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A guide to the mighty pizza oven

a shot of pizza in the foreground with a pizza oven with flames burning in the background.

Pizza is beloved. We’re talking 350-slices-sold-every-second-globally levels of love. In just a few taps, we have delicious circles of wonder delivered to the doorstep. But for some this still isn’t enough. More and more people are cooking up their own pizzas. Getting hands on is alluring. Your pizza your way. Sure making a pizza can be as simple or as complex as you want. Methodological interpretation is everything. But one thing is clear – your pizza oven is the most deterministic factor in the culinary equation.  So let’s get into the data and breakdown all the key pizza oven info you need to know.

What are pizza ovens?

The two words of the noun tell you all you need to know. Pizza ovens are ovens specifically designed for cooking pizzas. Yes it’s obvious but clarity is king – always,  These amazing ovens produce the perfect environment within which to cook pizzas.  

What types of pizza ovens are out there? 

The good news is that you have a veritable plethora of pizza ovens to explore, from wood-fired or built in brick, to portable gas options. Essentially, pizza oven type is determined by cost, operational capacity and how much space they need for installation. 

A close up shot of wood burning in a pizza oven with illustrated pizza slices on top of the image

4 types of pizza oven

Convection Ovens

Connection ovens offer efficiency and economy. These clever pizza ovens generate heat by circulating warm air inside the cooking chamber. This process creates an even distribution of heat (meaning consistent temperature) throughout the oven. Convection ovens don’t quite hit the high temps of brick oven pizza ovens – so you’ll have to cook your pizza for longer;  perhaps between about 15 to 20 minutes.

Wood Fired Brick or Stone Oven

Yearning for the real culinary deal? The brick oven delivers in spades – producing that undeniably classic Italian pizzeria feel and taste. How? Brick or stone pizza ovens harness the heat from the traditional  method of burning wood. Wood-firing in these environments creates higher temperatures that lie in the sweet spot for pizza perfection. No fancy technology or gimmicks. The technique is tried and true, passed down for centuries. Hello gorgeous authentic flavour.

Conveyor Ovens

More for use on the commercial side of things,  conveyor ovens bake higher volumes of pizza using a gas or electric burner. The burner heats the oven to a precise temperature, delivering consistent cooking conditions. However you can’t obtain that additional layer of smoky flavour in the crust with a conveyor oven as there is no wood firing involved.

Deck Ovens

Some people might be striving for that authentic Italina pizza taste, but perhaps space and budget is an issue. The pizza deck oven solves the problem. In these ingenious ovens, the decks (AKA shelves)  are made of stone. These decks are then heated by a gas or electric burner, simulating some of the qualities of stone or brick wood-fired pizza oven. However the temps are also lower, lying between 400 and 600 °F.

A cooked pizza lies in the foreground with wood burning in a pizza oven in the background

Which pizza oven is right for you?

Of course we’re purists here at Big K, so we think a wood fired pizza oven is always a strong choice if you’re looking to create some authentic Italian style pizzas. When we burn wood for heat, we infuse the pizzas with smoky flavours – especially in the crust. But it’s a free country, so do what feels right for you.

What is the key to the pizza magnificence?

Heat

What’s the secret to the best pizzas? The dough? The cheese? The toppings? We have to look a little deeper. Ingredients are important sure, but the methodological mechanics are where it’s at. So basically the secret to pizza heaven lies in the heat. And what produces your heat? Your pizza oven. If your oven isn’t producing temperatures of at least 700 degrees Fahrenheit  –  371 degrees Celsius on the cooking surface, you won’t have optimal baking conditions for the dough. 

4 steps to making pizza in your pizza oven

1) Sourcing your wood

If your pizza oven is like the engine of a car, think of your wood as the petrol in the tank. You should be using high quality, 100% natural and low moisture wood if you can. Where oh where can you find such amazing pizza oven wood? Just visit the pizzeria section  at bigkproducts.co.uk  – we have everything from pizza oven wood, to pizza oven logs. More on our fabulous wood later. Oh and when it comes to kindling, the same concept applies. We have some perfect and ultra dry Kiln Dried Kindling to ensure that you get your fire started right,

 2) Building your fire

There are fires and then there are fires. What we mean is that yes you can get a blaze going quite easily, however there is a skill to arranging and creating a fire fit for purpose. So it’s super important to build your pizza oven fire in the correct way. Here’s a quick two step method.

  1. Stack your kindling in a pile, right in the middle of your pizza oven.
  2. Stack your wood in a small tower, alternating between vertical and horizontal layers – think a Jenga tower. This technique creates a series of gaps in the wood stack, meaning increased airflow. And more oxygen equals a cleaner, more efficient and hotter burn.

 

  3) Lighting your pizza oven fire

Forget lighter fluids and accelerants stuffed full of chemicals. We don’t want to disturb the flavours in any way. Grab some of our 100% natural and fully sustainable Woodies firelighters. They are the ideal firelighter to get your flames going

Light your firelighter and position it in your kindling pile, allowing the flames to catch.

Make sure to leave the pizza oven door open to increase the initial airflow.

Once you have some flames on the go, start moving sections of your wood tower on top of the burning kindling. Make sure you are wearing some fire resistant gloves to keep your digits nice and safe,

4) The prep and push for cooking

As we’ve already mentioned, temperature is everything in the pizza game. So ensuring optimal oven temps is an absolute must. Firstly prep your oven temp by allowing the fire to burn for about one and half hours before cooking.

After 90 mins you should be sitting in the Goldilocks zone – not too hot, not too cold – just right. Now it’s time to push your pile or embers and collapsed wood

to wherever it needs to go. You can push it to the back of the oven or to the side. 

5)  Final Temperature check

Grab your fave thermometer and measure the temperature in your oven. You want to be seeing temps between to 370°C – 400°C 

6)    The Cook

Now pop your full stacked pizza into your oven. With the above temperatures, you’re looking at a cooking time of between 4 and 6 minutes. Keep an eye on your Za as you’re only ever 100 odd seconds away from a carbonised circle of disappointment. 

A shot of various Big K pizza oven fuel products

Looking for pizza oven wood in the UK?

Check out bigkproducts.co.uk and fill your boots. We have Kiln Dried Natural Pizza logs, British Oak logs, Forno Pizza Oven Logs   and Smokeys Hardwood Pellets to name a few. Check out the Pizzeria tab and explore the Pizza Oven Wood and the Pizza Oven Log sections. 

If you want more info on pizza ovens, check out this blog. We hope the Moon will hit your eye like a big Pizza Pie soon.