March 28, 2020 Jens Hofacker
Wood Burning Oven Customer: Fire Up
Are you the proud owner of a wood-burning oven or are you thinking of getting one? The garden season will start soon and such a traditional Italian wood-burning oven is a versatile highlight. As an amateur cook, you have plenty of recipes in mind, but some unanswered questions remain about how to use a wood-burning oven.
TIP 1: QUESTION OF MATERIAL, USE OF BEECH WOOD
Beech wood is the most suitable fuel for wood-burning ovens. The mass density is very high and thus produces the best burning quality. This also allows an optimal and constant temperature to develop, which is especially important in cooking and baking.
The beech wood does not develop smoke and leaves only the slightest ash residue. Of course, only if it is really dry wood, which has a residual moisture of less than 20%. Ask your wood dealer about this. Only properly stored wood burns well. Two to three years of storage are ideal. Wood that is too fresh still contains moisture and produces too much smoke. Overstored wood quickly loses its heating value.
TIP 2: BUILDING A FIRE, FROM THE FIRST EMBERS TO A FULL-BLOWN FIRE
The first thing to do is to prepare enough suitable kindling. Generally light the wood from top to bottom. Do not use paper or cardboard, which will only create unnecessary ash residue. Use wood wool pads or similar material.
Now place 4-6 small logs on top of each other in a crisscross pattern and arranged in an airy manner, with a kindling on top or 1-2 kindling aids in general.
Open the air regulator to start the fire, and when the fire has fully ignited, the air supply should be regulated or possibly closed later. For good combustion, any wood stove needs sufficient oxygen. The air supply required for this can be supplied either by the outside air, by a surrounding room air or by an external source. Optimal regulation also always means effective combustion.
TIP 3: MAINTAIN THE FIRE, OPTIMUM TEMPERATURE FOR BAKING AND COOKING.
In general, don't develop too much heat; high-temperature cooking is easy, but quickly returning the oven to the appropriate cooking temperature is difficult once it gets too hot. It always means loss of time and energy.
Only when the fire has almost completely burned down and the flames have just gone out is the right time to add more and larger logs. In this way you stabilize the temperature and the optimal cooking temperature of approx. 300°C can develop.