Building a pizza-making, wood-burning oven can be a daunting, yet rewarding and tasty task. The best strategy for building a brick oven for pizzas is to have a set plan before you start and then have a trial run and use traditional materials---adobe, refractory brick or refractory concrete---to build a small-scale model.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Clay powder
- "Sharp" sand
- Cut straw
- Disk grinder
- Oak wood for the door
Before getting started, consult your city's zoning and fire codes and your homeowners association, if applicable. Make sure that your plan is approved by local ordinances and neighbourhood groups.
Decide on the design that you want. Having a chimney will allow for heat to escape; a chimney-less design might retain more heat, but will blow smoke into your face.
Build a foundation for the oven, either with scrap concrete or a sand pit that is enclosed and settled. Lay firebricks down for the base of the oven. Use the disk grinder to help shape the bricks as needed.
Build a wooden door around which to form the rest of the oven. Mix the clay powder with a mixture of an equal amount of sand and half the amount of straw. Mix until you have the right consistency, making sure that you knead it until all of the air bubbles are out. Experimenting beforehand, making a small model to help you become familiar with the consistency and process of mixing, could be helpful prior to constructing the real oven.
After forming the inner oven, allow it to sit and dry. Placing a candle inside may help dry it out too. The first fire should be small and build up to bigger fires. Look out for cracks inside the oven.
Tips and warnings
- The opening height of your pizza oven needs to be about 63 per cent of the height of the inner oven; the inner dome should be a maximum of about 75 per cent of the inner dome diameter.
- Constructing a small model is key to the success of this project.
- As always when playing with fire, be careful not to burn yourself, another person or any nearby trees or other objects.
- Be sure that the oven is not facing into the wind.
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