How to build an outdoor brick oven

Written by vincent runyon
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The taste of a properly-made margherita pizza is something to behold. The interplay between the basil, the mozzarella, and the tomato is divine. It's surprising how such a profound taste can come from such simple ingredients. A big key in this, however, is how the pizza is made. The best pizza-makers in Italy and around the world don't use a conventional oven to make their pizza. No, normal ovens don't have the heat necessary to quickly bake the bread dough while keeping the ingredients fresh. They use brick ovens, and you can too, if you follow this guide.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Cement
  • Brick
  • Loam
  • Polyurethane dome
  • Heat-proof stone
  • Particle board

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  1. 1

    The following are the basic steps. The detailed plans can be found in the second reference below.

    Find a good location for the oven. It should be in an open area, with the open part facing into the wind (so the air can get into the oven).

  2. 2

    Dig for the foundation. Once you found your plot, level it, mark out the dimensions (65 inches by 55 inches), and dig a foundation at least twenty inches deep.

  3. 3

    Lay the foundation. Use bricks to line the sides of the foundation, and then pour cement to solidify it.

  4. 4

    Build the pedestal. This can be done in two ways, you can either have a firewood storage area, or not. If building the storage area, use three pieces of particle board as the back, left, and right walls and then build the brick up around it. In front, you should make an arch to support the oven's weight. If not, just use brick to make all four walls.

  5. 5

    Place loam. The inside of the pedestal, including the top, if you made a wood storage area, should be lined with loam, as that will be part of the baking surface.

  6. 6

    Place the surface. Use a heat-proof stone such as granite or quarry tile.

  7. 7

    Put together the oven. To let the heat escape, the oven should be in a dome shape with a pipe coming out of the top in the back. The best way to do that is using a shaped polyurethane dome. The opening should be large enough to fit the wood and any other item you care to put in the oven. With that in place, lay the loam on thick on both the inside and outside.

  8. 8

    Temper the oven. Start fires in the oven, going from very small, to very large in order to ready the loam for cooking.

Tips and warnings

  • A pedestal doesn't need to hold spare firewood.
  • Leave a good amount of room for the oven in order to have enough airflow.

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