The pizza oven has been with us since the dawn of human history and virtually every civilization on earth used the pizza oven in one way or another. Amazingly, the brick ovens uncovered in ancient Pompeii are in nearly perfect shape and could start baking today with only a few minor renovations. Because they maintain their heat, cook so well and are so versatile, the pizza oven is one of the best ways to cook – and not just pizzas.
Forno Bravo has one of the largest pizza oven selections in the world. Whether you are looking for a small, portable unit or an incredible custom backyard build, Forno Bravo has you covered.
Pizza Oven History
The pizza oven has been part of our civilization for tens of thousands of years; the origins of the pizza oven are closely linked to the earth ovens or cooking pits. Incredibly, archeologists found ruins of cooking pits in central Europe that date back to 29,000 BC where one of the last meals served was a roasted, gigantic mammoth. Some well-equipped kitchens and remnants of these earth ovens can be found on nearly every corner of the planet.
A great deal has changed since the time of the ancient earth oven and it eventually evolved into the modern pizza oven we see today. The first wood fired kitchens were discovered in Predynastic Egypt and date back some 3400 years. Each home had an oven located in the center and the cooking process was typically a ‘slow roast’ of bread, meats, and other foods.
Ancient Greece is where we witnessed the true evolution of the wood burning oven with their renowned ‘clay ovens’ or ‘lpnos‘. These ovens truly revolutionized cooking and made it into more of an art, rather than a necessity, due to the invention of the front-loaded bread oven. The Greeks experimented with different shapes of bread and eventually started to cook foods and sell them commercially in marketplaces. With the use of these ovens, the Greeks also helped to create the original pizzas called plakous that were flatbreads flavored with herbs, onions, garlic and sometimes meats, and baked in these early pizza ovens.
One of the biggest discoveries in the history of the pizza oven was at the ruins of Pompeii. Many of the ovens are still in almost perfect condition and some still have petrified bread in them. These ovens were inspired by the ancient Greeks and were built with craftsmanship using bricks, ceramics, and argyle.
The origins of the modern pizza oven continued on through countless generations and have been built in Italy for many generations. Nearly every small farmhouse throughout Italy at one point had an original brick or stone oven.
If you would like to learn more, please check out:
- “A Brief History of the Pizza Oven” — a look at various ovens through the ages, or
- Make a virtual visit to see the ruins of the original Pompeii ovens in Italy.
Using a Pizza Oven
A pizza oven doesn’t have to be limited to just baking delicious, homemade pizzas. In fact, there are literally hundreds of uses including baking bread, roasting meat, as well as cooking pastries and cakes. The pizza oven provides food with an incredible flavor that cannot be achieved with any other type of cooking.
After you have finished the process of curing your pizza oven, you will start to enjoy cooking every single day. If you follow this process, you can start making items you’ve always dreamed about!
Choosing the Right Wood – The type of wood you burn will depend to a large extent on where you live. The species selection and predominance of medium-hard (such as poplar) or hardwoods (such as oak) vary from the North American west coast to the east coast, and from the south to the north. Avoid burning sappy, oily woods, such as red pine, and never burn laminated woods like plywood, pressure treated woods, or anything that has been painted, chemically treated or glued.
You can also burn construction off-cuts from 2x4s or even broken up pallets for kindling, but the most important rule to follow is that everything you do burn is dry and seasoned.
The best woods to burn in Forno Bravo ovens are hardwoods such as oak, maple, ash, beech, and birch, or fruit and nut trees, including apple, almond, cherry, pear, and pecan. Fruit woods not only burn well, they are also fragrant. Some of the best-known wood-fired pizzerias swear by apple. Hardwoods weigh almost three times as much as softwoods, like pines, fir, cedar, and spruces, so they give off more heat (BTUs).
Firing Your Pizza Oven – Build your fire in the center (left to right and front to back) of the oven using 7-9 sticks of dry kindling, one to two odor-free, non-toxic fire starters, and two to three pieces of seasoned medium or hardwood. Alternatively, you can light your fire with a butane torch. It can be easier and faster than the traditional match or lighter. Try to avoid wax and sawdust fireplace starters, as they could leave a taste in your food.
Once the fire gets going, add 2-3 pieces of wood, so that the flame reaches the center and front of the dome, without lapping too far out of the oven opening. Use seasoned wood that is roughly 3’-4’ in diameter, and roughly 18’ long. Your firewood should not smolder or smoke before catching fire, and should burn easily and quickly. Once the fire is well established, continue adding more wood, and wait for about 20 minutes.
After about 20 minutes, a small spot at the top center of the oven dome should start to turn clear (or white), and then begin expanding outward. This “whitening” is the sign that dome is reaching the desired cooking temperature. This change occurs when the carbon accumulated on the oven dome reaches about 700ºF and turns from black to clear.
Controlling the Pizza Oven Temperature – You can test your oven’s heat in a number of places, including the dome face, the top of the hearth, the air circulating in the oven, and the refractory material behind the dome and cooking floor face. Each holds a number of clues for understanding how your oven is performing, and what you should do to manage it.
Managing dome heat for fire-in-the-oven cooking is pretty simple. When the dome of the oven has completely whitened and stays clear, it is maintaining the high temperatures you want. When the color begins to turn black, you need to increase the fire.
What to Cook – Check out over 200 amazing recipes you can cook in your own pizza oven. You aren’t limited to just pizzas; there are literally thousands of different recipes and items you can cook!
Pizza Oven Types
Forno Bravo provides four residential modular pizza oven product families:
Giardino2G – A line of small, easy-to-assemble, and fully customizable ovens for pizza. They are the least expensive ovens on the market. Available in 24″ and 28″ sizes.
Casa2G – Our most popular residential oven, is designed to be easily incorporated into any indoor or outdoor kitchen style. It is the “perfect wood-fired oven engine.” Available in 32″, 36″, 40″ and 44″ sizes.
Premio2G – A family of premium residential ovens that feature a thicker and heavier dome, thicker insulation (top and bottom) and an insulated oven door. These muscular ovens offer professional wood-fired cooking and baking at home. Available in 40″, 44″ and 48″ sizes.
Artigiano – A line of true brick pizza ovens handcrafted, one at a time, in Italy by skilled craftsman. A unique and wonderful oven. Available in 32″, 40″ and 40″ x 48″ sizes.
Forno Bravo provides six assembled residential pizza oven families designed to meet a wide range of backyard and party cooking requirements:
Primavera Series – Small, light pizza ovens that fit on most patios, require little installation—and bake authentic 90-second Vera Pizza Napoletana.
Andiamo Series – Small, light pizza ovens with a metal enclosure and casters that you can roll into place—a true pizza oven that is as easy as your grill.
Napolino Series – A Naples-style pizza oven with a tiled enclosure and center vent — for your backyard.
Vesuvio – A Naples-style assembled pizza oven with a traditional center vent system, which assists in even and efficient heating required for baking pizza – designed for backyard baking.
There are two Forno Bravo Modular Oven Kit product families for commercial use:
Professionale OK Series – A family of smaller oven kits designed for restaurants looking for a wood or gas-fired oven to compliment their other cooking equipment.
Modena2G OK Series – A family of ultra-premium oven kits designed for high volume, high throughput pizzerias and restaurants looking to feature an Italian style oven.
Forno Bravo provides three assembled commercial pizza oven product families:
Modena2G FA Series – A family of ultra-premium ovens designed for high volume, high throughput pizzerias and restaurants looking to feature an Italian style pizza oven.
Professionale FA Series – A family of smaller commercial ovens designed for restaurants looking for a wood or gas-fired pizza oven to compliment their other cooking equipment.
Napoli Series – A family of traditional Naples-style ovens based on the Modena2G OK (oven kit) that feature a center oven vent and distinctive tiled Igloo enclosure. Perfect for a VPN or Pizza Napoletana restaurant.
Roma Series – A family of indoor/outdoor, transportable ovens based on the Professionale OK (oven kit) designed for restaurants and professional food service companies looking for an attractive, traditional stucco enclosure.
Where Can I Buy a Pizza Oven?
Forno Bravo has the pizza oven you’re looking for! We carry a fantastic selection of pizza ovens for all of your cooking needs.Start Shopping
Pizza Oven Photo Gallery
Do you want to see some incredible photos of every kind of pizza oven out there? Check out this amazing photo gallery:Pizza Oven Gallery