the oven to help retain the heat in the oven.
Pizza Oven Temperatures
Pizzas, flatbreads, and sandwiches can be cooked at temperatures of between 575°F - 800°F by placing them on the very hot oven floor. Remember, if your oven dome 800°F, the oven floor will typically be cooler than that temperature. You'll need to experiment with how your own oven performs.
As the temperature cools to about 400°F - 650°F, you can throw in vegetable dishes such as onions, eggplants, mushrooms, tomatoes, and peppers.
For meats such as BBQ meat, ribs, chicken wings, and juicy steaks, you'll want to put them on a grill with a dish underneath to catch the juices.
Pastry items such as tarts, scones and muffins can be cooked at temperatures between 475°F to 825°F, and bread, dough, eggplant, gratin, fish, squids and scallops at between 215°F to 400°F.
You can use the remaining waning fire to cook breakfast casseroles for the next morning or desserts, like our famous peach cobbler shown below:
As always, these temperatures are only a guide, and the best thing you can do is to experiment to learn your wood fired oven's characteristics, as different wood fired ovens work differently.
Looking for more things to cook in your pizza oven? Check out our 7 Days of Wood-Fired Oven Recipes ebook for more recipes for your pizza oven! Use the code EBOOK5 to take $5 off the Recipe Book's price.
Don't have your own pizza oven? Visit our collection of wood burning ovens to get started with your own wood fired fun!
If you're already cooking in a wood-burning oven, check out the blog post on The Best Wood For Cooking so see how to experiment with different flavors of wood.