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Any good recipes for a wood fired oven?

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I had the first fire in the oven today. One step closer to actual cooking! Thanks for all the great ideas. i will report in as reipes develop and new discoveries are made.

If you're at all interested in building your own oven please just let me know if you have any questions at all.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm in the process of building a wood fired oven im my back yard. It seems this is the wrong time of year to start playing with cement and mortar.... Regardless, the oven progresses and I'm curious if others have used one and what successes have they had.

I'm hoping to branch out well beyond the pizza and bread that I've found many hints and recipes for. I'm hoping others may have dared brisket, porchetta, savory tomatoes, etc. Suckling pig?

Any ideas would be great and I'll share the good and the bad once the mortar dries...

that's an amazingly professional looking oven you are making. Are there blue prints for woodovens or did you design it yourself? I would love to have an oven like that in my backyard.

Cheers, Sarah


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Its all a question of cooking the right things at the right temperature as the oven cools.

Firstly there is the difference between cooking with a fire in the oven (pizza, grills, steak, fruit tarts etc) and cooking with the fire out, in the retained heat (breads, roasts etc)

I strongly recommend joining the brick oven group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/brick-oven/

For a retained heat oven you need to get the bricks saturated with heat.

Since brick conducts slowly you need a small fire for a long time

What I do is

The day before (Friday): Fire for 4 hours. Make pizza, steak etc

Rake the fire out and shut the oven up overnight.

Next day (Saturday) refire for 4 hours, Maybe more pizza or steak for lunch

Rake out the fire and leave for an hour shut up to stabilise

Temperature about 250C/480F Bake baguettes, rolls, small breads

1 hour about 200C/400F Breads, Roasts, roast veg, Dauphinois etc

2 hours about 175C/350F Large loaves, sweet bread, etc

3 hours about 150C/300F Pies, cakes etc

4 hours about 125C/250F Start overnight stews, hams, porridge etc

Next day (Sunday), about 60C/140F Long time low temperature meats

Meringues, tomato and herb drying etc,

So with one firing you can get enough food to feed tens of people for a weekend. These ovens used to feed a large household or farm or village.

If used properly, they can be very efficient on fuel.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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While not specifically a book about wood-oven cooking, the book "High Heat," by Waldy Malouf, contains quite a lot of excellent recipes. Waldy Malouf's restaurant, Beacon, in New York City uses a brick oven for a lot of dishes and most of the dishes in the book were developed that way. Although they will work fine in a regular oven or on a grill, they work best when cooked as they cook them at the restaurant, in a brick oven with wood in the chamber at about 675 degrees F.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Sorry I've missed this topic. We finished our oven (my husband would say I use my pronouns loosely) in July '07. After much concern over what I would be able to cook--while we have made bread in it, that was not my first interest--we have found that there is really nothing you can't cook in it. There is no "real" controlling the temperature--it is live fire-- so we just position (and sometimes cover) the food as necessary.

My favorite is roast chicken--either whole or butterflied--but have done whole racks of lamb, pork roasts, pork tenderloins, etc. Great baked pasta dishes are some of our favorites. We use one of the Tuscan Grills also to do steaks and loin lamb chops, for instance. I love vegetables of any kind cooked in there. I have found Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home book (and TV program) very useful and have made several things from him.

We don't do the multi-day thing--we fire it up, heat it for about an hour then pop in a pizza or two (many times this is cleaning out the fridge but most often we have at least one margherita). There isn't anything I've not put on a pizza either. Sometimes my husband just looks at it and back at me, then pops the thing in there. His smile when he eats it confirms that it isn't as weird as he thought it might be! Calzones are wonderful as well. Then, whatever we are eating for dinner goes in after the pizza has been eaten and some wine has been consumed. By the way, I've used and been happy with both Peter Reinhart's Napoletana and Nate Appleman's (A-16) crust recipes.

I have just ordered the "Wood Fired Oven Cooking" book that was mentioned earlier--not sure what I'll learn but I'm certainly willing. Where was it when I was learning? :hmmm: It is all an experiment to get used to it but nothing we have not enjoyed with a nice bottle of wine.

What I have found challenging is cooking for a crowd. It is daunting the prep that goes into my own food--to do it for a large group is a slow and long afternoon/evening process. I had to get over the fact that I thought everyone should sit down at one time for dinner. It doesn't happen--it is a process. I tell people to not come starving because it will be a while before they get full!

Good luck and enjoy your new toy. We often wonder what will happen to this beast if we ever sell our house. It is so full of concrete/brick/mortar/insulatory stuff that someone who wants an oven had better buy the house!


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Hi Sarah,

You can find a great community of builders and plans at this website. Head to the "Forum" section and you'll be immersed.



Oven builders and users can also find info at the Masonry Heater Association website, both on the main page and more by clicking on the Brick Oven tab at the top.

Anyone in, or near, Montreal should definitely give Frank Giammaria's Pizza shop a try. I met him at the 2005 MHA annual meeting and he's a really great guy and good cook. One of the happiest people I've ever met.

Edited by Country (log)
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I'm so jealous.  I've wanted  a wood fired oven in my backyard for ages.  Can you post pics and tell us about the progress?

Hi Jean,

Thanks for the note.

Here's some progress pics for you:


Have a great weekend.

Great pictures!. Unfortunately, if I show these to my husband, he'll probably say, "no way am I doing that." Can you come to my house and build one for me?

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New guy here with a 6 month old wood/gas fired brick oven suggests thus far nothing has come out more professionally than duck. High heat/smoke combo yields top quality crispy whole duck. Last weekend I served the breasts as an entree but took the leg/thigh confit and made a tortilla soup along with fire roasted sweet potato and jalapeno that had a smoky depth that was out of the ballpark. Topped with crispy tortilla strips and cilantro fried in duck fat!


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Had a crowd over this weekend. Luckily had the day to prep different dishes and take my time otherwise I can see how event smight start to pile up on you. Pizzas were great but I had more fun with all the other dishes.

Here's some photos:


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  • 8 months later...

OK! I've watched this thread a while and I finally have to add my own two cents: In 2003, I decided to build a wood-fired backyard oven, and I did (!). I looked around for recipes for things I could cook in it, besides the obvious pizza, and couldn't find much at that time. So, I decided to wing it: one can cook anything one wants in such an oven that can be cooked in a conventional one. So just go and do it. Nothing will turn out inedible, unless you walk away from it while it's cooking, and even the most mundane will result in the tastiest you've ever had. Just do it!

I must add a caveat that I am a designer by heart and history, and I have made a rotisserie I can slide in the FRONT of the oven. If you are still in the building stage, poke a couple of holes in the sides of your oven to accomodate a rotisserie setup. You'll never regret it.


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  • 1 year later...

I made these stuffed Italian long hots last weekend in my oven. Stupid easy and soooo so good.


12 Italian Long Hots

1/4 lb thinly sliced prosciutto

1/2 lb mozzarella

Slit the peppers lengthwise, remove seeds and veins. Take one piece of prosciutto and place a piece of cheese in the middle. Wrap the prosciutto around the cheese and stuff into the pepper. Roast until the cheese gets melty but doesn't liquify. The peppers should still have some snap when you bite them.

I have simple tastes. I am always satisfied with the best - Oscar Wilde

The Easy Bohemian

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I find that the cazuela is indespensible for a wfo along with cast iron. I've found that second hand stores, ie. Goodwill, Salvation Army or others, have a an unlimited supply of cast iron cookwear that previous owners minimally used. A few minutes in the wfo, when it's about 1,000 degrees, cleans them up nicely for a re-seasoning. I've found other cooking pans that are eqaully useful and after a seaon or two, can be disposed of. The price is right as well.

"I drink to make other people interesting".

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