You’ve noticed wood-fired ovens whilst enjoying your trips in Europe and you may even appreciate the food theatre that cooking with a raw wood oven creates in your local pizzeria,but how does a raw wood fired pizza oven work? Talk to us atValoriani
Pizza ovens operate on the foundation of choosing three forms of heat for cooking:
1. Direct heat from the fire 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 food with a wood-fired pizza oven is in reality 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 let it to heat up both the hearth of the oven and the inner dome. The heat you develop from your fire will be absorbed by the oven and that heat will then be radiated or convected,to let food to cook.
Once you have your oven dome and floor up to temperature,you simply push the fire to one side,choosing a metal peel,and start to cook,choosing raw wood as the heat source,rather than the gas or electricity you may usually rely on.
Of course,there are no temperature dials or controls,other than the fire,so the addition of raw wood is the equivalent of whacking up the temperature dial. If you don’t feed the fire,you let the temperature to drop.
How hot you let 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 choose one more 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 first get the oven up to 450 ° C and then let the temperature to drop to that which you require,or Alternatively,you could just bring the oven up to the needed temperature by choosing less raw wood.
As you are choosing convected rather than radiated heat for roasting,it is not as crucial to get the stones as hot. One more way to alter the amount of heat reaching the food in a very hot oven is to choose tin foil,to reflect some of the heat away.
Heat produced within a wood-fired oven should be well-retained,if your oven is constructed of refractory brick and has very good insulation. To cook the perfect pizza,you need to have an even temperature in your oven,both top and bottom. The design 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 require you to leave cinders on the oven floor,to try to heat it up sufficiently. 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.
One more 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 pain. The message here is to always look for an oven built from the very best refractory materials and designed by masters,like a Valoriani.
So,taking that into account,we’re going to change the title of this blog. The advice above isn’t so much about how raw wood fired pizza ovens function,but how the best wood-fired ovens function. If you go through a few ovens before steering a course towards a Valoriani,that’s something you’ll come to appreciate.