You’ve seen wood-fired ovens whilst indulging in your trips in Europe and you may even enjoy the food theatre that cooking food with a wood oven creates in your neighborhood pizzeria,but how does a wood fired pizza oven work? Talk to us atValoriani
Pizza ovens operate on the basis of employing three kinds of heat energy for cooking food:
1. Direct heat from the combustion 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 ambient 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 very good fire in the centre of the oven and then allow it to heat up both the hearth of the oven and the inner dome. The heat you produce 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 temp,you simply push the fire to one side,employing a metal peel,and start to cook,employing wood as the heat source,rather than the gas or electricity you may usually rely on.
Of course,there are no temp dials or controls,other than the fire,so the addition of wood is the equivalent of whacking up the temp dial. If you don’t feed the fire,you allow the temp 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 make use of another cooking food 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 temp to drop to that which you require,or Alternatively,you could just bring the oven up to the required temp by employing less wood.
As you are employing convected rather than radiated heat for roasting,it is not as crucial to get the stones as hot. One other way to influence the amount of heat reaching the food in a very hot oven is to make use of tin foil,to reflect some of the heat away.
Heat created within a wood-fired oven should be well-retained,if your oven is built of refractory brick and has great insulation. To cook the best pizza,you need to have an even temp 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 impact.
Some ovens may require you to leave cinders on the oven floor,to try to heat it up sufficiently. Others have 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 other thing to watch is,if the floor of the oven isn’t storing heat,you may need to reheat if before cooking food 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 craftsmens,like a Valoriani.
So,taking that into account,we’re going to change the title of this blog. The guidance above isn’t so much about how 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.