Starting a wood fired  oven

Starting a wood fired oven need not be a complicated task. A wood fired oven is very conducive to heat retention and, since it protects the wood to be used from the elements and wind, starting the fire is usually simple. You should only burn well seasoned firewood that is suitable for cooking in a wood fired oven. Species like almond, oak and eucalyptus are ideal.

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Start by setting up the pile inside the wood fired oven. Use two medium size logs, one on the left and one on the right as props to hold up smaller pieces of kindling across them. Place a few pieces of kindling below perpendicular to the pieces above. Add one or two pieces of “Fatwood” or other nontoxic fire starter to this kindling. Using fireplace matches or a fireplace lighter, light the two pieces of “Fatwood”.

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After these pieces burn for about fifteen minutes, add a piece 3 to 4 inches thick and 12 to 16 inches long over the top of the kindling parallel to the larger pieces. Add a similar size every 15 to 20 minutes for the next 90 to 120 minutes.

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After 90 to 120 minutes, the oven will have a nice size pile of coals right in the middle. Move them to either the left or the right, sweep the smaller pieces straight back and add a medium size piece of wood over the coals. You are now ready to cook.

Wood Fired Oven Curing Fire

Wood Fired Oven Curing Fire from fogazzo on Vimeo.

This video shows what a curing fire should look like for a medium sized residential wood fired oven of 25 to 40" internal diameter. The size of the fire should be such that no flames touch the top of the dome. Keep the fire burning at this size for at least four hours and do this firing a minimum of two times.


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