How to build a wood-fired pizza oven

  • The pizza oven Mike Sense built in his back yard. Image credit: Mike Senese
  • The step-by-step pizza oven building guide. Illustration credit: Ron Nance
Date:16 September 2016 Author: Nikky Knijf Tags:, , , ,

A wood-fired pizza oven definitely delivers the best pizza. The flames give the base that lightly crispy texture we love without the soggy texture, while the enveloping heat cooks the toppings and melts the cheese.

The editor of Make magazine, Mike Sense, claims to be a pizza connoisseur of note and has been building pizza ovens for years. According to Popular Mechanics USA, he’s tested a number of pizza ovens and crafted an  aluminum pizza peel. More recently Sense refined his brick oven skills by building a pizza oven in his backyard.

Why a brick oven, you ask? Well, brick retains heat better than other materials. This means the oven will need less wood to stay warm and there’s less of a chance that your dough becomes flash fired. Bricks can also withstand incredible temperatures of well over 400 degrees Celsius. This is important for the longevity of your oven, since the bricks are less likely to crack or become brittle. Fire bricks – also called refractory bricks – are recommended for oven projects by professionals and DIY’ers alike as regular bricks are prone to shattering when exposed to high temperatures.

Sense started off by deciding on the best location for the wood-fired pizza oven. Because of the considerable weight, it’s important to start the project off on a strong workbench on a firm and level surface. He used a secondhand welding table as a workbench, but says a platform can be built using a cinder blocks and two half-sheets of plywood.

The wood-fired pizza oven can now be built from the insulated base upwards to the oven arch and the chimney, before covering it in refractory clay. Covering the oven with clay will ensure heat and smoke remain inside the oven.

Sense says the oven is relatively easy to disassemble. Once you’re finished making pizza, allow the oven to cool down, then remove the clay and unstack the bricks. The components can be stored away for future use. But if you’re in the market for a more permanent wood-fired pizza oven, use hardening mortar instead of clay.

For more detailed instructions, head over to the article on the Make website by clicking here.

Source: Make, adapted from Popular Mechanics USA

Image credit: Mike Senese

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