How to Properly Cure Your Brick Pizza Oven
What is a Brick Pizza Oven?
A brick pizza oven is a colloquial term for a masonry oven that consists of a baking chamber made of fireproof brick, stone, concrete, clay or sob. Aesthetically, it is a perfect addition to your home that adds value as time goes by. More than that is the sentimental value it provides. A delicious home-cooked meal, quality time spent with family and loved ones and the memories created with it are all the more reasons why you should take good care of your brick pizza oven.
So, it’s important that you know the proper way to cure it before using it. Do not let any flaw destroy your brick pizza oven and the family traditions and memories created around it. Here are some important things you need to know about curing brick pizza ovens.
Why is properly curing your brick pizza oven essential?
After pizza construction, normally there is still some moisture kept inside. Also, our ovens travel from Portugal to the USA in a container which also holds moisture. When moisture is heated a little too quickly, like in normal cooking, the water will turn to steam and this makes the masonry weak and can damage the oven.
To avoid this, a process called curing is done. This process uses small amounts of sustained heat which helps the moisture trapped inside the brick to evaporate faster. This allows you to fire your oven at the highest temperature without worrying over the damage it could have.
When the curing is done properly, it strengthens the oven’s dome. Your oven will still crack after properly cured but these cracks are normal and inevitable. All authentic ovens will crack and they are superficial. If you don’t like the look of them you can use our crack repair kit called Ultrafire. One container is included with each oven but you may order more.
What is the correct way to Cure Your Brick Pizza Oven
The curing process usually takes several days. The oven temperature should not go beyond recommended levels so careful attention is needed. Remember your thermometer that comes with the oven is in Celsius. Certain temperature levels should be observed and it varies daily over the course of 5 days. Your oven’s thermometer will do the job, but to be more precise, we suggest that you use an infrared temperature gun to check the temperature levels inside the dome.
Start heating the oven by building a small, controlled, smoldering fire inside the dome. Best way to do this is by using kindling in a tic-tac-toe format. Monitor the temperature and add more wood accordingly. If you find it is going above the desired temperature, just gently disrupt the fire with a fireplace poker of some sort. Maintaining a consistent low-temperature fire is challenging, but it is critical in the curing process that you don’t go above the recommended temperatures, especially during days 1 and 2.
It’s important that the curing of your brick pizza oven goes slowly over a 5-day period, building fires daily for five days , gradually increasing in size, starting with low temperature. Close your oven door each night after your cure. If you come upon a rain day make sure your oven is covered and resume on the next dry day. Always keeping your oven covered during wet weather is essential.
Here’s the recommended daily process of curing your oven:
- Day One: Heat your oven to 140 °F / 60 °C for 4-5 hours.
- Day Two: Heat oven at 215 °F / 100 °C for 4-5 hours.
- Day Three: Heat oven at 300 °F / 150 °C for 4-5 hours.
- Day Four: Heat at 400 °F / 200 °C for 4-5 hours.
- Day Five: Heat at 480 °F / 250 °C for 4-5 hours.
Important things to note:
- When curing your brick pizza oven, use solid wood fuels only.
- Avoid charcoal, pressure-treated lumber, chipped wood products, sappy woods, laminated wood, or any material other than dry, medium or hard fire wood.
- Do not use paper as it creates ash and has no heat value.
- Don’t use liquid fuel such as lighter fluid, gasoline, kerosene or similar liquid.
- Using food-grade fire starters is allowed
- Don’t use products that are not specified to use with your oven.
- NEVER use water to lower down the temperature inside the oven or to extinguish the fire.
- There should be a period between completing the masonry work and starting the actual curing.
- The cement and mortar should cure first. This can be improved by keeping the cement moist and making sure it doesn’t dry out.
- Avoid space heaters as they will produce so much steam in the oven and can be a safety hazard.
- If you see black smoke coming out from the oven, do not panic. That’s food grade grease used in the refractory de-molding process. The smoke will be a little heavier for the first two days and will disperse through the rest of the curing process.
- Make sure you shut your oven door every night of the cure.
Congratulations! Now you’re ready to throw in a pizza and start celebrating!
For more information on the curing process, contact us. Call us at 602-482-1000 or send us an email at email@example.com. We have a variety of ovens and products available. You may check them out here.
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