Saturday, August 13, 2011

12. Loving the Pizza Oven (Cracks and All)

I thought I'd post an update on the clay pizza oven.  As usual, the proof is in the eating, and the eating is great!

I mentioned experimenting with various cooking methods in the previous post.  The pizza-on-pizza-tray-on-a-bed-of-coals method has been very successful.  If there are a lot of coals, banking them around the outside results in the top burning before the base is cooked, so I have started to put most coals under the pizza tray, with less pushed into the corners.  This is working well so far.

The Steel Peel in Action
It would seem to be obvious that a timber pizza peel (or shovel) would burn when in frequent contact with hot coals, but I didn't predict it.  My parents were on-hand when this happened, and bought a 'pizza oven warming gift' of a steel peel which has been excellent.  It is from Barbeques Galore in Australia.  (Link to the product.)  The handle may not be long enough for igloo-shaped doors, but is perfect for my oven.

Although I did a patch up with leftover clay, the crack has returned.  It does not take much imagination to see the crack (which starts on one side of the door, goes around the back of the oven, and terminates on the other side of the door) as being like a boiled egg that has been cracked prior to taking off the top.  I am learning to live with it.  No extra heat or smoke escapes through the narrow gap, which is the priority.  As the oven is Mark I it also seems to be OK to have some rustic charm.

...Geoff the pizza chef


  1. what kind of temperatures are you getting on the floor base? ceiling?

  2. perhaps longer preheating times will solve your issues?

  3. Hi Roger,
    I haven't measured the floor temp, but the top of the dome registers at 450 degrees C at the end of roughly 2 hours of pre-heating. I use a cheap laser thermometer thingy. Even if the thermometer is out by up to 15%, that's still pretty hot.

    Also, the crack just keeps getting worse. I've just posted some recent photos - you can see the crack, and what the results look like.