Do you have a wood-fired pizza oven? If you do, you will know that they are quite a tricky space to clean. However, by using the correct method, cleaning can be a cinch.
Cleaning your oven thoroughly on a regular basis is important to keep your pizzas tasting the best, and prevent other complications from occurring in your oven.
Use a long handled scraper or pizza peel to remove burnt on debris from the oven floor, followed up by a brush to clear the dust. An ash vacuum cleaner is a useful tool to avoid the clouds of dust made from sweeping up. Then finish off with a damp cloth wrapped around a pizza peel or other handle to leave you with a nice clean surface.
For further details, and how to prepare the floor just before cooking, check out the details below.
Baking in a wood-fired pizza oven is unlike using a conventional oven in many ways. The main difference in using this kind of oven is that you need not be concerned about a whole lot of fallen grease and food at the bottom. Which is always very tricky to clean up! You do, however, need to clear out the ash.
We have the lowdown on the very best way to clean your wood-fired pizza oven. Once you have mastered these steps, cleaning your pizza oven will be incredibly easy.
Useful steps to cleaning your wood-fired pizza oven.
They are mainly self-cleaning.
The good news is that your wood-fired pizza oven is mainly a self-cleaning appliance. The super high heats will ensure that most things breakdown to carbon – it’s just your job for this final step.
Clean your wood-fired pizza oven when it has cooled down.
It is always a good idea to clean your wood-fired pizza oven only once it has cooled down. This is pretty obvious but if you clean it when it is still hot, you run the risk of getting burned!
Use a shovel or a scraper to remove the ashes.
Invest in a good quality, shovel or scraper to remove the ashes. The first step here is to rake all the ashes towards the middle of the oven. Next, use your shovel or scraper to lift the ashes and then carefully remove them from the oven.
After this has been done, brush or vacuum any residual ash out. The best way to do this is with an ash vacuum cleaner. Try to avoid using your regular vacuum cleaner for this task as this may damage the appliance.
Cleaning ash just before cooking
You’ve lit your fire for long enough and now pushed the embers to the side. Make sure to move any large embers, then brush the ash towards the embers. A quick mop with a damp cloth on a handle or peel and you are good to go to and will avoid a pizza base full of ash.
Clean the walls by starting a fire!
Yes, you heard that right: your wood-fired pizza oven’s walls can be cleaned by starting a fire! The soot that builds up on the inside of the oven will be burned off by a very hot fire. Once it turns white, it’s clean and it’s temperature is ready to use.
Recycle your ash.
Did you know that ash can be recycled? It can be used as a soil fertiliser straight away on your garden with it’s nutrient rich content. Or store your ash in a large air-tight container and then use it in the winter instead of salt for icy sidewalks – it has ice melting properties of it’s own! This saves you money as well as the hassle of disposing of your ash.
Investing in a wood-fired pizza oven is a great and clever addition to your cooking appliances. With the correct care and use, your wood-fired pizza can last for years and years. It will never give you any problems such as failed controls or circuit boards!
Remember: ensure that you clean your wood-fired pizza oven on a regular basis to continue to enjoy the best pizzas, and keep your oven in good health.
Lighting Your Pizza Oven
Lighting a wood fired pizza oven can be both fun and frustrating. It is fun when you know the exact steps to follow. I encountered difficulties when I started out. Fortunately, time have taught me a thing or two and I will love to share a few tips to help you get the best out of lighting your wood fired pizza oven.
First Things First, Get The Necessary Materials
I guess it goes without saying that you need the necessary materials before building a fireplace. Well, while that is obvious, the subject of concern is the materials that are required to build a strong and long-lasting pizza oven. Now, this is where it gets tricky. The methods of building a wood fired pizza oven varies with people. And so does the materials required. Some of the materials include kiln dried wood, firelighters – a match, butane torch or a lighter, papers or cardboard.
Note: The nature of the wood determines how the fire burns. I will advise you to buy kiln dried hardwood because they are dry and last longer when used.
If the wood isn’t dried, you get to deal with the smoke – and the fire might not get hot enough cook the pizza well. As I always advise, save yourself the trouble and get kiln dried wood.
Build the Fire
Although building the fire is the most crucial aspect of lighting a wood fired pizza oven, you can be in and out in a few minutes. And get it right the first time. Here is a way around it. First, set the fireplace. To do this, you will have to build a cube-like structure but this time without the fourth part, serving as the entrance to the oven.
Do not use the kindling (the inner part of the wood) to build this structure, use the stronger logs instead. Place the first log at the back of the fireplace horizontally and the other two logs vertically at both sides of the horizontally-placed log.
Second, fill the fireplace with newspaper or cardboard – whatever works for you is fine. Third, place some kindling over the logs and the newspaper. The kindling should be placed at the middle in a tower-like form, leaving enough space to aid proper ventilation. Always keep in mind that your fire needs air to grow.
You could also place two more logs (of course, half the size of the base logs) on top of the tower. This is to ensure the longevity of the fire you intend to build. I usually fix the logs a few minutes after firing the oven. You can try that too.
Now, to the real deal – the firing. Don’t let that scare you. It is, in fact, the simplest of all steps involved. To start the fire, you will need a firelighter – a match or a lighter or a butane torch.
I prefer the butane torch as it does not involve any relighting, or filling my lungs with smoke. I just stick the butane torch in the tower and watch it do the magic.
Keep The Juice Flowing
Keeping the fire burning wouldn’t be so much trouble if you follow the aforementioned steps. At this stage, the fire will have grown to a reasonable level and starts to dwindle. So, you will need to feed it with more logs to keep the juice flowing. Simple!
And it is time to get the party started. You can now start making your pizza. You could use a pizza pan or have it directly on your oven using your peel. Be sure to maintain the fire to get the amount of heat and longevity required to cook your pizza.
And there you have it – our complete guide to light a wood fired pizza oven. You can rest assured you won’t encounter any troubles if you follow these steps religiously. Give it a try and thank us later. Happy cooking!