Eva Edleson - Firespeaking

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Barrel Oven Fever

Hi Everbody. Eva from Firespeaking here. I have built and cooked in a number of barrel ovens. I wanted to address a few comments.

First, and very importantly is the subject of PIZZA. YES! You can definitely cook pizza in a wood-fired barrel oven. They turn out delicious and take 5-12 minutes, depending on size of pizza and temperature of oven. I have baked many a successful pizza on sheet pans but for the most authentic, delicious crust and for the quickest cooking pizzas, a pizza stone works great. Put the pizza stone in the oven while it is pre-heating and then just slide the pizza on the stone with your peel.

Please check out these photos from a recent wood-fired barrel oven party-

Temperature. I baked 30 pizzas last Saturday at temperatures ranging from 425 to 500.

So… there are a multitude of criteria to consider for the wood-fired pizza enthusiast. The barrel oven cooks pizzas like a good deck oven with pizza stone would, plus the unmistakable enchantment that wood fire gives to cooking. The barrel oven sings in its versatility, ease and functionality. You can cook pizza just like you can cook breads, brownies, Thanksgiving turkey and more!

For the pizza-obsessed enthusiast, it is likely that the best pizza comes from a traditional WFO. So the ideal oven varies, depending on your desires and pattern of use. As mentioned in this and other forums, a mass oven is only really efficient when used on a day-to-day basis for high volume. There is also such a large range of variation between smaller and larger WFO’s in terms of functionality and cost. We find that the barrel oven spans this spectrum well and can cook for a family, a large party and a bakery at a reasonable construction budget.

Rust. We have not had any problems with barrels rusting out. We now use a very thick gauge metal barrel and we have started painting the outside face of the barrel oven kit with high temperature stove paint. Seems to be working great. Max and his brother built a barrel oven over 8 years ago that has been used weekly and it has not even shown signs of rusting out.

Even heating. The back tends to be a bit hotter in my experience but nothing problematic. I consider this a feature and use it to my advantage. You can regulate the heat by how much wood you put in the firebox and how much air you supply. Temperature is also affected by where the wood is burning along the length of the firebox.

Cast iron. I have successfully cooked many moist cornbreads and frittatas in cast iron pans. I get best results if I preheat the cast iron first, especially with a dish like cornbread which gets that nice crispy exterior. Remember, the barrel oven performs like the conventional oven in most kitchens.

I look forward to being a part of this ongoing conversation…
Until the next pizza party!


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