You’ve observed wood-fired ovens whilst enjoying your trips in Europe and you may even revel in the food theatre that cooking with a fire wood oven creates in your local pizzeria,but how does a fire wood fired pizza oven work? Talk to us at Valoriani
Pizza ovens operate on the basis of employing three types of heat energy for cooking:
1. Direct heat from the combustion and flames
2. Radiated heat coming down from the dome,which is at its best when the fire has burned for a while until the dome has turned white and is soot-free
3. Convected heat,which comes up from the floor and from the normal air
Cooking with a wood-fired pizza oven is essentially much simpler than you may imagine. All you really need to do is to ignite a very good fire in the middle of the oven and then allow it to heat up both the hearth of the oven and the inner dome. The heat you create from your fire will be absorbed by the oven and that heat will then be radiated or convected,to allow food to cook.
Once you have your oven dome and floor up to temp,you just push the fire to one side,employing a metal peel,and start to cook,employing solid wood as the heat source,rather than the gas or electricity you may usually rely on.
Of course,there are no temp dials or controls,other than the fire,so the addition of solid wood is the equivalent of whacking up the temp dial. If you don’t feed the fire,you allow the temp to drop.
How hot you allow your oven to become really depends on what you wish to cook in your wood-fired oven. For pizza,you need a temperature of around 400-450 ° C; if you wish to apply one other cooking technique,such as roasting,you need to do that at a temperature of around 200-300 ° C. There are different ways to do this.
You could primarily get the oven up to 450 ° C and then allow the temp to fall to that which you need,or As an alternative,you could just bring the oven up to the needed temp by employing less solid wood.
As you are employing convected rather than radiated heat for roasting,it is not as essential to get the stones as hot. An additional way to alter the amount of heat reaching the food in a very hot oven is to apply tin foil,to reflect some of the heat away.
Heat produced within a wood-fired oven should be well-retained,if your oven is built of refractory brick and has really good insulation. To cook the best pizza,you need to have an even temp in your oven,both top and bottom. The style of the Valoriani makes this easy,but this is also an area where the quality of the oven will have a big effect.
Some ovens may need you to leave embers on the oven floor,to try to heat it up adequately. Others have very little or no insulation,so you will have to feed the fire much more. But that means it will then have too much direct heat and won’t cook top and bottom evenly.
An additional thing to watch is,if the floor of the oven isn’t storing heat,you may need to reheat if before cooking every single pizza– a real irritation. The message here is to always look for an oven built from the very best refractory materials and designed by craftsmens,like a Valoriani.
So,taking that into consideration,we’re going to change the title of this blog. The guidance above isn’t so much about how solid wood fired pizza ovens operate,but how the best wood-fired ovens operate. If you go through a few ovens before steering a course towards a Wood Fired Pizza Ovens, that’s something you’ll come to appreciate.