STOKING YOUR OVEN
After you have cured your oven you are ready to start cooking!!
(Although your oven may seem dry, there are still small amounts of moisture pockets in the refractory dome that need to work their way out. Should you build a large fire in your oven before curing, you could compromise your safety, the oven’s longevity and cooking efficiency, and can ultimately cause permanent damage, please refer to curing instructions)
Stoking your oven is a simple process, but take care, you’ll be handling dangerous, sharp and extremely hot objects that could cause serious injury and like all disclaimers always say, even death …….and never leave the kids unattended!!
First step, start with a small fire in the centre of the oven, only use “FOOD SAFE” dry, medium or hard wood, you want a proper flame with some coals for increased heat retention.
NEVER use treated timber and any odor causing fire lighters or gels. Avoid using wet or “green” wood as you will struggle to get the fire going and it will cause excessive smoke.
Once the draft gets going and the fire is well established, add another few pieces of wood but remember, slowly build it up.
Keep in mind that a vigorous fire with large flames will not equate to higher internal temperatures or a better cooking result.
Notice the black soot or carbon on the inner dome, when the inside of the dome of a pizza oven reaches about 350 degrees Celsius, the black soot, or carbon, begins to burn off, giving the impression that the oven dome is turning white or clear. When you see this you’ll know that your oven is nearly ready for cooking pizza and that it has reached a stage where it will continue to hold heat for other types of retained heat cooking.
Spread the coals over the floor for a couple of minutes, using a fire poker or brush, before moving the wood and coals to the side of the oven, place the logs on top of each other.
Sweep the floor with a “long handled” fine, heat resistant metal brush.
WARNING – DON’T PLACE YOU HAND OR ARMS OR ANY BODYPART INSIDE THE OVEN AS YOU WILL RUN THE RISK OF SERIOUS INJURY.
The oven is now ready for pizza which should bake in roughly 2 minutes, for retained heat cooking and baking, rake out the coals and wait for the temperature to drop to the desired range.
For pizza, keep the fire going, place your logs near the mouth of the oven a few minutes before you need to use them. This will help them to ignite quickly when you place them on the fire.
Lastly, never use liquids, including water to kill the fire inside the oven, this will not only damage your new prized possession but could also; like we’ve said before, cause serious injury or even death ……..and never leave the kids unattended!! J