How to Build Outdoor Pizza Oven

For some people, pizza is not just a meal; it is a tradition. The Italians have always had pizza as one of their staple foods. This meal has been available to the Italians for centuries past and they have baked it in a traditional way by using an outdoor oven.

how to build outdoor pizza oven
Credit: David, Flickr.com (under licence)

These outdoor ovens are now constructed in various modern patterns. Technology has made it even easier to have more refined designs and they are available in both simple and complex structures.

Video: Building the Oven from a Non-Professional

This time, your oven is set to start baking pizza and you can enjoy the full benefits of having an outdoor pizza oven.

In case it is beginning to look herculean task and only for professionals, here is a video to show you that you can do it.

The idea of baking could be interesting and fun-filled if you love baking and you have pizza as one of your favorites. Having this outdoor oven will make you enjoy more of this delicious pizza whenever you choose.

Anyone can afford to make a simple pizza oven with a clear description of the procedure involved.  You can make out time to watch an expert do a design in your presence if you are not sure of what to do.

With this, you can learn how to build outdoor pizza oven. If that means is not available, sites like this can assist you while you embark on your project.

Your constructed oven can be made in various sizes. You can be flexible in the shape you decide to construct it. The main consideration would be that the shape allows you enough space at the center.

Depending on what you want, ensure that it has all the essential properties to make it sturdy and firm.

What are the categories of outdoor oven?

The outdoor oven has two categories which are:

1. The stationary pizza ovens

2. Ovens that are mobile.

We can also group the outdoor oven into ovens that use wood fire to emit heat and the ones that use gas for producing heat.

A pizza oven constructed for the home might be smaller than the one that is built for business purposes.

Large sizes are mostly built in permanent locations and are constructed with more durable materials. Even if you make a smaller size outdoor oven constructed in a permanent location, it will still take more space.

You might want to know some outdoor oven types so that you can know the one that best suits the description of what you want.

What Are The Types of Outdoor Pizza Oven?

The types of outdoor pizza oven are:

1. Deck Ovens

2. Camping Pizza Oven

3. Convection Oven

4. Brick Oven

There are various types of outdoor ovens available and in various ranges. While some ovens are stationary and can be moved to different locations, some other types can be constructed as mobile ovens.

Deck Ovens

What are deck ovens?

Deck ovens are the type made in the form of decking. The shelves are made of stones and are a local means of making an oven. This oven can be heated with a gas burner to a high temperature. It could look like the brick oven, but it is somewhat different.

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Camping Pizza Oven

This type is the smallest pizza oven type. The size makes it easy to move it to various locations and it can serve for various emergencies.

It’s a great way to continually enjoy your pizza even while camping. It is usually constructed from factories and is made majorly from steel material.

It can contain only a few pizza doughs and has a portable tank constructed in an oval form at the top which fuels the heating. When using it, a small gas can be used to heat the tank before baking.

Convection Oven

This oven is convenient for both at home and commercial use. It has an inbuilt chamber which disperses the heat around the oven to ensure it reaches all parts of the oven while baking.

This prevents the concentration of the heat from staying at a place. With this, the pizza can evenly cook without having much pressure from heat since the heat is also relatively low compared to other outdoor ovens.

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Brick Oven

There is the brick oven or firewood oven. When you want to continually have the taste of typical Italian pizza, this oven type is the one to make.

The degree at which this oven can be allowed to burn is high compared to other oven types. Its heat is intense and could burn at 500 to 7000F.

The size of this oven varies and can be made with different material based on the design that is to be made. It would require such materials used in a typical building work to make it.

Bricks can be constructed around to make the body, or it could be made using some fire-resistant materials constructed in a palate. Firewood is the source of fuel for this oven type.

Although they are all outdoor ovens, the type of oven you make would largely depend on what you want.

What Are the Things to Consider Before Constructing an Outdoor Pizza Oven?

Before constructing your outdoor pizza oven consider the following:

1. Firstly, make a budget before you embark on the construction of the oven. When you are sure of this task ahead, then you can go ahead and purchase all the tools that would be needed.

2. Secondly, good planning must be made. Outdoor ovens can be large so whatever size of oven you choose to construct will occupy some free area. And so, you must choose the best place to position it.

3. Thirdly, choose a very good time to make the oven. The worst time to construct the oven is the winter season. You will have disruptions to your work, and it can be a frustrating process. It is better to have your oven constructed in the summer season.

Making a pizza oven is a great project to embark on, especially if you have time on your hands. The making of an outdoor oven can be done by anyone. The basic thing you will need to start would be your interest.

You will experience technical parts all through the making of this oven but be sure that this task is worth every bit of the stress you will experience.

If you have never constructed anything before, making an outdoor oven is not a herculean task for you. When you would have completed this project, you would have learnt. what it takes to undertake a project like this.

You could have a builder merchant supply some of these materials you will need. They also can be a good instructor to physically guide you through the project, and some would gladly extend such help.

You should have a fun time while constructing your oven. Family members or a friend may be glad to join you while you make one.

This is a DIY tool kit to make this outdoor oven. Be ready to learn and explore while you get your hands dirty.

Fireproof materials form the base for an outdoor oven. In doing this, measure the width and length of the oven size you have decided to build. You will have the pallet constructed with the measurement you have chosen.

If you have a more permanent site, then you could make a DIY pizza oven constructed with a more earthen foundation to give it a strong base. In this method, you will dig into the ground to build that layer that will carry the structure of your oven.

We will adopt a more flexible form of making our oven. It is flexible because the position of the oven can be changed over time. We will build the base with durable materials.

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How to Build Outdoor Pizza Oven

It is easy to make mistakes when constructing this oven, especially if this is your first attempt at it. Don’t be bothered, you can get it done perfectly well, but you will need to follow the instructions closely while working out your design.

A very essential skill for this project is puddling. Knowing how to mix properly is very essential here. You should learn and practice this or have an expert watch you do it to be sure it is done right.

What are the Tools Needed for Your Outdoor Oven Project?

The tools needed for your outdoor oven project include:

1. Cement

2. Spade for mixing

3. Wooden pallet

4. Wood screws

5. Drill

6. Wood saw

7. Chipboard

8. Large tarpaulin sheet

9. Bag of Vermiculite

10. Water

11. Plywood

12. Cardboard

We will be constructing a medium-sized oven. If you have ever seen what an outdoor oven looks like, a common feature is that they have the shape of a little hut. To give the oval shape, a fitting ball will be used to guide the patterns for constructing it.

Follow through this step by step procedure to construct an outdoor oven…

What are the steps involved in building outdoor pizza ovens?

The steps involved building outdoor pizza ovens are;

Step 1: Make the oven base

Step 2: Making the oven arch

Step 3: Making the oven door

Step 4: Placing the arch on the slab

Step 5: Making the chimney

Step 6: Oven heating

Step 1: Make the Oven Base

We want to make this oven type which will have a trolley attached to the base. If you decide to change your location sometime later, with this method, your oven goes with you. It can be moved to a different location with the help of the trolley vehicle.

A base lifter is needed for a decking to the pallet.

The pallet is constructed on with a square shape. The woods will be linked to form the lock which will form the bed. With the wood saw, cut a section of the board that will be fit for the bottom base for the pallet.

Make some smaller cut of wood that will be placed by the side of the pallet. When this is done, you are ready to join the boards to seal the base. With a hammer, hit the sides of the pallet. Make sure the edges are firm.

How do you construct an oven pallet bed for baking?

To construct the oven pallet bed, use the tarpaulin sheet to mix the concrete, cement, and sand and Vermiculites. Vermiculites are strong fire resistors and so they are very important in this process. Since the oven will go through lots of fire, you will need to be sure that it is done right to avoid cracks in the future.

Do a mixture of one quantity of cement and four quantity of vermiculite and two quantity of water. Mix them thoroughly until you begin to have the sticky fields that will form the mold. Place the pallet on level ground to have a balanced base.

When this is done, put the mixture into the created pallet. Use a rake to lift. Balance is important and so to determine if it is properly distributed, take a straight wood that can extend through the diameter and place it above the mixture to get accuracy.

This layer is a good fire resistance for the oven. The pallet should be left to dry for some days before the construction can be continued.

Step 2: Making the Oven Arch

The arch is the oval shaped part that houses the pizza. Making this part can be a bit technical, just like the brick layers use woods and rods to set the structure for houses they construct. A ball that is equal the size of the oven you want to build will be used to get this shape.

You can get this ball in a shopping outlet. In order to get this spherical shape, place the ball on a table with an open center. The ball should be placed to hang comfortably strapped to this point; it can be suspended while having support underneath the table to ensure that it is balanced through this process.

With the same mixture of cement 1 quantity, 4 Vermiculite quantity and 2 quantity water, we will build the walls of the oven.

Gradually place the mix around the edges of the ball at the top. Do this consistently until you have rounded up the semi-circle. Afterwards, make a second layer with this same pattern, built on the top of the layer you just assembled.

You could have this layer built in sections. Wait for the first layer to get dried before moving into this second layer. Continue this building till you have successfully covered the visible outer part of the ball.

Leave out a small space that will be used to build the chimney at the top of the oven. This formation will form the outer shell of the oven.

Next, place a covering over this shell so that it gets dried without the harsh heat of the sun. You could use cardboard papers to do this. Some people use large nylons to do this. Whatever will work for you, that’s just fine.

Place the cardboard over the surface of the plastered mix. This will rest for about two weeks before it is removed. After it is removed, it will still have to rest till it is very dry.

Step 3: Making the Oven Door

Measure the size of the open oven side. It will be the determinant of how large the structure will be. Make the wood carving in the form of a slab.

The same mixture that is used in the foundation of the base is what you use to make the oven door. To make a handle for the door, attach an iron riff to the mixture in this slab.

Let it stay at the center to congeal with the weight of the mixture. A wooden handle could be placed for the external door. With the same method, place the mixture to the sides to give it a hold.

You will leave it to dry just like the oven base. When it is dry, connect it to the body of the oven with a drill and screws.

Step 4: Placing the Arch on the Slab

The oven arch should stay through a period of six weeks to be perfectly dried. When this is confirmed dry, we will now do a joining of the parts.

Carefully move the arch to the slab to avoid having cracks. When you have placed the arch on the slab, it will not have a firm balance. To combine them, make a mix of cement and some sand to fix in the edges. Use a little more cement than sand.

Fix the cement into the small openings but don’t place it around the area of the chimney.

Step 5: Making the Chimney

In doing this part, you will put the stainless steel. In order to get the steel standing firm, build a base from the layer of the oven to the point where the chimney hole starts. You could use woods stacked up to create this balance.

When you have done this, gently pour the mixture of cement and vermiculite to the sides of the hole. Pour enough that can give hold to the iron. Leave it at this position for a week when you are sure it is dry and firm.

Remove the stacked wood used to wedge in the chimney. With the chimney, you can avoid air pollution that comes from wood fire.

Step 6: Oven Heating

The fire is lit in the oven and this gives it a firmness. Before any baking is done using this oven, this must be done.

Put a few pieces of wood into the pizza house and light a fire. Allow it stay for 15 minutes and let the fire go off. The oven should be cold before the second fire is lit. The wood should be left to burn for 30 minutes.

Conclusion

Owning an outdoor pizza oven is such a great idea. Never mind that it is referred to as a pizza oven; since you have it to yourself, then there is the luxury of baking whatever you want.

How To Build Outdoor Pizza Oven- Related Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Clean My Oven?

To clean your oven effectively, use a brush. Ensure you brush debris and ashes to the back of the oven. Most ovens are made with ash drawers — in that case, brush the ashes into the drawer and empty it when full. Where your oven is without an ash drawer, use a metal dust pan and a brush to clean the floor.

Before discarding any ashes, ensure your oven and ashes have cooled down. To avoid any fire hazards, discard ashes the day after using your oven. Always discard ashes in a metal bucket.

To clean the outside of the oven, clean the arch with stainless cleaner like Barkeepers Friend cleanser and enjoy the beauty of the stainless steel arch. 

My Oven Is Not Hot Enough. What Can I do To Solve This Challenge?

Your oven is not hot enough due to the wrong design, construction, or quality of wood. You must ensure your oven is rightly covered and not taking on moisture (more likely if it was customized). Next, you need to make sure you are using dried/aged hardwoods that get the oven to proper temperature. 

Where your oven is not reaching even close to the target temperature required for cooking a pizza, you need to add additional insulation. You can have a combination of the following:

  • Fire blanket
  • Perlite or vermiculite mortar
  • Cladding, which is basically mortar
  • Another wall of bricks on top of the pre-existing oven wall.

What Type Of Wood Should I Use?

You should use dry and aged hardwood for best performance. The harder the wood and the older it is, the better. 

Soft woods can be used when starting your fire and heating your oven, but they produce as much as 50% less heat. This will delay your heat time and should never be used for cooking. 

You must cover the wood if it is stored outside to keep it from absorbing moisture. Never use resinous or treated woods; they can be dangerous to your health.

Will My Oven Be Ok In The Rain?

Your oven will not be ok in rain. Rain on a pizza oven causes problems whether the oven is made from cob or brick. Cob ovens obviously face the issue because they are made primarily of clay. It will lead to breakdown if allowed to become wet over an extended period of time. 

The clay will soften and lose its structural strength. As a result, the entire oven will collapse.

For brick ovens, when they are fired again after exposure to rain, can cause additional problems. If the oven does not dry completely before it is being used, there will be an increase in pressure caused by the steam. This will make the oven walls fail and crack.

What Are The Best Outdoor Pizza Ovens For Home Use?

Below are the best outdoor pizza ovens for home use:

  1. Ooni 3 portable wood-fired outdoor pizza oven.
  2. Ooni pro outdoor pizza oven.
  3. Ooni koda gas-powered outdoor pizza oven.
  4. Ooni koda 16 gas-powered outdoor pizza oven.
  5. Napoli wood fire and gas outdoor pizza oven.
  6. Fontana Forni Forno Toscano margherita wood fired pizza oven
  7. Chicago brick oven CBO-750 gas outdoor pizza oven.
  8. Pizza craft PC6500 Pizzeria pronto portable outdoor pizza oven
  9. Cuisinart CPO-600 Alfrescamore portable outdoor pizza oven.
  10. Pizzacraft PC6500 PizzaQue portable outdoor pizza oven.

What Are The Basic Instructions For High-Temperature vs. Low-Temperature Cooking?

High-temperature cooking (over 400°F) as open-door cooking: 

  1. Keep the fire going at the back of the oven. 
  2. The oven dome turns black, then white as you approach your desired temperature. 
  3. Sweep the hearth with a wire brush and you are ready to cook.

 Low-temperature cooking (under 400°F) as open or closed-door cooking: 

  1. Spread the fire throughout the oven.
  2. Store heat in the hearth and dome by burning your fire hot for at least an hour.
  3. After the fire burns down, throw all coals and ashes into your ash bin. 
  4. Sweep the hearth and run a light mop (barely wet) across it to remove ash. 
  5. Load your oven with food and close the door. 

Why Are Cracks Formed In My Clay Or Mortar?

Cracks are formed in clay or mortar because your oven walls are too thin or they were not completely dry when performing the first firing. When there is water in the oven walls and heat builds in the oven, the water will turn to steam. In a bid to escape the walls quickly, cracks will be created. 

These cracks may not cause issues but will be unpleasant to your eyes. Simply smooth over the cracks with similar material the walls were made of. 

Water can re-enter the oven walls if the oven is not protected from the elements. Thus, you should ensure the oven dries completely before use and build a cover to prevent it from becoming wet.

How Do I Cure My Oven?

To cure your oven, refer to your oven’s manufacturer manual. The curing process for a wood-burning oven varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Since manufacturers pre-fire ovens in a kiln during the manufacturing process, most of the water is gone before the ovens are shipped over to you.

There is a possibility that a small amount of residual water may remain. So before you use your oven, burnthrough a 15-20 lb. bag of charcoal over the course of a day or two. That should work just great.

You should cure your oven over a three-day period, but CB (Chicago Brick) ovens can be cured in as little as a day.

What Are The Differences Between The Primavera Oven And Other Small Wood-Fired Ovens?

The differences are very clear. Most “ready-to-cook” wood-fired ovens are too small to be effective. The Primavera oven is designed with either a 24″ and 28″ cooking floor, providing enough room for the oven fire and your pizzas. Smaller ovens cannot deliver that and are nearly impossible to use.

Also, the Primavera outdoor oven possesses a true Italian-style vent and chimney design which attracts hot air and smoke up the chimney. Beware of ovens that do not have vents and chimneys. 

Finally, while the Primavera oven enclosure is designed with old world charm in mind, the oven itself is built using modern refractories and space-age insulators. It can easily attain and hold the high heat as compared to wood-fired ovens.

What Is The Difference Between A Pizza Oven And A Bread Oven?

The difference between a pizza oven and a bread oven is that a bread oven is designed to bake many batches of bread at low heat, from one firing. As a result, they are unable to reach or sustain the temperature needed for pizza. This is not so for a pizza oven.

A pizza oven possesses the right thermal mass for pizza, food, and bread. It can heat up quickly and has a round baking hearth designed for fire in the oven cooking. At the same time, it has sufficient mass to easily cook a large batch of bread from a single firing – more than enough bread for any family.

What Are The General Classifications Of Pizza Ovens And Their Characteristics?

The classifications of pizza ovens and their characteristics are:

  1. The wood-fired oven: It can reach the highest temperature and gives your pizza that unique extra sensation that smoked taste brings. Although it’s expensive and hard to manage, there’s no better way to cook pizza.
  2. The electric oven is cheap and convenient, but it doesn’t reach very high temperatures. For this reason, it is not good for baking pizza.
  3. The gas-fired oven is a halfway house between the handy electric oven and the high-temp wood-fired oven.

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