If you are thinking of buying or building, a pizza stove to bake pizza at your home, there is one extremely important factor you need to be mindful of. A traditional pizza oven made out of clay or brick is prone to cracking, which leads to either burned or under cooked pizzas. If the cracks get large enough or develop in vital areas, your pizza oven could even collapse entirely. In order to minimize this risk, when your oven is first built you must go through a process called ‘curing.'
Curing a pizza oven is a lengthy process. First, you must let your oven dry out for a week on its own. Lighting a fire to dry out your oven faster will cause cracking. If you live in a humid climate, you may want to wait longer. When this is done, you must spend a further five days building fires and maintaining a constant temperature for at least 8 hours a day, the longer the better. Start at 150ºC for the first day, then increase by 10ºc every day thereafter. This gradual increase in temperature “toughens up” your oven and gets it used to heat.
Only solid woods can be used to cure an oven. You cannot use not charcoal, chipped wood, or sappy woods like pine. You cannot use any sort of liquid, such as lighter fluid or gasoline, to start the fire. You cannot use water to extinguish the fire.
Unfortunately, I have heard far too many stories of people who they cured their wood fired oven following the instructions implicitly, however it still cracked. Even though it cracks didn't appear straight away, due to the constant temperature changes in the outside weather, the awesome tool wood fired pizza oven is constantly expanding and contracting, which causes cracking.
One alternative to a clay or brick wood fired oven is a stainless steel wood fired oven. The floor of this oven has 30 mm thick fire bricks, no different than a traditional wood fired pizza stove. A stainless steel exterior means your oven is waterproof, so no rushing outside with a tarp when it rains. One of the best benefits of a stainless steel oven is that it will not crack and therefore does not require curing. You can literally pull it out of the box, assemble it and start cooking mouthwatering pizzas the same day.