Using a wood-fired pizza oven is a great way to achieve incredible pizz…
…and other types of food. But one of the most common questions is whether the pizza oven door should be open or closed. Yet, do you ever ask to yourself, does a pizza oven need a door? Also, in this blog, we also have a review about best outdoor pizza ovens that you might want to see.
Does a Pizza Oven Need A Door?
So how do outdoor pizza ovens work and do a pizza can affect the quality of the pizza? How you use the door, will depend on what you are trying to achieve with your wood-fired oven and in this article, we are going to look at the best way do to this and make the most of that wonderful cooking fire.
The first thing to consider when deciding how to use your pizza oven door is which type of pizza you want to cook. If it’s an American style pizza then the door needs to be left slightly opened as shown here so air can circulate around the pizzas. This helps prevent them from getting too hot but also allows some smoke to escape through the opening.
If however you’re making focaccia with a crust made out of bread flour then there isn’t really any point having an open door because the dough won’t rise properly if not exposed to oxygen. So for these types of pizzas you’ll probably want to close off the top of the oven using either bricks or tiles.
Now let’s take a closer look at the different ways you could choose to operate a wood fired pizza oven:
- Open Door – The ideal method for most types of pizza including Neapolitan style. In order to get maximum heat into the oven, the door is kept wide open during baking. However, once baked, the door may be partially closed to allow excess steam/smoke to escape. It’s important to note that closing the door while still warm will cause condensation build up inside the oven and this must be removed before placing the pizza back in the oven.
- Closed Door – For those who prefer their pizza cooked without ventilation, a closed door works well. As long as the temperature has dropped sufficiently after baking, the residual heat remaining within the oven will keep the interior cool enough for safe storage. One disadvantage of this approach is that only a small amount of heat escapes via convection and this means that the pizza will bake very slowly. Also, since no air circulation occurs during cooling, moisture builds up quickly within the oven causing problems such as mould formation. A good rule of thumb is to leave the door closed until the internal temperature drops by about 5 degrees Celsius below setting temperature.
- Half & Half – When used correctly, half and half doors work perfectly fine. They provide excellent thermal insulation allowing even heating throughout the entire oven cavity. However they don’t allow much airflow and therefore require careful monitoring of temperatures. To avoid overbaking, ensure the oven reaches the correct setpoint prior to adding toppings.
- No Door – Some people find this option appealing as it provides a totally enclosed environment where nothing gets in or out except the smoke produced by the burning logs. With no external exposure to wind or rain, the oven becomes more stable than its open counterpart. However, due to lack of ventilation, the internal temperature rises rapidly resulting in burned pies.
- Brick Oven Doors – These days brick oven doors have become increasingly popular amongst home cooks looking to create authentic artisanal pizzas. There are many advantages associated with installing brick oven doors; primarily being that they help retain heat within the oven whilst maintaining optimal humidity levels. Due to the high porosity of the material, the oven retains approximately 95% of the heat generated by the fire whereas traditional wooden doors lose 50%. Another advantage is that they offer complete protection against rain and snow.
Is Charcoal Safe To Use In A Wood-Fired Pizza Oven?
These oven designs are typically used in conjunction with wood to create those instantly recognizable flaming embers ideal for cooking pizza. However, you can cook over coals (lump charcoal and any other types of charcoal), but there are certain drawbacks to this method. The flame will be lower, resulting in less heat, which implies that coal ovens will take longer to cook the meal. A coal oven’s emissions are more harmful to breathe.
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