How to Make a Wood Fired Pizza Oven: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make a Wood Fired Pizza Oven

Building your own wood-fired pizza oven in your backyard can be a rewarding project that brings a unique flavour and atmosphere to your outdoor cooking experiences. Whether you’re an amateur DIYer or an experienced craftsman, this guide combines insights from several sources to help you achieve your dream pizza oven. Here’s how to embark on this exciting project:

Step 1: Plan Your Oven

Firstly, it’s essential to decide on the location and size of your pizza oven. A good starting point is to choose a sunny spot in your garden where the oven will remain stationary, considering it cannot be moved once built. You should aim to complete the build over a fine weekend, with the total construction time depending on your proficiency and the oven’s complexity​.

Step 2: Foundation and Base

The foundation is critical for the durability of your oven. For the foundation, mix concrete with a consistency of cream using 2 parts cement, 3 parts sand, 4 parts gravel, and water. Ensure the foundation is perfectly level and let it set before proceeding.

Following the foundation, build the base using concrete blocks, making sure each layer is level and corners are right-angled. Use a mix of 3 parts cement and 5 parts fine sand for the mortar. Typically, four rows of blocks create a base of about 70cm height, which is adequate for supporting the oven​.

Step 3: Form the Dome

For the traditional dome shape, you’ll need to create a sand form on the base, similar to building a sandcastle, which will define the interior shape of your oven. Cover this form with wet newspaper to prevent it from drying out as you work on the next steps​.

Step 4: Thermal Layer and Insulation

After the sand form is ready, apply a thermal layer made of a clay-sand mix, which acts as the primary structure of the oven. This layer should be about 2-3 inches thick. Next, add an insulation layer; a mixture with more air (like coarse sawdust mixed with clay) helps prevent heat loss. This step is crucial for maintaining the oven’s high temperatures for cooking​.

Step 5: Constructing the Oven Entrance and Chimney

Once the dome is formed and covered with the thermal and insulation layers, cut out the oven entrance. It should be large enough to fit a pizza paddle through but small enough to retain heat efficiently. If desired, build a chimney at the top of the dome to help direct smoke away from the cooking area​.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Finish your oven with a layer of earthen plaster for a smooth exterior. You can also add decorative details at this stage to personalise your oven. Let the oven dry thoroughly, which can take several days, before its first use.

Step 7: Curing the Oven

Before its first use, it’s essential to cure the oven. This involves lighting small fires with kindling sticks to gradually increase the temperature over several days. This process helps to dry out any remaining moisture in the oven’s materials and prevents cracking.

Building a wood-fired pizza oven is a project that requires patience and precision but results in an immensely rewarding addition to your outdoor space. By following these steps​, you’re well on your way to enjoying authentic, smoky – flavoured pizzas right from your backyard. Happy building and even happier baking!