Pizza Ovens FAQ’sQ. How do I know when the oven is ready for cooking?A. When the wood fire begins to slow down, the flame becomes more sluggish and the dome becomes a clear color, it is a sign that the initial combustion is complete and the oven temperature exceeds 250° C.Q. Is it easy to make pizza with wood fired ovens?A. Everyone who has tried to make pizza in a wood fired oven can verify that inserting the pizza, baking, rotating in the oven, and then removing it when cooked is an easy and pleasurable experience. Usually, the first two or three pizzas are not perfect, but the oven is very forgiving and you will be making pizzas like a pro in no time!Q. When should I fire the oven before cooking?A. If the oven is used regularly, say 2-4 times a month – it should only take 30-40 minutes to heat the ovens with refractory domes (Modular Ovens, Forno Fiesta, Forno Vero) and 10-20 minutes for those with stainless steel domes (Forno 5 Minuti, Forno 10 Minuti and, Forno 4 Pizze).Q. How is the oven floor made?A. The oven floor is made of a high-quality refractory material that guarantees more genuine and perfect cooking. In fact, the refractory floor releases accumulated heat gradually this cooking the food without burning it.How should the oven dome be made?The ideal oven dome should be high with a low smoke exit. This can be achieved by keeping the oven opening small, so the hot air and smoke are forced to travel the course of the dome, heating it quickly and trapping heat in the dome. A high dome ensures that more heat remains trapped in the oven, allowing the oven to keep high temperatures and reducing the amount of wood needed to cook! All ovens Alfa follow this basic rule.Q. Should the oven be insulated?A. The job of the refractory materials in a wood-fired oven is to produce and manage heat. The task of the insulation is to not allow the dispersion of heat from the oven. All Alfa mobile, kit and monobloc ovens come insulated. For modular oven installations, we strongly recommend insulating the oven with 6 layers of Alfa ceramic fibre. With a good insulation, the oven will retain a surprisingly large amount of heat, allowing you to cook the next morning with the oven at 200° C.Q. Why are foods tastier when they are cooked in a wood-fired oven?A. For three reasons:the wood imparts the great taste of tradition to the food, which is unmistakable, it is even possible to choose woods with different scents to give foods a particularly delicate taste; in wood-fired ovens cooking temperature is uniform thus food is cooked evenly without undergoing sudden cooling;with wood-fired ovens, you can reach higher cooking temperatures suitable for cooking roasts and pizza.Q. For how long does the oven need to remain fired?A. The more you use a wood fire oven, the less time it takes to start up before baking. For people using the oven every day, you will need about 15-20 minutes to heat the oven. Usually, the oven needs about 30-40 minutes of flame in order to reach temperatures high enough to make pizza. For woodfire ovens with stainless steel domes, heating times are cut in half, since the steel domes heat up much more quickly than refractory.Q. How do I heat the oven?A. The dome of the oven heats the cooking surface. It is surprising but true! The cooking surface of the oven is heated by the refraction of heat from the oven dome, which immediately becomes hot and reflects heat downward heating the oven floor. For this reason, high domed metal wood fire ovens capture more heat in the oven dome thus more effectivelyheating the oven floor!Q. In which part of the oven should I light the fire?A. The first fire is lit near the mouth using thin sticks. At the front of the oven, the fire has more oxygen and the flue is normally directly above which creates a suction of air through the fire. Once the fire has started burning, add larger pieces of wood gradually to keep the flame alive. After about 10 minutes, when one has created a beautiful fire, move the wood to either the back or one side of the oven (depending on your oven type) and continue to feed it wood gradually. In wood-burning ovens and particularly in high-domed metal cart wood-fired ovens, moving the fire to one side of the oven is the best solution to heat the oven quickly and well, taking advantage of all the warmth of wood.Q. What kind of wood should I use to fire my oven?A. All types of wood are good for firing the oven. However, we do not recommend using conifers (pine, spruce). In the rural tradition, the wood-burning oven was reserved for small cut wood, kindling, prunings, dead leaves, etc.To start the fire a dry softwood kindling should be used and after about 5 minutes of burning slightly larger pieces of a hardwood should be added. Australia has an abundance of ironbark timber which is a great wood to use in a pizza oven. With most woods there is normally an option for a kiln-dried version, this is wood that as it says, has been kiln dried and removes a great deal of moisture from the wood. This creates a very dry wood which burns super efficiently and will create a fire that is hotter quicker than non-kiln dried. Kiln dried wood will cost more and expect to pay anywhere from 10%-30% more, but it is totally worth it. Getting to temperatures of 500 degrees Celcius with kiln-dried wood can be expected in around 20 minutes! Q. Are wood-fired ovens only for making pizza?A. A wood oven is a formidable machine of cooking! All foods can be cooked in the oven. Just imagine that until a century ago, the only method of cooking was a traditional wood-fired oven. Wood fired ovens offer you the ability to maintain a consistently high temperature for optimal cooking results.Q. Can your wood-fired oven also work as a barbecue?A. Wood fired ovens are also the best barbecues! Here is why: you can grill in an oven, but you cannot light a fire on the barbecue. The reason is simple: the oven is an efficient cooking machine and does not disperse heat, instead of using it all for the goodness of the barbecue.Q. Can I still cook in the wood-fired oven the next morning?A. If the furnace is a refractory-type dome (Jamie Oliver Dome 60 & 80, Valoriani, The Pizza Oven Store Kit, Alfa Pro) and is well insulated, just close the door and the next morning you will have a temperature for the small bread and scones, cakes, legumes, etc.