You now have your amazing backyard wood fired pizza oven. But patience is the key to that perfect pizza, so don’t crack that baby on full blast just yet. All the experts say that your pizza oven needs to be cured. But what does that mean exactly, why do you need to do it, and how do you know when your new pizza oven is perfectly cured?
In short, you’ll know when your pizza oven is cured when you’re able to reach proper cooking temperatures and when you don’t see major cracks in the dome.
In this article, we’ll go into more detail on:
- How to know when your pizza oven is cured
- Why it’s important to cure your new pizza oven
- What you need to do to cure your fancy pizza oven
How to know when your pizza oven is cured
Your pizza oven is properly cured when:
- You’re able to reach proper cooking temperatures – If you’re not able to reach the proper temperatures, this could be a sign that heat is escaping through unwanted cracks resulting from improper curing (e.g. temperatures got too hot too fast). This means that your dough likely won’t get as crispy as you’d like. Consider adding more insulation such as additional mortar or another wall of bricks to keep that heat in.
- You don’t see major cracks in the dome – Tiny hairline cracks are normal, but more serious cracks in the dome can happen if you fire up your oven too quickly before fully curing or if your temperatures got too high above the recommended temperatures per day. Consider smoothing over the cracks with mortar.
Why it’s important to cure your new pizza oven
Your oven is wet. You remove that moisture by curing your oven. If you don’t cure your new oven, your dome will crack. You may not see the moisture, but that beautiful oven is made with mortars and concrete, which means that it contains water. Your oven needs to be completely dry before firing it up, otherwise you may end up cracking the dome. A cracked dome means that heat won’t be retained as well and you’ll have a sub par pizza.
But the curing process needs to be gradual over a few days at increasing temperatures. This is because if your oven gets too hot too fast, that water escapes too fast, which can also lead to unwanted cracking.
What you need to do to cure your fancy pizza oven
If you’ve bought a brand spanking new pizza oven, you can start the curing process right away. If you’re a DIY pro and built that oven, then it’s important to wait at least a week before curing. The moisture in your oven allows your materials to naturally and properly set if you’ve built it from scratch.
Take 5 days to cure your pizza oven. You may be tempted to skimp out and try for 2 or 3 days, but 5 days allows your pizza oven to cure gradually with increasing temperatures each day.
Here you’ll find a summary of the recommended temperatures and durations each day.
|1||140 F / 60 C||4-5 hours|
|2||215 F / 100 C||4-5 hours|
|3||300 F / 150 C||4-5 hours|
|4||400 F / 200 C||4-5 hours|
|5||480 F / 250 C||4-5 hours|
- Start with a few small to medium logs following this pattern and make sure that your wood is centered right in the middle of the oven. Keep it low – just a few inches above the oven floor. Start the fire by adding small pieces gradually so that you can better control the temperature.
- Measure the temperature using the temperature gauge. Do this at the dome, which is the hottest part of the oven.
- Don’t go over the recommended temperatures. It’s better to be a bit cooler than too hot during the first few days.
- Do not close the door while you’re curing the oven. Leave it slightly open so that your oven doesn’t get too hot (we don’t want cracks!) before it’s fully cured.
- Close your oven at night (when it’s not lit) to keep it dry.
Also, make sure that you’re using proper dry solid wood like ash, oak, beech, or maple. These types of woods will burn gradually and at high temperatures. Avoid resinous woods like spruce or pine because these woods can get too smokey. And please, do not ruin your pizza’s flavors by using any treated wood or liquid fuel (imagine that taste on your pizza…yuck!).
If you need more help, check out this video on How to Cure Your Pizza Oven.
You’ll get a range of suggestions on the time that it takes to cure your oven. Some might even suggest just one or two days, but you now know more about the perils of insufficient curing. You’ve worked hard for that oven, so take the time to get it to perfection over these 5 days.
There you have it. You’re ready to roll with that high performance pizza oven for your backyard shindig. Enjoy that perfectly crispy dough! And if you really want some of that cheesy goodness while you’re curing your pizza oven, why not get the best possible deal and check out the latest pizza coupons here at Coupons.pizza.
Lily is a freelancer and digital nomad who loves to write about food, wine, travel, and great deals. One of her first jobs was at a pizzeria and her first meal post grad was an unforgettable slice of NY thin crust.