How to build a wood-fired pizza oven – delicious. magazine

In 2008 Simon Brookes attended a Build and Bake course at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ in Devon, where he learned how to cook in a wood-fired oven and how to build one. How long to bake salmon steaks “I came home and thought, ‘I’m going to build my own pizza oven,’” recalls Simon. How do you cook salmon fillets “I’m not practical; I can do basic DIY, but construction is out of my comfort zone. How to cook salmon fillets in oven If I can do it anyone can.”

While building his oven Simon started a blog about the project and the food he was cooking in the oven.

How to cook frozen salmon fillets Soon, would-be oven builders got in touch from all over the world, sharing photos of their ovens and swapping tips. How long to cook salmon fillets in oven Eventually he put all his experience into an e-book called How to Build a Traditional Wood-fired Clay Pizza Oven.

Simon’s project hasn’t been a mere flash in the pan. How to cook salmon fillet in oven “It’s replaced our barbecue,” he says. How to cook salmon fillets in a pan “A clay oven takes an hour to get up to temperature, but once it does, you’re cooking pizza in 60 seconds, with a crisp base and a fantastic smoky flavour.”

Wood-fired ovens cook at very high temperatures – around 400°C. How to cook salmon fillets Domestic ovens can’t get that hot. How to cook frozen salmon fillets in the oven They’re not just for pizzas, though. How to cook a salmon fillet in the oven Once you sweep out the embers and let it cool a little, the oven’s perfect for slow-roasting. How long does salmon take to cook in the oven “I’ve cooked joints overnight at around 130°C,” says Simon.

Far from being a new-fangled invention, clay ovens are thousands of years old. How to cook salmon without foil The ancient Egyptians used clay ovens and examples have been unearthed in Roman Pompeii that would still work today if cleaned out and fired up. How to cook salmon steaks in oven Ovens like these were built in communal areas and shared by families. How to cook salmon on stove top By Medieval times, the ovens had become bigger and were used to bake bread for entire villages. How to cook smoked salmon fillet Many Italian homes had wood-fired ovens inside up until the middle of the 20th century.

• Simon runs courses on building and cooking at the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire

• Manna from Devon runs two courses on cooking in wood-fired ovens. How long to cook salmon steaks One focuses on the ovens and cooking at high temperatures. How to grill salmon fillets The other looks at using the residual heat for cakes, pastry and slow-cooked pork and lamb. How to cook baked salmon There’s also a free two-hour taster session.

First, decide where to site your oven. How long to cook salmon fillet Unlike a barbecue, you can’t move a pizza oven around the garden once it’s built. How long to cook baked salmon Choose an area with plenty of space around it – somewhere in full sunlight is good.

How long will it take? You should be able to build it over a summer weekend if the weather’s fine.

You can get most of these items from builder’s merchants – if not, we’ve given other options

• About 30 bricks: at least 20 will need to be smooth and solid, with no recess (frog) or holes (perforations), to form your oven floor.

• 20 breeze blocks and 5kg tub of cement or twenty 120cm x 20cm x 20cm wooden beams, an electric drill and long wood screws (for the plinth frame)

• 125-175kg clay (the cheapest will do – try

• Large bag (14 litres or 6kg) of wood shavings (from pet shops)

• Mixing the clay and sand is the hardest, most time- consuming part of the building process. How long does salmon take to cook in oven It’s best to mix this in batches as and when you need it.

• For the first layer (step 3) you’ll need about three buckets of clay to six 10 litre buckets of sand. How long to cook salmon fillets The final shell (step 7) will need four buckets of clay to eight of sand (1:2 ratio clay:sand).

• You do the mixing (puddling) with your feet. How to cook salmon fillets in the oven Tip the sand onto a large plastic tarpaulin sheet, break the clay into thumb-size pieces and, wearing wellies, tread the two together with a little water. How to cook salmon steaks in a frying pan This is called puddling. Salmon steak cooking time The mixture is ready when a tennis ball-size piece dropped from shoulder height holds together. Salmon fillet cooking time If it splats, the mix is too wet; if it cracks, it’s too dry.

This is the foundation of your oven, so it needs to be solid. How to prepare salmon steaks You can build the plinth frame out of bricks, breeze blocks or wooden sleepers. Cooking a salmon fillet Clear the ground and dig a shallow trench 120cm x 120cm square. How to cook salmon without skin If you build the frame from bricks, or breeze blocks, use cement. Salmon oven cooking time If you’re using wood, screw the pieces together. How to prepare salmon fillet You’re after a solid, square box approximately 1m high and 120cm square.

Put a layer of rubble and stones in the centre (1a), then add a layer of sand and glass bottles. Oven baked salmon with lemon These will act as a heat sink, warming up, then radiating heat back up through the oven. Oven roasted salmon fillet Finally, top with a layer of smooth, solid bricks (1b) to form the oven floor. Oven cook salmon fillet Bear in mind this is the surface you’ll cook on, so the bricks need to fit snugly together.

Make a mound of damp sand to form the clay around. How to cook salmon fillet in a pan You’ll need about 120kg sand. Oven baked salmon fillets Centre it on the plinth you’ve already built and gradually construct the dome up like a giant sand castle. Oven cook salmon fillets It needs to be 80cm in diameter at the bottom and 40-45cm high. Cooking salmon with skin on Keep checking on it from above to make sure it’s round. How to cook salmon with skin on When it’s finished, cover with wet newspaper to stop it drying out while you puddle the clay (see photo).

Roll handfuls of the puddled clay/sand mix into 20cm long, 10cm thick sausage shapes, then build them up in circles around the sand dome, starting from the base (leave the newspaper on), until the dome is completely covered. Grilling salmon with skin on Work the clay lengths into each other, then smooth the outside with your hands. Cook salmon fillet oven The layer should be about 7-10cm thick. Whole salmon fillet recipes Leave the clay to dry for 4 hours.

Using a kitchen knife, cut out the entrance to your oven. Cooking frozen salmon fillets It needs to be big enough to fit a roasting tray through it, but small enough to keep the heat in – about 30cm wide by 20cm high. Baked whole salmon fillet Once you’ve cut the entrance, scoop out the sand inside (you can reuse it). Recipe for baked salmon fillet Let the dome dry overnight. Cooking salmon fillets in oven The next morning, light a small fire inside to help dry out the clay further.

Build an arch to fit around the entrance using bricks and more sand/clay mix as mortar and to create the angle for the arch. Cooking salmon steaks in oven Secure the arch to the clay dome with more clay mix. How to cook a salmon steak Next, cut a hole in the roof of the dome near where the arch joins the dome and build a clay collar to hold the chimney. Baking a salmon fillet You can use a plant pot as a chimney, buy one, or build up rings of clay to make one (as in the photo).

Make 4 litres of slip (a mixture of clay and water with the consistency of cream). Recipe for baked salmon fillets Stir in 14 litres/6kg wood shavings until well mixed. Baking salmon fillets in oven Slap the insulation layer onto the clay dome, then leave to dry for 2 hours.

This is the same as the first oven layer, just slightly larger. Baked salmon fillets Mix the clay and sand together by puddling. Bake salmon fillet in oven Make sausage-shape bricks and press firmly together to cover the insulation layer until 7-10cm thick all over. How to bake salmon fillet Smooth the surface as in step 3. How long to bake salmon fillet Once the finished oven has had a chance to dry out for a day or two (a week would be even better), clean out any remaining sand or debris… And you’re ready to fire it up!

Cooking Obviously you need wood, and proper dried hardwood is best. How to bake a salmon fillet “Light a pile of newspaper and small sticks of soft wood in the entrance under the chimney,” says Simon. How to bake salmon fillet in oven Slowly build the fire by adding pieces of hardwood such as oak then, once it’s going, move it towards the back of the oven – not too quickly, though, or it may go out. How long to bake a salmon fillet “Once it’s roaring, add just enough wood to keep it ticking over,” says Simon.

When not in use, protect the oven from damp with a well secured tarpaulin.

Now you’ve got your oven, get cooking! You can find our favourite pizza recipes here.

The bottles should be left whole – they act as a heat sink, warming up, then radiating heat back up through the oven. How long bake salmon fillet You should use enough bottles to create a single layer. Baked salmon fillet You can find out more here:

Really helpful instructions to build own wood fired pizza oven.. How to bake salmon fillets superb…

Hi..Cian Matthews.. Baked salmon fillet in foil If you want to have outdoor wood fired pizza oven which is portable and can be move easily at any location then you can go for ilFornino’s wood fired pizza oven. Baked salmon fillet recipes I have already bought this oven and love pizzas made on this oven..

You can use any bricks you can get your hands on but try and look for ones with a nice flat surface, without cracks and any that look too porous. Baked salmon fillets recipes You can find lots more information here too:

I am really keen to b build one of these ovens. Easy baked salmon fillet recipes I am wondering about the heat sink base, does it store enough heato that far from the fire to make a difference or could it be built on an open frame. Calories in baked salmon fillet If so is it possible to source a 900 x 900 concerte slab to use as a base and then use fire bricks inside the oven to cook on?

Here’s Simon’s reply: You only really need a heat sink base if you intend to slow roast (meat joints in particular). How long do you bake salmon fillets If you want to bake pizzas and bread, you don’t need the substantial base and so can use something akin to what you suggested.

Great article, SImon is an inspiration, there’s also the UK WOod Fired Oven Forum for lots of info, I built my own Wood Fired Oven in a few days with mostly recycled materials. How long to bake salmon fillets

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