Get the Ultimate Pizza Experience: Here’s How Brick Pizza Ovens Work

By: the PROs

Get the Ultimate Pizza Experience: Here’s How Brick Pizza Ovens Work

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If you’ve ever wondered how brick pizza ovens work or are on the fence about buying an outdoor pizza oven and what makes them different from other types of ovens, we invite you to stay with us and find out the mechanics behind brick pizza ovens.

Let’s get started!

Brick pizza ovens are a traditional and efficient way to cook pizzas and other dishes. These outdoor pizza ovens use wood or coal fire heat for cooking food, and the oven walls are made from brick or other heat-retaining materials.

brick pizza oven
Brick Pizza Oven

The heat from the fire is absorbed by the walls of the oven, creating a warm and even cooking environment. As the heat is absorbed, it radiates outwards, cooking the food from all sides.

The heat can penetrate the pizza dough, creating a crispy and flavorful crust. 

One of the key benefits of brick pizza ovens is that it allows the chef to have complete control over the cooking process, as they can adjust the oven temperature and position of the food to achieve the desired results.

A brick pizza oven works by using heat from a fire to cook pizzas and other dishes. The wood fired oven chamber gets the transferred heat from the fire, which is used for cooking the food.

The brick pizza ovens are designed with a firebox, where wood or charcoal is burned to create heat.

The design of an oven is critical to its performance. The outdoor pizza oven should have a dome-shaped ceiling, which helps to distribute heat evenly throughout the oven.

The oven walls should be thick and made from fire bricks or refractory bricks, which can withstand high temperatures and thermal shock.

Fire Bricks for pizza oven
Fire Bricks

The cooking floor of the outdoor pizza oven should also be made from fire bricks, stone, or ceramic. and sloped slightly towards the front of the oven to allow for easy ash removal.

To use a brick pizza oven, you must build a fire in the firebox using wood or charcoal. The heat from the fuel source will cook the food, and the thickness of the walls and ceiling will help to retain the heat, creating an even cooking environment.

Once the fire burns well, you can place the pizzas or other dishes inside the oven chamber using a pizza peel or other tool.

Brick Pizza Oven Materials

Brick pizza ovens are built from several different materials. Materials are all chosen for how they’ll absorb vast amounts of heat. The heat is mostly retained by bricks found in the dome in the oven and on a tiled oven floor for a wood or gas fire.

Since these products retain heat, you can heat your pizza quickly. Some layers trap heat outside the bricks, like perlite and fiber insulation around the dome. Calcium silicate and a slab board underneath the tiled floor are also added for heat retention.

ceramic insulation
Pizza Oven Insulation

The outdoor pizza oven will retain heat to create optimum cooking temperatures long after the flame is exhausted. An authentic oven is designed to retain its heat evenly between temperatures of  300-400 degrees F for long periods.

Brick Pizza Oven Heat Transfer Methods

Brick pizza ovens, often known as wood-fired ovens, work on the principles of radiation, conduction, and convection to cook pizza.

The process starts with the burning of wood at the back or side of the oven, producing heat that is absorbed by the dense brick walls.

This heat is then radiated evenly across the oven, creating a high and consistent temperature environment ideal for cooking pizza.

The pizza stone or oven floor, heated by direct conduction, ensures the pizza crust becomes crispy and well-baked.

Additionally, the dome-shaped design encourages heat to circulate (convection) for even cooking. Meanwhile, the wood smoke imparts a distinctive smoky flavor to the pizza.

Let’s explore the three basic methods of heat transfer in an outdoor pizza oven:

Radiation

Radiation is heat transfer through electromagnetic waves, such as light or infrared radiation. This radiant heat transfer does not require a physical medium, such as a fluid or solid, to transfer the heat. Instead, it can travel through empty space.

Conduction

Conduction is the transfer of heat through direct contact between materials. Some materials are better heat conductors than others, and some retain heat more efficiently.

Convection

Convection transfers heat by moving fluids, such as air or water. When a fluid is heated, it becomes less dense and rises, while cooler, denser fluid sinks. This creates a circulation of fluid that transports heat from one place to another.

how do brick pizza ovens work

How Brick Pizza Ovens Work

Here is how all this works in a brick pizza oven.

The dome chamber absorbs the heat until it becomes white hot (sometimes up to 800 Fahrenheit or more).

At that point, the fire is either extinguished or left burning gently. The embers from the fire can be swept out before using the oven for cooking.

Once the oven is at the correct temperature, the oven door is closed to contain the heat and keep the cold air out. After the heat has lessened and the temperature drops, it evened itself throughout the oven and is ready to use.

The additional heat that has been absorbed by the oven walls and floor now radiates from them, allowing the oven to stay hot.

Brick Pizza Oven Features, Benefits & Maintenace

Temperature control

One of the critical benefits of a brick pizza oven is that it allows you to control its temperature quickly. You can adjust the amount of fuel you use in the firebox to increase or decrease the heat, and the thickness of the walls and ceiling will help to retain the heat, creating an even cooking environment.

This heat retention makes it easy to cook a variety of dishes at different temperatures, from pizzas that need high heat to roast meats that require a lower, slower cooking process.

Cooking time

A brick pizza oven can cook food much faster than a traditional oven, thanks to the high heat and efficient design. Pizzas, for example, can typically be cooked in just a few minutes, as the high heat of the oven quickly cooks the dough and melts the cheese.

Other dishes, such as bread and roast meats, will also cook faster in a brick oven than in traditional electric ovens, thanks to the even heat distribution and efficient fuel use.

Fuel

The type of fuel you use in your brick pizza oven can affect the oven’s performance and the food’s flavor. Wood is a popular fuel source, as it burns hot and provides a nice, smoky flavor to the food.

Charcoal or wood pellets can also be used, although it burns slightly cooler than wood and may not impart as much flavor. It’s essential to use dry, well-seasoned fuel to ensure that the fire burns well and provides consistent heat.

Maintenance

Like any appliance, a brick pizza oven requires regular maintenance to ensure that it performs well and lasts for many years. Care may include cleaning the oven regularly to remove ash and debris, repairing any cracks or damage to the bricks, and ensuring the oven is properly sealed to prevent heat loss.

It’s also wise to use a high-quality oven infrared laser thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the oven and ensure that it operates at the desired level.

How Does Gas-Powered Brick Pizza Oven Work

A gas-powered brick pizza oven is a type of gas oven that uses gas as the primary fuel source to cook pizzas. The oven typically consists of a brick or stone chamber heated by gas burners or jets, usually located at the base of the oven. The heat is transferred to the cooking surface.

To use a gas-powered brick pizza oven, you first need to preheat the oven to the desired temperature. Preheating the pizza oven is typically done by turning on the gas burners and allowing the oven to heat up for at least 20-30 minutes.

Once the oven is heated to the desired temperature, you can place your pizza on the cooking floor and close the door.

The gas burners will continue to heat the cooking chamber, and the retained heat will be transferred to the surface, cooking the pizza from the bottom and the top.

The cooking time of a pizza will depend on the temperature of the oven, the size of the pizza, and the desired level of doneness.

How Does Wood-Fired Brick Pizza Oven Work

A wood fired oven is a type of oven that uses wood as the primary fuel source to cook pizzas. The oven typically consists of a brick or stone chamber heated by a fire built inside the oven.

The retained heat is transferred to the cooking surface, brick, stone, or ceramic.

To use a wood fired oven, you will need to build a fire inside the oven using wood or other fuel. Once the fire is burning, and the oven is heated to the desired temperature, you can place your pizza on the cooking surface and close the door.

The high heat from the fire will be transferred to the baking chamber and to the cooking surface, cooking the pizza from the bottom and the top.

The cooking time of a pizza will depend on the temperature of the oven, the size of the pizza, and the desired level of doneness.

The Last Slice

Overall, brick pizza ovens are a traditional and authentic way to cook pizzas, particularly Neapolitan pizza with leopard spots. We hope this information is helpful.

A brick pizza oven is a versatile and efficient cooking appliance that can be used to cook a wide range of dishes including but not limited to outdoor pizza.

With proper care and maintenance, a brick pizza oven can provide delicious meals for you and your family to enjoy for many years.

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