Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Easy Brick Oven Firing

The initial fire is built under the flue.  Two 'rail logs'
let you put kindling and small firewood that will 
catch quickly and make coals.
One of the biggest concerns that potential brick oven users bring up is the length and difficulty of getting the oven to 'temperature'.

Although, it is not as hands-free or fast as a conventional gas or electric oven, it should be easy, relaxed and efficient.  Here's how:

  • Dry firewood: Wet or poorly seasoned wood requires that the fire first dry it out, then burn it.
  • Good draft: A properly built oven chimney will draw the smoke and flue gases well.
  • Relax: You are not stoking a locomotive train climbing the Rockies. Don't overstoke.
The following photos demonstrate how I fired my brick oven with no more than a laundry basket of wood and no more than twenty (20) minutes of effort to 800 degrees.

When coals develop, push the two 'rail logs' back toward the middle of the oven 
and add two or three small pieces.  The oven is black. 
There's some smoke but the wood catches easily.
Flames are better than smoke.  Too much added wood will slow the firing and create unburned gases.

If you have a removable door, set it up on tiles back from the oven mouth.  This will allow air to flow under it and the flue gases to exit the chimney.  It will also reflect the infrared heat back into the oven and cut down on air exchange.

When the carbon has begun to burn off the dome the oven will be at around 600F.  
At this point I have spent about 15 minutes total on oven management 
and about an armload of wood (standard arm).  
Dry wood will catch immediately.

It goes fast now.  Walk away. Do something else.

Nearly burned, the entire oven is at 800F plus.
If you are making pizza, push the coals to the back,
Sweep the floor and get ready.  Add small sticks to keep flames
for broiling the top of the pizza.  Mangia!  Buono appetito!
 Sometimes it surprises me how easy it is.  Granted, I've done this a good number of times.  Hours after pizza, there's the possibility of bread, then roasts, then beans and/or ribs, until days later, the oven is 200F and ready for the next cycle.  While I'm still relaxed and well fed.

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