First Pizza!

After the adobe oven had dried off for a few days, we removed the sandcastle former by scraping it away from the inside. We lit a fire in the centre of the oven, using scrap wood, newspaper and some barbecue fuel, and let it burn for a few hours.

A couple of days later, we fired it up again, this time using scrap wood and barbecue charcoal bricquets. After a couple of hours or so it had reached a temperature of 550F. The outside walls of the oven steamed as the water evaporated away, and some hairline cracks appeared around the door – this is normal (they closed up when the oven cooled).

After removing the larger pieces of wood, and making enough space to cook a pizza, we cleaned the oven floor’s surface using a damp towel nailed to a long stick. That created a lot of steam! We were careful to remove all the sand and ash from where we wanted to bake – nobody likes a sandy pizza. Then we used some of Trader Joe’s fresh dough to make a simple pizza, and placed it inside – it cooked in a few minutes, and we had to turn it a few times to stop it burning.

(Normally we make our own pizza dough, but for this first experiment we liked the convenience of pre-made.)

The taste was amazing – especially the crust, which had a characteristic aroma and taste particular to pizza from a good Italian restaurant. There must be some chemical change associated with the very high temperature, that you don’t get in a domestic oven.

We cooked a couple more pizzas, and then removed all the charcoal and wood by scraping them out into a metal container partly filled with water. Then we put a small loaf of bread dough in to cook, closed off the door of the oven. It was ready after about 40 minutes. This also turned out to be delicious … with a slight hint of smokiness in the crust.

Charcoal and wood fuel – temperature up to 550F
First pizza cooking – it’s only small
The finished pizza – yum!
First loaf cooked in the Adobe Oven
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4 thoughts on “First Pizza!

  1. have the same kind of place…old stone fire place in back yard….anything you would do different with a 2nd build…ie fire brick base… commercial clay….chimney vent…Chuck Lake Placid NY

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    1. Hi Chuck,

      Yes, there are a couple of things I would do differently: a) make it much bigger – preferably twice the width at the base would be ideal – otherwise it is hard to fit a decent size pizza in there, and manipulate it, without knocking the burning wood etc. b) use much less sand – our mix was too sandy and this resulted in the walls of the oven easily breaking/crumbling when accidentally knocked. Actually, if I was doing it again, I’d be tempted to buy a sack of potter’s clay and build the oven from that, rather than try mixing my own. We didn’t have any problem with the chimney.

      Let me know how you get on with yours!

      Julian

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