Helpful Hints on How to Use Your Wood Fired Brick Oven
Curing Your Oven
Although your Oven may seem dry once you complete the installation process, there are small amounts of moisture pockets that need to work their way out. The initial fire must be started slowly.
When lighting the first fire, keep the flames low so the moisture can be slowly released from the Oven and the surrounding masonry work.
If you build a large fire in your Oven from the onset, you could compromise your Oven’s longevity and cooking efficiency, and can ultimately cause permanent damage, which may void the manufacturer’s warranty.
This curing process should be conducted at a temperature as close to 212°F (100°C) as possible (do not exceed this temperature) over a 2- to 3-day period. Exposing your new Oven to this temperature over a few days will cause all the moisture to evaporate so that your Oven properly “cures.”
Note: Due to thermal expansion, small cracks may appear in the Dome or Hearth during the curing process. Don’t worry; this is normal and the quality of your Oven will not be compromised.
Another method of curing your new Oven is to build a fire in a separate location. Then take the coals and place them into the Oven. You’ll generate heat without the flame and the Oven will cure as required. Some new owners find this method a much easier way to cure the Oven and ensure the temperature doesn’t get too hot.
Note: You should re-cure your Oven if it has not been used for an extended period of time or if Oven has been exposed to excessive amounts of moisture.
Firing Your Oven
A. Once you’ve properly cured your Oven, you’re ready to fire it for cooking.
B. Always start with dry kindling placed 10" from the front of the Oven. CAUTION: NEVER USE CHEMICALS OR STARTER FLUIDS; YOU WILL NOT NEED THEM.
C. Once the fire is going, add small pieces of wood to build the fire. You want to raise the temperature slowly, so avoid building a huge fire that pours out of the mouth of the Oven.
D. We recommend adding large chunks of wood to the fire once it’s going strong. Add these chunks and start moving the fire to the back of the Oven—about 20 minutes after the fire is going.
E. You’ll notice the Oven Dome turning black. As the temperatures rise and more heat is stored in the Dome, it will turn a whitish grey. Your goal is to heat the Oven in a way that the entire Dome turns whitish grey.
Cooking in Your Oven
Once the oven has been heated to the point the entire dome has turned a whitish grey, you’re ready to cook using either the open-door or closed-door method.
Open-Door Cooking Open-door cooking is used to cook pizzas and other foods that require medium to high temperatures.
Keep the fire going in the back of the Oven. Sweep out the front of the Hearth with a wire brush and you’re ready to cook.
The Oven will become hot enough and the small fire on top will generate radiant heat.
For pizzas, the purpose of the flame is to melt the cheese and crisp the top.
Using Flavored Wood
Just imagine the aroma and mouth-watering taste of Apple, Maple, Hickory, or Cherry wood.
To maximize your cooking experience, there’s nothing better than using a fine cooking wood- apple, cherry, grape, hickory, maple, mesquite, pecan, plum, or red oak.
Which Kind of Wood to Use
Hard, dry, aged wood burns hotter and cooks faster. The best burning hardwoods are maple and oak. Soft woods, such as linden or poplar, create about 50% less heat than oak. The energy that comes from combustion doesn’t depend on the type of wood you use, but on its degree of dryness.
The ideal stacking period for wood is six months in the open and two years (up to three years for oak) in a dry, protected spot. The wood can also be dried in the oven after you make sure there are no coals or embers left, so the wood will not ignite.
Which Wood Not to Use
Resinous and treated woods are not recommended and can be dangerous to your health. Waste wood should also not be used because your wood burning oven is a cooking instrument.
Frequently Asked Questions
What besides pizza can I cook in my wood burning brick oven?
There is no limit to what you can cook in your wood-fired brick oven. Anything you can cook in your home oven, you can cook in your oven—whole turkeys, bread, grinders, chicken, steaks, chops, vegetables, stews, empanadas, desserts and more.
Note: Please do not allow any type of liquid to touch the Hearth or Dome. For example: When cooking steak on the Grill Grate, you need to create a bed of coals underneath the Grill Grate to “catch” the drippings. You could also use the Griddle as a “catch basin” underneath the Grill Grate.
Can the oven be used in all climates?
Yes, you can use the Oven year-round. The structure you build around the Oven must keep the elements out and the Oven dry.
How long does it take to heat the oven?
We recommend building a small fire and slowly adding to it to bring up the temperature of the Oven. This process can take an hour or more, depending on the size of your Oven. Once it’s hot, you can use your Oven for hours.