Top Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking with a Wood-Fired Oven

Cooking with your new wood-fired oven is exciting. You simply can’t resist the appeal of freshly baked pizza oozing with melt in the mouth toppings. The pride of having created a delectable, flavourful dish drives you crazy enough to share it on social media. 

However, cooking with a wood pizza oven poses challenges, too. Mistakes do happen. But you could avoid them. How? By knowing the common mistakes in using a wood-fired oven and learning from them. 

Let’s look into a few of them.

Throwing the wood directly into the fire

Wood should initially be placed a little farther from the flame. Allow a few minutes for the wood to absorb heat. After a while, spread the fire before putting the wood on top. Spreading out the fire would allow some air in, giving you an evenly heated oven.


Using the wrong kind of wood

Wood fire brick oven mistakes

Outdoor kitchen pizza oven works best with the right kind of wood as the temperature, the flavour, the amount of smoke and ash, and the burn rate depend on it. Use natural hardwoods to avoid possible chemical reactions. Woods should be dry as they would release moisture, making cooking time longer. Too much smoke is likely to form when using semi-dried wood and soft wood like pine. Store the woods in a well-sheltered room, providing you with ready to use woods no matter the weather. 

You could use any of these woods

  • Walnut
  • Oak
  • Hickory
  • Birch
  • Maple
  • Ash


Leaving the ashes under the wood

If you want your wood pizza oven to cook your favorite woodfire pizza in a jiffy; don’t leave too many ashes under the wood. Ashes can block off air circulation, preventing the flame from going through faster, slowing down the cooking process. 

Related: Wood Fire Pizza Oven Accessories to help you in cooking.


Cooking in an uncured oven

A lot of moisture goes into constructing a wood-fired oven. Bricks are soaked in the water along with mortars and cement, resulting in moisture content. In traditional ovens it takes several days to cure a brick oven at a different temperature depending on the size and amount of fuel. A small, controlled smoldering fire is built inside the dome initially.

Curing your oven is important because heating the oven rapidly could cause unsightly fissures and cracks. 


Wrong location of the oven

Place the oven in a well-lighted and adequately ventilated space away from flammable pergolas and trees to avoid fire accidents. If you need city approval, make sure you get that before you create the oven base. Make sure you have a counter top space near your oven so that it is easily accessible for prepping your pizzas or delicious dishes!


Improperly  positioning the fire

An adequately positioned fire guarantees even heat distribution and easier maintenance of temperature. Build a fire in the center of the dome until the desired temperature is achieved. Upon reaching the proper temperature, place the fire to the side or back of the oven allowing cold air to circulate, resulting in even cooking.

EXTRA TIP: Want your wood pizza oven to last? 

Place the woods on the oven rapidly on the other side of the stove alternately when using your range. See: 3-Minute Care For Your Wood-Fired Oven.


Disregarding the local code

It is noteworthy that wood-fired ovens are not always found outdoors. If you decide to build your brick oven indoors, be sure to comply with the building code. Different states and cities have specific instructions when installing an indoor range. Related: How To Choose Best Pizza Oven For Home.


Incorrect  heat maintenance

The secret to maintaining the correct temperature is keeping the flame glowing brightly and continuous flow of air. Avoid placing extra big logs as they would smother the fire. Instead, use small pieces of wood if you need to keep the fire glowing. 


Committing mistakes when using even the best pizza oven for home is inevitable. It is part of the experience. Experts still do make mistakes once in a while.   However, errors are avoidable. The first step is knowing them. The second is avoiding them. You wouldn’t want to keep perennially hunting for wood-fired ovens for sale, won’t you? 

To get more tips on the proper use of a wood-fired oven, follow the Authentic Pizza Ovens blog.

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