How to use a brick Oven
A brick oven is made out of refractory material, any stone, brick, clay that can take heat, store it, and give it back out slowly and evenly. The cooking technique is fairly simple.You build a hot fire in to the side or rear of the oven. Then you have to wait until the top of the oven dome is hot (hot enough to have burned off the black smoke char on the roof of the inside of the oven this will be the sign for ready to cook).
The oven brick stores this heat and then gives it back by reflecting stored heat for cooking the food. With pizza for example – your not actually cooking the food directly with the fire, which is a common misconception , you are cooking the pizza with radiant heat .The key to radiant heat is a properly insulated oven with a lot of thermo- mass. The mass from the bricks, holds and reflects the heat.
Before you put the food in to be cooked directly on the stone surface – you move the burning wood/embers over to one side or on the edge of the oven. Clean the surface for steak seared to perfection use hot plates for fish or cedar planks that have been marinated in wine and water, this also gives great flavor to the dish.
For pizza you would clean the bottom of the oven with a good brass brush sweep the oven repeat ably until the oven surface gets a slight sheen. If the surface is too hot cool it down with a wet rag. A Masonry oven gets so hot and can cook so fast the food doesn’t have time to dry out this allows the natural caramelizing of the sugars in the food giving great flavor to any dish.
Starting the fire: The most important thing about getting the oven hot enough is being able to use dry seasoned, hardwood (oak, ask, cherry, maple apple- apple is my favorite but its costly!). If it’s not hardwood then it won’t put out enough BTUS (energy) to get the oven hot enough to cook like it should. Always use good clean wood ,never over stuff the oven with wood. The way we build a fire is to get the wood pieces in the shape of a log cabin (you know crisscross one on top of the other) so that the least amount of wood is touching the floor of the oven as possible. Then use small pieces of kindle to ignite the wood. We keep the wood in the front and then push it in the back after it starts to light.
Brick ovens take practice and seasoning it usually takes several weeks to cure the oven then you will see dynamic heat transfer and a change in its cooking style. It takes practice and skill. But with some time you will be an oven master>
Good luck Scot Cosentino Goodfella’s Brick Oven Pizza
Tags: backyard brick ovens, custome brick ovens, Pizza School