ou’ve noticed wood-fired ovens whilst appreciating your vacations in Europe and you may even appreciate the food theatre that cooking with a hardwood oven creates in your local pizzeria,but how does a hardwood fired pizza oven work? Talk to us at Valoriani
Pizza ovens operate on the basis of applying three types 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 changed white and is soot-free
3. Convected heat,which comes up from the floor and from the background air
Cooking with a wood-fired pizza oven is actually much simpler than you may think. All you really need to do is to light a great fire in the middle of the oven and then allow 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 allow food to cook.
Once you have your oven dome and floor up to temperature,you just push the fire to one side,applying a metal peel,and start to cook,applying 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 wood is the equivalent of whacking up the temperature dial. If you don’t feed the fire,you allow the temperature to drop.
How hot you allow your oven to become really depends on what you wish to cook in your wood-fired oven. For pizza,you need a temp of around 400-450 ° C; if you wish to employ an additional cooking technique,such as roasting,you need to do that at a temp of around 200-300 ° C. There are different ways to do this.
You could first off get the oven up to 450 ° C and then allow the temperature to fall to that which you require,or As an alternative,you could just bring the oven up to the required temperature by applying less wood.
As you are applying convected rather than radiated heat for roasting,it is not as important to get the stones as hot. One more way to impact the amount of heat reaching the food in a very hot oven is to employ tin foil,to reflect some of the heat away.
Heat created within a wood-fired oven should be well-retained,if your oven is made of refractory brick and has great insulation. To cook the perfect pizza,you need to have an even temperature in your oven,both top and bottom. The style of the Valoriani makes this easy,but this is also an area where the quality of the oven will have a big impact.
Some ovens may require you to leave cinders on the oven floor,to try to heat it up adequately. 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 artisans,like a Valoriani.
So,taking that into consideration,we’re going to change the title of this blog. The guidance above isn’t so much about how wood fired pizza ovens operate,but how the best wood-fired ovens operate. If you go through a few ovens before steering a course towards a Valoriani, that’s something you’ll come to appreciate.