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Wood Fired Clay Pizza Oven Build (With Pizza Recipe)

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Well it has been a long time in the making and an even longer time in the dreaming about, but it is finally done.... Just in time for winter. Doh. Oh well better late than never.

I have been dreaming about building my own oven for ages now. I started talking about how much I would love to build one when I was renting a two bedroom flat. So I couldn’t really make one then. A couple of years after that we moved to a house, but were still renting and I wasn't going to spend all that effort improving someone else's garden. My girlfriend (Now wife) one Christmas got me all the pizza tools and booked me on the "Build and Bake" course at river cottage. She also got me a copy of "Kiko Denzer - Build Your Own Earth Oven" Which I read cover to cover on the train many times and can’t recommend highly enough. There was no turning back from that point. Finally last year we bought our own house and I could finally build my oven I had been dreaming of all this time!
 
 
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Step 1: Base

Picture of Base
First the base..... I poured a concrete slab and set to building the walls, both of which were a first for me. I was going poor a slab of concrete but saw these small lintels at the builders merchant and laid 4 square flag stones on top that had been left in the garden when we bought the house. I wanted to store wood under the oven as we don’t have a lot of space for a separate wood pile. Thinking about it later I wish I had left the back open so there would have been better air flow around the wood keeping it dryer. Instead in the finished oven you can see I have chopped down a wooden pallet to fit in the bottom, so the air can circulate.
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BlueJinxie4 days ago

Oh dear, I'll worship you from now on. My fiance and I are at your second step : we rent a house and can't wait to buy our own, but we dream of that oven and the big garden parties with friends and family since ages ! Thank you so much, I'll preciously keep your instructable.

rlohr1 year ago
Nice work! I've read Kiko's book a few times now and hope to build one next summer. Just need a source for clay. Thanks for the fine post and photos.

hi. Could you tell me where you brought your clay from. I'm having right trouble locating some. Thank you

cwolsey (author)  sarah.swainsbury1 month ago
Dig a big hole. You will most likly hit clay eventually.

have no where to dig in the garden as base built and garden decked. Didn't know if there was a supplier who sells pizza oven clay. Thanks tho

hi all. I'm in need of some help. We're building our pizza oven but I cannot find a supplier for the clay. Anybody have any suggestions please. Really appreciate the help

jamwill703 months ago

hi jw again kud i put my fire bricks straight ontop of my fags which are 2ft x 2ft and 60mmm thick. are your flags in the photos 2x2 ?

cwolsey (author)  jamwill703 months ago
Yes they are 2ft x 2ft. You could just put it straight on the flag stones but then you will only have insulation on the top and sides not the bottom. The bricks will acts as thermal mass. Which will be fine it you just want to cook pizzas. Which is fine But if you want to do any thing like a roast joint of meat with retained heat / bread (no fire in the oven) all the heat will escape out of the bottom. Having said that I have not tried it, I am just going off my research. You will find that if you make a clay done with no insulation it will work but not as well as an insulated one. I am moving house soon so going to have to build a new one and I am thinking of doubling the insulation. The base is not a lot more effort and to be on the safe side I would insulate it. Plus it means you have to drink lots of beer / wine to get bottle and that no bad thing.
jamwill703 months ago

Hi just about to start this build just one question why the layer of bottles, why insulate the base, is it for the chance of cracking ? please advise jw from newcastle

cwolsey (author)  jamwill703 months ago
The idea is to retain as much heat as possible. The oven is surrounded by a layer of insulation. The clay and sawdust layer acts as a honeycomb. With the air gaps retaining heat. If you didn't insulate the base and set it on the ground you would ex spend a lot of energy heating up the soil underneath the oven. If you don't use fire bricks and just put the fire on flagstones they will crack and crumble with the heat.
jamwill703 months ago

Hi just about to start this build just one question why the layer of bottles, why insulate the base, is it for the chance of cracking ? please advise jw from newcastle

sublimemick4 months ago
What an inspirational instructable. So good ! I copied your structure (bar the clay) i'll not even attempt your roof (i'm gonna buy a dog kennel and modify it). On a serious note - this is more informative than kilo denzer's book - which i bought. I found myself turning to your instructable for information and pictures. I'm about 2/3rds of the way through my project. Thank you for the inspiration - you gave me the confidence the build one myself.
cwolsey (author)  sublimemick4 months ago
Thank you for such a lovely comment. I am thrilled you found it so useful.

I have just sold my house and so there might be brick built oven instructable coming in a few years.

Any questions at all I would be happy to help.
The oven was probably the deal clincher for house sale!!! Good luck with the next build. I'm looking forward to the instructable already. Hope you are staying in the peak district. Lovely part of the world. I've done some mountain biking over there. Sure can get wet (like here in Co. Down). What is the internal diameter of your oven?
cwolsey (author)  sublimemick4 months ago
27" which is plenty big enough for me.
I've gone 27" too. How many bags of sand did it take for the dome?
cwolsey (author)  sublimemick4 months ago

To be honest I cant remember the exact figure. but it was like 10 or something like that. I do remember thinking it would have been a cheaper to buy a half ton bag. but I can't remember if that included the sand needed for the cement base as well.

alexgrindrod11 months ago
Hi there,

Is it 1 part fire-clay, 1 part sand and a little bit of water ?
Is it the same amount if you buy the clay
cwolsey (author)  alexgrindrod11 months ago
It all depends how pure the clay is. I made some small test bricks with diffrent ratios. I suspect if you buy clay it will be a lot more pure than what you dig out of the ground.
cirillin1 year ago
In what part of the country do you live? I was wondering how it held up to winter weather.
How is it working out for you?
cwolsey (author)  cirillin1 year ago
I live in the Peak District near Manchester. So it has seen a lot of rain and snow. Which is why it needed such a full on roof. It is absolutely fine, in fact it improves each time you use it as more and more moister steams off.
wallerps1 year ago
Congratulations on your project. I too want to build one of these when we finally get retired and move into our retirement home next year.

You did a excellent job and thank you for your post.

All The Best,
Sparkie Waller
Birmingham, Alabama
Arghus1 year ago
this makes a touch jealous, anybow, nice work both on the building and the pizza , did you build that huge chopping block too ?
cwolsey (author)  Arghus1 year ago
Thanks,
i bought the butchers block in a supermarket years ago for next to nothing.
Pizza Hut....ha!

Very nicely done. I can almost taste that wonderfully crunchy crust!

Ovens like this are common in the US Southwest...many are finished with a plaster similar to that used on adobe structures to protect them from the elements, although others have come to the same conclusion you have regarding a structure.
cwolsey (author)  bruce.desertrat1 year ago
Unfortunately here in the Peak District England we get a LOT of rain. I would have to do a lot more up keep with out a roof. But I do agree they look nicer without a roof
Can you not cover it with plaster. (Sand and cement). This way you keep shape, you don't need the roof and it is more weather proof.
cwolsey (author)  lourens011 year ago
You can't render it with cement because it needs to be breathable. If you had a waterproof top to it the moister would build up and the roof would collapse inside. You can use a lime render apparently which is breathable. But I went for the roof option
wilgubeast1 year ago
Great story, and I love how you got the clay for the oven.
Wow, amazing--I want one! :) Pizza looks super yummy too!
esl401k1 year ago
This is amazing - well done!
So you only need the fire bricks for the bottom? I thought it was for the whole dome thing too. Good to know! Thanks for this awesome instructable.
t.rohner1 year ago
Very nice oven.

You have my vote and 5*.

I'm also a lucky and proud owner of such a oven for six years.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-build-a-Pizza-Oven/

It was already in action last weekend...

Last year, i built this smaller oven for a friend.



Some things were done differently, but many roads lead to happiness ;-)

Having such a oven is just awesome.

You also make the pizza dough quite similar with a long cold fermentation.
This really sets it apart from a store-bought, or a one hour quick rise dough with lots of yeast.

I also don't cook the tomatoes. Only the liquid part from the can with onions and garlic.
I intend to make a pizza instructable this year, if i find the time.

A little tip. Make a Margherita with some ripe Taleggio cheese and put a little Prosciutto di Parma and a little Rucola on it after baking. This rocks.

For pizza parties, i also like to make some "Flammkuchens".
For the inauguration of the small oven, i made some sweet  "Flammkuchen" with apples/pears and cinnamon.
The kids love it...

http://www.instructables.com/id/Flammkuchen-the-other-type-of-pizza/

Keep on baking

Thomas


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cwolsey (author)  t.rohner1 year ago
Very nice oven and what a great instructable. I will have to try those Flammkuchens. I think I may have had something similar once at a food fair
timwarneka1 year ago
Brillant!
Kokopeli1 year ago
Very cool instructable! I would love to add one of these to my back yard.
This is AWESOME! There's something amazing about wood fired pizzas that just set them above the rest. Plus who doesn't love a fire? So tempted to make one of these (have plenty of the wine bottles!). Great job!
tlebsack1 year ago
Wow, what a nice project. I hope you're in the pizza business now.
Mrenglish1 year ago
Sweet!
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