Build A Pizza Oven
There is nothing quite like an open fire and being able to cook outside in the fresh air while entertaining friends and family. Having a grill or barbecue is probably the easiest way to outdoor cooking, but a wood fired pizza oven can turn a regular meal into a social event. To build a pizza oven in your back yard is not that difficult at all. I recently did this and I’m going to tell you how.
There is nothing quite like the taste and smells of a pizza in your very own wood fired pizza oven. If you are the do-it-yourself type you can easily build a pizza oven at home with the right materials. A properly build oven will be able to cook a pizza in a few minutes and maintain its heat, so you can cook pizzas all day long with just a few coals. To get this right the first time without any help can turn out to be a disaster. The quickest way to get your pizza oven built properly and avoid those costly mistakes is to learn from someone who has done it before. When I started out I had no clue what I was doing, so I bought a great book with step by step instructions to show me the way. Let me tell you, once you have a proven system and process in front of you, you’ll be able to whip up an oven in your back yard in no time at all.
You need to start out with a solid foundation. Generally 150mm of reinforced concrete is normally enough for most surfaces. A good size base for your oven is 1340mm x 1100mm, you need to ensure your foundation covers that area. Mark your base out with white tape or some chalk so you can start laying the block work. For the block work you can use a high density concrete block, else any block will do as long as you allow differences in your calculations if they are different sizes. Continue to lay the block work for the back and sides of your base, making sure to check levels and blocks are square and that the joints are staggered.
Once you have your block work for your base done you need to lay your lintel shelf. Lay a 12mm mortar line around the top of your block work and set the lintels evenly spaced on top. Once all your lintels are in place you need to create your heath slab. The heath slab is a mix of sand, vermiculite (which is basically finely crushed stones), and fire cement (know as high alumina cement). The heath slab sits on top of your lintels and acts as a base for your bricks which are your actual pizza oven floor. The minimum depth of your heath slab should be 65mm. Take your time and ensure you get a nice smooth level surface and leave it to set overnight.
The next step is to lay your fire brick base on top of the heath slab, ensuring the bricks are sitting level and flat. No mortar should be used at this stage. Creating the arch is probably the most difficult part of the whole process and there are many ways to do this. The best and most efficient way is to cut out two identical arch shapes on a piece of ply wood and join them with a couple of spacers, which are slightly shorter than the length of a brick. Then you simple place you arch mould on the one end of your fire brick floor and stack bricks over the arch with a mortar mix consisting of sand, fire cement and fire clay. Once you have completed a row, simply move your arch mould over and start another row until you have reached the third row.
Closing the dome and oven entrance will require a bit of angle grinding to shape some of the fire bricks. The entrance height should be 65% of the height of the arch, so if the arch is 500mm, then the entrance height should be 325mm. Once you have the entrance all in place you can now joint in the mortar mix. Next is to create your chimney. The chimney sits on the outside of the entrance, so you need to build another entrance to your oven in front of your existing entrance. The height of your chimney should be the same length of your oven’s internal dimensions, so in this case about 900mm.
Now you need to create thermal mass, by wrapping aluminum foil around the dome, which allows the thermal layer not to stick against the oven bricks and to stop all the moisture from sinking into the fire bricks. Next you need to wrap the oven dome in chicken wire so the thermal layer has something to stick to. Apply the thermal mortar mix about 50mm thick which is part sand, vermiculite, fire cement, fire clay and builders lime. Leave this layer to dry overnight.
The next step is to wrap your oven with the fire blanket. This will help keep the heat in the bricks and stop it from escaping too quickly. Another layer of chicken wire is required to keep the fire blanket in place. The last few steps are to apply a weather proof mortar, consisting of sand, cement and a waterproof additive. You first need to apply a layer 15mm thick all over the dome and you can also blend it in to the rest of the brick work. After the first layer has dried slightly you need to add a final layer also 15mm thick. Be sure to smooth out the mortar to achieve your desired look.
Before using the oven you will need to let it cure and give it time to dry out. This will require a week or two for it to settle or making a small fire in the oven each day for about a week should do it.
To find out more information and view complete step by step instructions with photos and diagrams, be sure to download the same copy of the book I bought by clicking here. Build a pizza oven and make perfect pizzas every time with the best oven design.