Curing your pizza oven
After installation there is still a great deal of moisture in the mortars, hearth concrete, vermiculite, and the oven chamber and vent. Each of these oven components was recently produced using an air-drying, water-based process. Simply letting the oven stand for a week does not “cure” the moisture out of the oven.
When curing your pizza oven, t is important at this point that you cure your oven slowly, by building a series of increasingly larger fires, starting with a low temperature. If you begin building large fires in your oven right way, you will compromise your safety, your oven’s longevity and ability to cook well, and cause damage, including cracking.
There further needs to be a period of time between completing the masonry work and beginning the actual firing cure. Longer is better than shorter, particularly for the actual finishing masonry and plaster. The cement and mortar must cure first and this process is actually improved by keeping the cement moist and not letting it dry out. Before you start the curing process, let the complete oven sit for at least one week, this will allow time for the outer layer to air dry before commencing the firing of the oven.
Then, start a series of low and growing fires, using a temperature gauge to measure the temperature.
Day 1 – Maintain a fire temperature of 125 – 150 degrees Celsius.
Day 2 – Start with small fire, increase temperature gradually to 200 degrees Celsius.
Day 3 – Start with small fire, increase temperature gradually to 250 degrees Celsius and maintain temperature for 4 – 6 hours before increasing final temperature to 300 degrees Celsius.
At this point the inner dome should turn from black to grey, when this happens the oven is ready and you can start to load the pizzas
If not, continue firing as that will indicate that oven is not yet fully cured.
While it is difficult to maintain consistent, low temperature fires, it is critical for proper curing that you do not go above these temperatures during the first 3 days.
Use solid wood fuels only. DO NOT use charcoal, pressure treated lumber, chipped wood products, sappy wood such as pine, laminated wood or any material other than DRY medium or hard “food safe” firewood.
Avoid using thick bulky logs for firing, this will cause excessive smoke build-up; make sure you are using dry wood.
Do not use products not specified for use with this oven.
DO NOT USE liquid fuel (firelighter fluid, petrol or similar liquids) to start or maintain a fire.
Never use water to lower temperature inside the oven, or to extinguish the fire.
Due to thermal expansion small hairline cracks of the dome or outer layer may occur with normal heating and cooling. They will not affect the performance or longevity of the oven.