In this instructable we will describe how to build a real Portuguese brick pizza oven.
Portuguese ovens are characterized by higher dome than the Italian / Neapolitan ovens. What this means in practice is less intense heat. In all of these ovens the heat is reflected from the dome back onto the cooking floor and the lower the dome the higher the heat. While the Italian pizza ovens are made primarily for pizza (they cook other foods too, but most people buy them for pizza) the Portuguese ovens are made with cooking a variety of foods in mind: slow roasts, lasagnas, bread etc. For all of these you will need less heat than for pizza and hence a Portguese ovens can come in handy. Now, this does not mean that it won't cook pizza - it absolutely will! But maintaining 900-1100F heat is easier in quality Neapolitan oven than a Portuguese one.
The video posted on this page shows the entire process (it's a combination of static shots and video). we describe the process in more detail and with relevant pictures in the following steps.
Portugal has centuries-old oven building traditions. Drive around and you will see. Wood fired ovens and charcoal grills are sold along major highways like ice cream in America, it's pretty amazing.
Up next: the Portuguese clay oven.
Before we jump to the main topic - the brick oven - it's worthwhile to point out that Portugal has another kind of oven which works the same way but is built from terracotta clay. It's called "Pereruela" style after a Spanish city where this style of oven is popular - and maybe even originated. The video on this page describes it all. Basically clay os rolled by hand until the oven shell is completed. Once this is done the oven (dozens of them actually) is heated in a huge kiln - also wood fired - and then afterwards insulation, cement, tiles, door, and other things are added to make the oven complete. We have attached some pictures on this page.
The result is a great oven with a beautiful interior - one piece terracotta. However for most people this is not a DIY home project. Rolling clay this way takes experience and hence we decided to concentrate on the brick oven - which is a common DIY build.