So, you’ve just received your first wood-fired oven - what do you do now?
When your oven arrives, it will need seasoning. This is the process of gradually heating the oven to thoroughly dry the inside. This step will need repeating as part of regular maintenance, particularly at the start of a season or if your oven gets very cold. It might take a couple of hours.
To build a fire, you’ll need kindling, firelighters, and compressed logs. We recommend kiln-dried, low-moisture wood or compressed logs such as beech. You could use a butane gas torch to speed up the process. A wood-fired oven can consume 2-3kg of wood per hour, so be sure to stock up.
First, build a cabin or a Jenga-like construction using a few pieces of kindling. If you’re using one of our larger ovens such as the Apollo or the Vulcan, you may want to make 2 or 3 of these structures before combining them into one larger flame.
Place a firelighter in the center of the construction and light it. Then begin to add your logs, little and often, until the fire spreads around the internal oven. Although our ovens are fitted with an external temperature gauge as an indicator that the internal oven is gaining/losing heat, an infrared thermometer is needed to give a precise reading of the tiles. Leave the door off until the floor of the oven reaches a temperature of 400°C. At this point, you’re ready to start cooking.
Brush the embers and timber to one side and place a log guard to keep the burning logs and ash away from your food. At this stage, you can put the door back on to help lower the temperature.
As you practice, you’ll get to know your oven’s capabilities as well as your own. We strongly encourage experimenting as the only limit is your own imagination - we started with pizza then progressed with joints of meat, veggies, and steaks. We’d recommend 350-400°C for pizza, 270°C for roasting, and 200°C for baking.
You may find pushing the wood to the side will work better than pushing the wood to the back. The oven requires air, which is drawn through the front door aperture, across the fire and up along the roof with the hot air exiting out through the flue.
In warmer weather, the oven will fire up and be ready to go in half an hour or so. In very cold weather it generally takes a couple of hours. This is normal. We have successfully lit and maintained cooking temps in an oven where the external temperature was -6°C during testing.
(Wait for the oven to cool!)
Very little maintenance is required for a wood-fired oven. Along with semi-regular seasoning as noted above, we would recommend wiping the oven cover down with a clean, soft cloth - if your oven is stainless steel - or warm, soapy water if it is powder-coated. Over time, a painted finish may look worn and tired. You can repaint with any good quality, heat-resistant paint. Clean out ash and debris with a soft brush and dustpan as required.
Although these are outdoor ovens, there is still a risk of carbon monoxide inhalation from the smoke, as well as other fire related hazards. Always ensure adequate ventilation and take care when dealing with potential hazards such as discarded embers.
Disclaimer: Although we take great care to fully abrase all sharp edges, we cannot guarantee that minor injuries will not occur due to mishandling the product. Much like a paper cut, any metallic edges will still be a potential hazard so please take care when moving or repositioning the oven. We recommend using safety gloves whilst handling the product to minimize the risk of minor lacerations/burns.
TUSCAN GRILL INSTRUCTIONS
NOTE: Your grill is made from laser profile cut mild steel and may have residual signs of dust, steel, oils and other contaminants left over from the manufacturing process so before first use, your grill needs to be seasoned.
To season the grill:
- Give the grill a good clean.
- Ensure the grill is rinsed and dried properly.
- Coat evenly with a light layer of high temp cooking oil (a spray oil is ideal). Wipe off excess oil.
- Heat the grill up until it begins to smoke.
- As the temperature of the grill continues to rise you may notice the grill becoming darker in appearance.
- The longer this process is continued, the more evenly the heat will be distributed through the grill when you are cooking.