For the ultimate in home made pizza, you need a wood fired oven. Wood fired ovens are the traditional Italian method of cooking bread, pizza, and all kinds of things, but they have exploded in popularity in the US in the last 5 years, due in no small part to pizza enthusiasts wanting to replicate their favorite styles of pizza in their own homes.
Building your own wood fired pizza oven isn't hard, if you
have the willingness to put in the time. You don't need any formal training â€“
many have built their own oven with nothing more than bricks, mortar, and
instructions from the internet and been producing delicious home made pizza in no time.
The basic method is as follows:
1. Pour a concrete foundation. This should be at least 5 inches thick.
2. Build a square base with cement blocks, brick, or stone. You can get creative here, as long as it can support a few hundred kilos of bricks. Some use old water tanks filled with rocks and sand, or even a metal base welded or bolted together.
3. Pour another concrete slab or lay a brick surface for the dome of the oven to sit on
4. Lay down insulation, so that the heat of the oven doesn't weaken your foundations. The cheapest option in use is a simple mix of vermiculite with cement.
5. Build a brick dome, with or without a chimney. Chimneys are very useful for enclosed areas but if your oven is in the open, the small amount of smoke produced won't cause any problems.
6. Cover the dome with insulation and render it!
Voila! Of course, there's some tricks with every step â€“ but anyone can learn them if they give it a go.
Once your oven is built, there are several tools that will make your life much easier. A pizza peel is essential to move pizza in and out of your glowing hot oven without losing all the hairs on your arm each time. Using a pizza peel is an acquired skill, but with a little practice you will get there. Other useful tools include things to manage the fire, like a poker and scraper and a brush to sweep the hearth clear of ashes before you cook your food. And for real wood oven devotees, an infrared thermometer is often useful. One thing is for sure â€“ once you start cooking authentic pizza in your new oven, you'll find it hard to go back to microwaved frozen pizzas!