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In the past few years, wood-fired pizza ovens have seen a surge in popularity. While they used to be popular only in urban areas and on massive farms, today, you can find these ovens at almost any farm or ranch. Whether for personal use or commercial purposes, it’s possible to build your wood-fired pizza oven.
But before we get into that, let’s discuss why this type of cooking is so unique and sought after! In addition to being fun projects with delicious results, building a wood-fired pizza oven is also a great way to save money. For more information on how to build a wood-fired pizza oven, check out our blog post here.
What is a wood-fired pizza oven, and how does it work?
A wood-fired pizza oven is an outdoor cooking unit that uses wood/charcoal to create an extremely hot, even heat source. The ovens are made out of stone or brick and can cook pizzas in under five minutes at 900 degrees Fahrenheit (480 Celsius).
Wood-fired ovens are the perfect way to cook pizza because they give you total control over temperature and cooking time.
The construction of a traditional Italian style pizza oven consists of three parts: 1) Hearth 2) Dome 3) Flue
1) Hearth- Also known as the firebox, contains the fire and is where you would put your logs. The front opens up so that you can access the coals without opening up the whole oven.
2) Dome- The dome is made of stone and has an outer layer of heat-resistant bricks or refractory material.
3) Flue- Also known as the chimney, this part provides a draft that draws the fire’s fumes up and away from your food. It also provides the necessary insulation to keep the oven walls hot.
In addition to the oven’s construction, another important thing for you to consider is where your cooking surface will be. You can purchase a pizza stone explicitly designed for wood-fired ranges, or you can use a flat metal disc that conducts heat evenly.
The next step would then be to place an aluminum pan under the stone. This catches any dripping oil and food particles from the pizza and makes it easier to clean up after yourself!
Why build a wood-fired pizza oven?
Wood-fired pizza ovens are a blast to build, and they make delicious food. In addition, they can be used to cook a variety of different foods, including steaks, vegetables, and fish.
A wood-fired oven is built to provide a scorching cooking environment that allows you to cook your food while locking in flavor quickly. Both the fire and the dome create a convection effect that circulates heat evenly around the whole building.
The resulting high temperatures give your food more even coloring on all sides, which will lock in juices for tender, flavorful meat every time!
The only downside is that these ovens can use up quite a few resources, so if you’re on a tight budget or have limited access to tools, it may not be the best idea for you. However, if you have the time and money to dedicate, wood-fired pizza ovens are worth it!
Cost of materials and tools needed for the project
Tools most commonly used for this project:
Trowel: A trowel is a flat-edged hand tool used to mix and spread mortar, concrete, grout, stucco, and other substances. You can find them at your local hardware store or order from Amazon.
Screed: Screeds are flat boards with a handle that you drag along while spreading/leveling sand, cement, plaster, etc. The size of the screed board should be no wider than the thickness of your stones/bricks to ensure an even laying pattern.
Materials needed for this project:
Stucco wire mesh: This is used to help reinforce mortar when building your oven walls. It can be found at your local hardware store or ordered from Amazon.
Firebrick: These are the bricks that make up the outer layer of your oven; they need to be fire-proof to withstand hot temperatures all day long. Firebricks are made out of alumina silicate and can be found at your local hardware store or ordered from Amazon.
Baking stone: Also known as a pizza stone, these look like flat pieces of metal but usually have minor grooves to prevent air bubbles from forming underneath your cookie/biscuit dough. Baking stones are found at most grocery stores but are also available on Amazon if you have trouble finding them in-store.
Concrete or clay tiles: These can be found at your local hardware store or ordered online. They look exactly like the ones that you would see on rooftops and provide a safe, flat surface for food to sit while cooking in the oven.
Insulation materials: Insulating materials are needed to keep the heat inside of the dome where it belongs! You can use fiberglass insulation, firebrick insulation, or ceramic blanket insulation, depending on how much money you want to spend and what type of equipment you already have access to.
All of these insulation materials can be found at your local hardware store or ordered online.
Other materials needed for this project:
Small Concrete/Brick Pavers- These are used to build up the oven floor and can be found at your local hardware store or ordered from Amazon.
Perlite Wool Mix: Peroxide-based insulating cement is mixed with perlite wool to create lightweight concrete that can be poured into your dome forms. You can find them both at your local hardware store or order from Amazon.
Bricks/blocks: Bricks are needed to build up the outer walls of your oven. They’re another type of masonry product, but they don’t have any paper on one side like firebricks do, so they burn at a lower temperature, making them safer to work with.
Bricks can be found at your local hardware store or ordered from Amazon.
Sand: You’ll need sand to create your mortar mix for laying bricks/blocks, and you can find it at most any hardware store or home improvement center.
How to build a wood fired pizza oven?
Now that you have access to the materials needed for this project, it’s time to start building! Make sure to have your tools ready in case you are missing anything.
Let’s get started…
Step 1: Build the oven base so that it is sturdy and provides a flat surface for the oven floor. You will need either bricks or blocks; depending on what type of material you choose to use, lay them out in an even pattern with enough space between each one to fit your baking stone/pizza stone without having too much heat escape from underneath.
Keep stacking layer after layer until you reach the top edge of your dome, which should be at least 6 inches above where your final stacked row will end. If you are using firebrick, you should measure how high your baking stone should sit and add about 1/4 of an inch to the total, so there is enough room for your mortar mix.
Note: If you are using a baking stone or pizza stone, you will need to place it on top of the stacked brick/block rows before pouring in your insulation material because they are not designed to sit inside empty ovens during the firing process.
I know! Trust me, though, go with it- You’ll be fine 🙂 It might take a little more time, but once the insulation has been set into place, then you can move your stones inside permanently.
Step 2: Mix up some sand, cement, perlite wool mixture with water until it turns into a thin mortar that allows you to build up the outer walls of your oven. Apply it to your brick/blocks slowly and mix in more if needed.
It’s essential to ensure that all of the gaps are filled in between bricks/blocks because this will allow the heat to stay inside while cooking without getting out-of-control hot or burning anything. You can also smooth the insulation around the base of your dome with this same mixture.
Step 3: This is when things get interesting… Building up your dome form! Hold one end of 2 blocks against each other, then stack another row on top of them (using mortar mix) until you reach about 6 inches above where your previous row ended.
Do this again by only holding two blocks together and stacking a new row on top of the previous one (making sure they’re level).
Once you’ve completed building up your dome form, run mortar mix all around the outer perimeter to attach it to the built base.
It’s important not to build up your dome any higher than 6 inches above brick/block rows because when insulation is added, you don’t want bricks/blocks pushing against each other… They tend to break under pressure so save yourself from some trouble by sticking with this guideline.
Step 4: After everything is attached securely, lay an even layer of sand over the entire oven floor and dome, which will help trap heat inside while cooking, plus prevent your pizza stone or baking stone from catching fire.
This next step is where your proper insulation begins… Keep adding layers of perlite wool until you have reached the top edge of your brick/stone oven form that was already built, then cover it all up with another thin layer of mortar mix to smooth everything out.
Try holding bricks/blocks together while applying mortar mix so that it holds them perfectly in place for when you pour insulation into the oven cavity.
Step 5: Pour about 6 inches worth of insulating material into the oven cavity surrounding your dome form and fill any gaps between brick/block rows.
Ensure not to overfill because more than 6″ can be dangerous for this type of oven design due to heightened pressure which can cause cracks or breakage if too much insulating material is added.
After filling the oven cavity with insulation material, smooth out any remaining mortar mix around dome form, and be sure to place your baking stone or pizza stone inside before sealing the oven up!
This will allow you to slide it in and out quickly when it’s time to cook without having to open up the foil barrier every single time… This way saves soil from escaping through cracks that are created by opening up your oven each time you use it.
Now wait about 2-3 days for insulation to set into place, then remove bricks/blocks used as an oven form (this should be pretty easy because they’re only attached by mortar mix) and start cooking!!!
Step 6: Now that everything has cooled down, take off the foil barrier and start cooking…
The benefits of having a wood-fired pizza oven in your backyard or garden.
1. You can cook pizzas and various other dishes with ease…
2. It’s great for entertaining guests and family members because everyone loves coming to watch fresh pizza dough being thrown around and cooked at high temperatures in no time!
3. Reduce dependence on commercial cooking stoves that require fuel such as propane or charcoal.
4. You can save a lot of money by not purchasing expensive pizza delivery services all the time just because cooking isn’t your thing (or if you’re tired of low-quality food).
5. Wood-fired ovens are sustainable and eco-friendly. They recycle leftover wood or natural materials from around the garden rather than burning them, which is dangerous for the environment (such as using logs cut from trees for fire).
6. It can be used to cook other dishes such as bread, pasta, and various deserts that require increased temperature.
7. You can also roast meats or vegetables placed on top of a grill rack over the open-fired areas… Just experiment with what you like!
8. Wood-fired ovens are usually made of brick/stone. They last forever without needing too much maintenance (just cleaning every once in a while), so it’s worth investing money into one of these if you love Italian food, entertaining, or spending time outdoors.
Keep your oven maintained by applying a thin layer of sand + water mixture over the floor, then rinse off with water after each use to prevent damage caused by high heat interaction with the soil.
A Few Different Wood-Fired Oven Options
What Is an Italian Brick Oven?
This type of wood-fired oven uses bricks and does not include insulation (usually made out of clay), but it’s still worth having for outdoor use because you can build one yourself, and it doesn’t require much work at all!
How To Build an Italian Brick Oven:
Step 1: Lay bricks on the ground where you want to assemble your oven such that they form a circular shape, then start stacking tightly together using mortar mix… Make sure to adjust size/shape if needed so everything fits together correctly.
Step 3: After assembling, apply mortar mix around the top opening of your brick oven and smooth it out with a wet sponge so that no cracks or spaces are visible between each brick.
Step 4: Now cover the bottom part of your pizza oven with stones or bricks and make sure to leave a little area open (use the opening you created when forming the brick oven) and start applying mortar mix around these stones/bricks so that they’re fixed in place.
Step 5: After everything dries out, apply a layer of sand + water mixture, then rinse off after each use to prevent damage caused by heat due to interaction with the soil.
What Is a Cob Oven?
This type of wood-fired oven uses clay to bake pizzas and various other dishes like bread, pasta, etc…
How To build a pizza oven step by step:
Step 1: Select the area where you want your cob oven (inside or outside), then level out this area using some dirt/soil.
Step 2: Put down some bricks around the oven form such that they stand upright and make sure to keep them reasonably close together so there’s no space between each brick (this will help with insulation).
Step 3: Apply some mortar mix to the bricks and smooth it down with a wet sponge, so nothing sticks up, and cracks are filled incorrectly.
Step 4: After about 10 minutes, apply a layer of sand mix over the top and smooth with a wet sponge to create an even texture.
Step 5: Wait for everything to dry, then start applying mortar mix all over the cob oven; keep going until it’s about 2 inches thick, so there are no cracks afterward.
Make sure to leave a tiny opening at the back of your oven where you can place wood chips or any other natural materials used for smoking/cooking once your pizza is ready.
What Is a Metal Barrel Oven?
This type of wood-fired oven uses metal drums (usually propane tanks that are cut in half) and requires some plumbing work to install it properly.
How To Build a Metal Barrel Oven:
Step 1: First, you need to drill about four holes on one side of your metal drum for intake/controls; ensure they’re on different levels, so there’s no blockage once installed inside the oven.
Step 2: Drill another hole at the back of your drum (big enough for the flue pipe), then attach it to some formwork made out of plywood or whatever material you want before applying refractory cement around this area.
Step 3: Apply some concrete + silica mix (1:1 ratio) over the whole outside part of your drum, then smooth it out with a wet sponge.
Step 4: Once everything dries, apply another layer of concrete + silica mix (2:1 ratio) over the previous layer and smooth it down again before letting it dry completely.
Step 5- Applying a metal sheet all over the cemented area to secure this in place… Also, apply a metal sheet around the flue pipe connection at the back before attaching the flue pipe itself.
Step 6: Drill holes inside the drum so smoke can be released during cooking, then attach wheels to the bottom section of the barrel oven for easy movement… Make sure you cut off any excess length from your propane tank sections such that they fit nicely on top of each other.
Step 7: Now, you need to attach a door handle using screws and secure it so it doesn’t fall off before applying refractory cement all over the exterior section and the interior part of your barrel oven… Make sure to use a thin layer on the inside because it will crack during the cooking process if applied excessively.
FAQs about How to build a wood fired pizza oven?
Can you build a pizza oven with regular bricks?
No, you’ll need special bricks called “Refractory Bricks” to build a pizza oven… In fact, by using these special bricks, you don’t even have to apply refractory cement because they’re already made from fire-proof material.
What kind of wood is used for pizza ovens?
You can use any wood to make a pizza oven except for pine because the sap burns extremely hot, which will make your pizza cooked in no time.
Does a wood-fired pizza oven need to be round?
No, it can be any shape you want, but I recommend you go for a domed-shaped oven, so heat is distributed evenly during the cooking process.
What kind of bricks do you need for a wood-fired pizza oven?
You will need special refractory bricks that are usually available in ceramic/hardware stores around your area… Make sure not to confuse them with regular bricks because they’re very fragile.
How big should a wood-fired pizza oven be?
It depends on how much people will be using the oven because the more significant the stove, the more people it can serve at once.
How long does it take to build a brick pizza oven?
It takes about weeks, depending on factors such as the size of the oven, the type of bricks used, and how much you plan to use it.
What temperature do you cook a homemade pizza at?
You should set your oven to firewood at maximum temperature and let it burn for about minutes… After that, reduce the heat level by removing some of the burning wood and continue cooking.
How do you cook a frozen pizza in a brick oven?
It is possible to cook a frozen pizza. However, it will require more time and a higher temperature because it usually takes around 3-4 minutes to cook an ordinary homemade pizza without preheating.
Do I need special tools before building my oven?
All you need is essential household tools such as hammers and screwdrivers but make sure not to use materials such as nails or glue because this type of material can damage your refractory bricks during installation.
Can I convert my old oven into a wood-fired pizza oven?
Yes, you can, but keep in mind that this modification will be permanent because your regular oven won’t work again.
Can you use charcoal in a wood-fired pizza oven?
Of course, you can, but the disadvantage of using charcoal is that it doesn’t burn as hot as wood does; therefore, you will need to wait for a long time until it reaches its maximum temperature.
How many fire bricks do I need for a pizza oven?
You will need about fire bricks to build an oven, depending on factors like the size and shape of your range.
Do you need insulation to cook pizza in a brick oven?
No, all you need is firing wood which will help keep the heat inside the oven but don’t overdo it because if applied excessively, it can cause cracks in the refractory bricks.
What kind of clay do you use for the pizza oven?
You can use any clay, but I recommend you to use “Earthenware clay” because it’s naturally porous, which means that it absorbs moisture and distributes heat evenly during the cooking process.
Can I make my pizza oven portable?
Yes, you can make your oven portable by adding wheels to its base, which will allow you to bring it from one place to another.
What else can you cook in a pizza oven?
You can even cook bread, meat, and potatoes because heat distribution is fast inside brick ovens.
What shape is the pizza oven best?
It would help if you chose a specific shape because all shapes can perform well as long as they trap heat inside the dome, which helps keep foods hot and delicious.
How do you mix cement for a pizza oven?
Mix cement and water at a ratio of 1:6, which means that you should add about one part of cement and six parts of water… use a wooden bucket for this purpose.
How much does it cost to build a pizza oven?
It depends on how much work you plan to put in… If you have limited financial resources, you should consider building your oven in stages… For example, you can start by making a cooking floor and build the dome next.
Why is wood-fired pizza better?
There are many reasons why wood-fired pizza is better, but probably the most important one is that it has a smoky taste which makes it more delicious and unique.
Final thoughts on How to build a wood fired pizza oven
Since its invention, the pizza oven has become more reliable and easier to use, which is why it’s now considered one of the best additions to any home.
You can choose from many styles depending on factors like size, shape, and location of your outdoor kitchen, but you should always consider making a stone base because stones are cooling… This will prevent overheating issues caused by direct contact with fire.
Building a brick pizza oven is not an easy task, especially if you want to make it on your own, which is why I recommend using prefabricated bricks or precast concrete blocks for this purpose.
Purchasing readymade materials can be expensive; however, their installation is very stress-free and straightforward, meaning that the whole process will go smoothly without delays or design flaws.
Before starting to build a brick oven, you must know the primary purpose of this device which is why it’s a good idea to read about its specifications and features, which will help you choose the suitable building materials.
Read more: How to make homemade pizza with store bought dough