Wood-fired Pizza Oven Temperature
Using Your Oven
As soon as your wood-fired pizza oven is cured, you can start cooking. When cooking, the goal is to create, maintain, and control even heat from the cooking surface and in the dome. You also want the hot air to circulate evenly inside the oven.
Choosing the Wood
The type of wood that you use in your wood-fired oven often depends on where you live. The best type of wood is hardwood, such as white gum and Jarrah. This is because they are denser than other woods such as pine and they give off more heat when they burn.
You should never use sappy woods or any type of wood that has been glued, painted, and chemically treated. You should also use only wood that has been seasoned and dried. If you use green wood, it won’t burn properly. Also, it will produce a great deal of smoke and it won’t heat the oven properly.
Building Your Fire
When building your fire, you should do so in the middle of the oven. You should start by using about 9 stick of dry kindling. You will also need a couple of fire starters and 3 pieces of medium-sized wood.
For best results, the flame should reach the centre or the front of the dome. It should not reach too far into the opening of the oven. When you have the fire going, you can add more medium-sized wood and let it burn for about 20 minutes.
After about 20 minutes, you should see a small white spot in the middle of the dome right above the fire. When the white spot expands across the top of the dome, it means that the oven has reached the desired cooking temperature.
When the white spot expands, you should build the fire toward the walls of the oven and at both sides. It should only take a few minutes before the white colour spreads down the walls of the dome. In time, 2/3 of the dome should be white. This means that the temperature in the oven is 370 to 400 degrees Celsius, which is optimal temperature to cook pizza.
After reaching the optimal temperature, you need to keep it there. To do this, you should watch the dome. When it becomes darkened again, you should add more wood.
Preparing To Cook
First, you need to push the fire to the side of the oven using your oven rake. This will allow the cold air to be pulled into the oven so that the heat will move in a circular motion over the food. This will maintain your cooking temperature. It also helps you to see what you are cooking so you will know when it needs to be turned away from the fire.
Before you put your pizza in the oven, you need to clean the cooking surface. To do this, use your pizza peel to slap the cooking surface. This will remove all debris and residue.
When you cook, you should do so on the opposite side that the fire is on. To keep your oven cured, you should alternate sides each time you cook. If wind tends to blow in the front of the oven, you should light your fire on the side that is sheltered.
This will allow the heat to travel to the opposite side of the oven and it will keep the fire lit. To keep the fire going, keep adding pieces of wood the size of your wrist.
Testing the Oven Temperature
There are a few ways that you can check the temperature of the cooking surface before you put your pizza in the oven.
First, use a temperature gauge that is capable of accurately testing high temperatures. Next, throw a pinch of flour in the oven and time how long it takes to start to smoke and burn. If the temperature is correct, the flour will burn within a few seconds.
Eventually, you will just know when the oven is ready for cooking. You should also experiment by cooking. Different dishes require different temperatures, therefore, experimenting is a good thing. If it is your first time making pizza, you should make extra dough and experiment with flatbread appetizers so that you can make the type of pizza that you like.
Maintaining the Heat While You Cook
When your pizza is in the oven, you are going to need to maintain your wood fired pizza oven temperature. This means keeping a flame going throughout the entire cooking process. This requires you to add wood every 15 to 30 minutes or when the last piece of wood starts burning down.
You should check your pizza often. At the right temperature, your pizza should cook in 3 minutes. During this time, the pizza should be turned. When it is ready, it will have a browned, crispy crust. The cheese should be melted and bubbly. If your pizza is taking longer than 3 minutes, you should increase the fire. If the cheese is burning, the fire is likely too hot and you need to let it cool down.
Cooking With Retained Heat
When you are done the cooking at high heat, you can use your oven for retained heat cooking. This is great for baking bread or slow roasting dishes.
When you scrape the hot coals from the oven, you should make sure that you dispose of them properly. You need to be very careful. If you don’t do this properly, you could start a fire. They will remain hot for a very long period of time. Finally, close the oven door.
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