How to cure a traditional pizza oven
When your pizza oven is new, wet, or hasn’t been used for a while, due to the nature of the materials it is made of, plus to help prevent any cracking to the oven it is essential the your Traditional Wood-Fired Clay oven is cured correctly.
WHAT IS CURING
Traditional ovens are made from heat-resistant clay and contain water, also as the materials are porous, they can collect water if left open to the elements. Curing drives out the water gradually over a period of time
You will need:
Do not use any firelighters that contain chemicals, always use natural firelighters such as wood wool
KILN DRIED KINDLING
Kiln dried kindling is the ideal wood to use to start your fire.
KILN DRIED HARDWOOD LOGS
Always use hardwood logs for a pizza oven fire, just as you would in a home log burner. Moisture content should be between 15% and 20%. All bought seasoned firewood should have a moisture content within these figures.
The logs used shouldn’t be too large, splits that are approx. 30cm long and 4 to 6 cm in diameter are ideal.
DO NOT use softwoods, treated or painted woods as they can give off unpleasant or even toxic fumes and taint your cook.
Always cure your oven with the door and flue fully open
The first cure of a clay oven will take 2 days, after this, general curing only requires 4 hours.
NEW OVEN CURING
Light a fire in the centre of the oven using the natural firelighters, kindling stacked in a ‘Jenga’ layout and a couple of hardwood logs on top. Keeping door and flue fully open
It is recommended a total of 4 hours curing on the first day with temperatures no higher than 100C.
On the second day, repeat the process with the temperature at 100C max for the first hour and increasing by 25C every hour to a max of 200C
Simply follow day 2 of the curing process guidelines
What maintenance and protection does a traditional/brick pizza oven need?
SEAL YOUR OVEN
Most models of traditional wood fire pizza ovens require annual sealing as well as when they are new. A clear water sealant that is solvent free and non-flammable, when applied annually helps prolong the waterproofing of the oven, minimising the effects that moisture can have on an oven
CURE, CURE AND CURE AGAIN
Curing your oven when new and when damp or unused for a while is an essential process to ensure the longevity of your pizza oven
If your pizza oven is kept outdoors then it is essential that it is protected from the elements. Ideally under a roof structure and definitely with the correct type of pizza oven cover.
It is also important on dry days to remove the cover to allow the oven to breath.
DO NOT OVERHEAT
Heating a clay wood-fired oven will create small natural cracks. Overheating your oven for a prolonged time could accentuate this cracking and potentially damage the front brickwork of the oven.
You do not need to clean your oven as the heat does the work for you, you just need to sweep it out.
Do not use any chemicals to clean the oven and do not throw water into the oven as the sharp change in temperature can damage the oven
Soot staining is inevitable when regularly using your oven. Removing the soot is almost impossible but with a hard bristled brush it can be reduced. DO NOT use any chemicals when trying to clean the soot.