Pizza Oven

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The Pizza Oven was a wonderful project that involved many people. Special thanks goes to Tarla who put in an enormous effort in the research and physical construction phases.

The Oven is our own design. The base is Besser block, which is reinforced with steel and core filled with concrete. Because the temperatures of the oven are over 500 degrees Celsius, the suspended slab top of the support base is insulated from the fire. It has a 50mm thick calcium silicate board for insulation which is overlaid with a refractory mortar which can handle the heat.

We chose to use refractory bricks in a limited capacity to provide some longevity to the structure. The brick arch and the internal skirt allow tools and rough handling without damage. If we just used clay, I suspect we would be repairing and perhaps rebuilding on a regular basis. The brick arches were laid over a separately constructed dual arch formwork, and the chimney was placed so that when the door is closed it does not vent the oven, i.e. we don't lose any heat up the chimney when the door is closed. The nice thing about the 2m high chimney is that it draws the smoke away very well. Non chimney designs were considered but discarded for this reason.

The clay was laid over the damp sand mold. It was done in stages and allowed to dry between layers. The cracks that developed were filled from both inside and outside the oven. The inside repairs were a bit claustrophobic! A door was constructed of plate metal that sandwiched more calcium silicate insulation. A roof and adjacent tennis pavillion completed this area.

We have had many pizza nights. The oven takes about 4 to 5 hours to heat. Then remove the coals. We wait until the temperature is back down around 300 degrees before we start cooking and can turn out pizzas in about 2 minutes in batches of four. Wood fired and other food like marinated octopus, bread and ribs are fantastic. The temperature in the oven will be 50 degrees the next morning, so we have cooked pot roasts overnight that are to die for.

We hope that you can join us one day for a tennis and pizza night.