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USER GUIDE AND RECIPE BOOK
Copyright of
Woodfired Ovens
.
CONTENTS
Page No.
Welcome 3
READ ME FIRST 4
First curing 5
Igniting the Oven 6
Care of your oven 7
USEFUL INFORMATION
Handy Hints 8
Wood/Finished cooking 9/10
Breads and Pizza 11
Dough 12
Pizza Ideas 13/14/15
Yeast Ideas 16
Roasting Ideas 17
Cooking Equipment 18/19
REFERENCE
Conversion tables 20
Temperature Guide 21
Cooking Times 22
Book Lists 23
RECIPES
Recipes Index 24
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WELCOME
Thank you for choosing a Woodfired Oven. You have invested in a most
superior cooking facility and at the same time you have gained an amazing garden feature. Your new oven will quickly become the centre for gatherings and entertaining for many years.
The „New Lifestyle‟ change you have made brings with it experimentation, fun, relaxation, gourmet dining and new experiences, just watch the hours go by!
The myth that cooking in a Woodfired Oven is time consuming will be dispelled as you join the many who have wondered what they did in the days before their Oven. Once you have learnt the easy basic techniques and organise your new way of cooking you will notice you have more time to do the other things you like doing for – relaxing or sipping a wine or two with the ones you love!
HERE IS WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS SAY ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES
“This is what we call real food”
“Pizzas have never tasted this good and made at home at a fraction of the cost”
“The kids love inviting their friends over instead of going out, we just love that the family spends more time together”
“I didn‟t think you could cook more than just pizzas; our eating experiences have grown immensely”
“30 minutes to get the fire started and we would be ready to cook, I just didn‟t believe it, but it‟s true”
“ I was over the moon to know even my small backyard could be put to a better purpose than just hanging out the washing”
“We tend to find any reason to invite friends over more often”
Now that you have your ow Woodfired Oven, we hope you enjoy cooking
in it as much as we have in producing the finished product. The team at
Woodfired Ovens has put a great deal of hard work in every aspect of the business and continue to do so, so you can enjoy the finer tastes on offer!
Enjoy and Taste the Lifestyle!
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READ ME FIRST – IMPORTANT
FIRST FIRING & OVEN CURING PROCESS
Ø Now that your oven has arrived, you are obviously eager to fire it up and start cooking. 
Ø Before you blaze away, please read the curing instructions carefully. 
Note
This process is to be followed when the oven is lit for the first time, or if the oven has not been used for a long period of time (eg during the colder months)
The first couple of fires should be small, and are intended to introduce a low gentle heat to the oven to complete the curing process.
Your training starts here, with your first on-going lesson being that of controlling the fire.
Referring to the lighting instructions, keeps a small fire burning for 3-4 hours over 2 days. Use only enough wood to keep a constant flame.
The flame should be lapping away at the back of the chamber.
Initially, you will see the internal chamber turn completely black with carbon and start to notice hairline cracks appear. This is normal and will start to clear as the oven heats up. As the carbon clears on consequent days, larger pieces of wood should be added to increase the heat and the size of the flame.
On the third day, the oven chamber will start to clear of carbon faster and look whiter faster. You are now ready to cook.
WARNING:
The flue is designed to remove hot air from the oven and should not be touched during the running of the oven and the cooling down process.
Be aware that it is the characteristic of stainless steel to retain heat and therefore the stainless steel insert at the mouth of the oven (latest models ONLY) should get quite hot when operating the oven at higher temperatures.
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IGNITING YOUR WOODFIRED OVEN
In our experience, the most effective way of lighting the oven is with the use of firelighters. Just as important is the use of dry wood. If the wood you use is not sufficiently dry, this will produce smoke and the oven will struggle to light.
STEP 1
Break off 3 pieces of firelighter all about 5cm square. Place the paddle at the mouth of the oven and position the pieces of firelighter in the same direction as the handle of the paddle. (Fig 1)
Initially use wood about 40mm to 50mm across to start the fire. Place a piece of wood either side of the firelighters. (Fig 2)
Then stack 3 or 4 pieces of wood in the other direction. (Fig 3)
Place more wood on top of the stack in the same direction as the first two. (Fig 4)
STEP 2
Carefully light the firelighters and gently slide the paddle with the lit stack to the back of the oven. Making sure that no one is close behind you; pull the paddle out with one swift motion. The firelighters can sometimes move at this point but simply use the tools provided to reposition them. The same applies to the wood stack. At this time, wood can be moved to maximise the flame being produced by the firelighters. Now let the fire burn for 5-10mins. (Fig 5)
Additional wood can be added to the stack once it is past the mouth and inside the chamber where there is more room.
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Fig 5 Fig 5a
STEP 3
Now that the wood is burning and some hot coals have been produced, it is time to add some larger pieces of wood. About 4 to 5 good sized pieces will bring the oven up to a hot temperature ready to cook pizzas, which are cooked directly on the floor of the oven. The placement of the wood to the back chamber wall is the difference between a clear, clean running oven and one that smokes and struggles to fully ignite. (Fig 6)
Fig 6 (Back Chamber Wall)
Correct placement of wood Incorrect
To feed more wood into the oven, it is just a matter of gently throwing it in the area where you want it to go and then adjusting its placement, if needed, with the tools provided. After a short time, everyone develops his or her own technique of doing this. Once you have added more wood leave the fire to burn for 20 minutes.
STEP 4
After 20 minutes the fire should be well and truly lit and a good bed of coals has been produced. Depending on the type of food you now wish to cook and the volume of food you can either add more wood to heat the oven right up, or add smaller pieces for a medium oven or spread the coals out for a cooler oven. Keep in mind that a hot Woodfired Oven can get up to 800 degrees and a cooler one about 200 degrees.
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CARE OF YOUR OVEN
Cleaning
Clean your oven floor regularly by raking the remainder of the fire to the front across the floor tiles once you have finished cooking. Place the door on and in the morning push back the coals and your floor should be clean of any food substances etc.
Clean & Cool Clean the oven floor with an old damp tea towel or a string mop (keep just for use in the oven). This will clean, but also can be used to cool down the oven if it gets too hot and you need to reduce the temperature fast.
Ovens NOT under cover
If your oven is not undercover it is advisable to place a tarp over it during the very wet months and by keeping the door off this will allow any moisture build up to evaporate
Over loading with wood
Do not abuse the oven by over loading with wood and trying to use it as a main heat source during cooler months. Remember it is an oven and not a heater. You can damage the interior and cause cracking.
Cracks
The type of cracking that you see in your oven is common and quite normal. With the extremely high temperatures that can be reached and the intensity of a natural heat source such as fire, your oven goes through a “settling in stage” where some expansion will take place. During this “settling in stage” it is not uncommon for these expansion cracks to appear. These cracks are under no circumstance structural defects and will not affect the performance or durability of oven. If the crack is quiet significant i.e.: 3mm thickness or more please contact us.
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HANDY HINTS
Lighting the fire
Start with a stack of wood, 2 pieces by 3 by 2 by 3 that make a stack of 4 high, and then build the fire up by putting on extra wood over a 10 minute period so that you have a good large fire in the oven. This will provide a large amount of coals and burn off the black carbon in no time.
When placing the extra wood in the fire ensure they are placed on an angle of 45 deg or so, not flat so that they will burn faster. The air circulating avoids the firelighters and flame going out.
Position of the fire
If you are trying to cook something that is long and thin, like a whole fish, try putting the fire on either the left or right side of the oven instead of the rear so that you can fit long trays in the oven without turning them side ways.
For cooking Pizza, put the fire at the back and use the front for cooking.
Oven temperatures: Radiation, Thermal and Convection.
Radiation, thermal and convection all work together when cooking in your oven.
A white oven roof with no carbon will be at about 800 deg; this should be achieved in about 30-40 minutes. If your oven is still black you can cook dishes in it but they will take a little longer to cook properly.
Breads: are cooked at 180ºC, just when you think the coals are out. They will actually look a grey and black color, you may see a slight red, but there should not be any flame, more a retained heat.
Roast and vegetables: 250º - 300º usually about 4 pieces of wood, left to burn to red coals.
Pizza: 500ºC upwards, add wood periodically if cooking pizzas over a long time.
Cakes: 150ºC and cookies cook well in our Mediterranean Woodfired Ovens.
Slow fire ignition:
Damp ash will affect the fire and will not light properly; this can be caused by heavy rain entering the oven or even damp night air (ash attracts moisture). If the oven does not heat up within approx 30 minutes and all the black carbon has not burnt off the roof of the oven you need to use more wood in the light up process. Ash does not need to be removed every time used. In fact it helps when lighting up, as the coals get hot faster!
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Wood
Wet wood can cause the oven chamber to heat up slowly. It can also cause heavy smoke to come out from the oven.
Try to have dry wood available at all times.
Contrary to what some may think, wet wood is not wet from the rain, it is a term used for wood, which is young and still has sap within; time is the best cure for this.
An indication of wet wood is that you will notice, while burning, it glows on one side but is black on the other. It may seem to take a long time to burn. This is the process of the wood trying to release all the retained sap.
In each state you will know what your natural hard wood is. This is the best wood to use. For example in Perth we use mostly Jarrah, and on the odd occasion White Gum or Mallee to give the fire a kick start to the hot side. Never use wood found on construction sites, treated pine or any wood treated with chemicals.
Use of the Door
Use for slow roasting and for cooking breads from residual heat (stored up to 12 hrs}
If the door is put on when the oven is running, the fire will go out and start smoking.
Fit the door firmly when there is no fire and keep ajar when roasting.
If you are noticing that it is difficult to keep the fire burning, you may have moisture in the oven. To test for this, put the door on tightly, leave it for three minutes and once it is removed if there are water droplets on the door this indicates a moisture build up. What is needed now it the same method used when you first cured your oven.
Cooking in the oven
During cooking you can stack trays on top of each other, say a tray of roast vegetables on the bottom with the roast meat on top, and just make sure that the trays are rectangular not square and stacked perpendicular to each other. Add extra stock to prevent drying out.
Use tin foil to protect in a hot oven.  Slit the foil to allow the moisture to escape.
Use the various parts of the oven to cook in, near the front for slower cooking time and for keeping food warm, also to melt chocolate or toast nuts for salads and cakes etc. The middle is for a quick cooking time. Don‟t forget to let the meat dishes rest before serving.
Remember that direct heat will burn quicker than indirect heat, so the closer to the fire the hotter and quicker food cooks.
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On Completion of Cooking
When you have finished cooking in your oven bring the coals forward onto the cooking area, this will ensure a clean oven by burning away any spilt food stuffs left behind or any oils etc.
Charcoal should be left in the oven; it will ignite once the oven gets hot again. This enables you to extract maximum energy from each piece of wood.
More handy hints:
Below are more ideas that you may like to try whether it be a new ingredient or a new decorating idea, as time goes on and new updates are available you will notice the headings and will know where to file them.
Asian Grocers: Asian grocery shops have great varieties of marinating sauces and ingredients. Change a recipe by just changing the marinating sauce or adding a new vegetable or two! Try tamarind and date sauce for example, this makes spare ribs taste different!
Clean & Cool: Clean the oven floor with a damp chux, or as some are using, a string mop (kept just for the oven). This will clean but also can be used to cool down the oven if it gets too hot and you need to reduce the temperature fast.
Moisture: If your oven is not under a covered area, and the counter top is tiled, you may like to add a sealer around the edge of the oven and where the tiles meet, as the grout is porous. This will help in stopping the moisture build up that may occur during the colder months.
Curing: Remember it is crucial to „CURE‟ the oven as you did when you first received it, if it has not been used for long periods during the colder months.
Converting a Recipe: It is very simple to convert any recipe that you would normally cook in your regular oven. The simple rule is just add more stock /liquid than the recipe calls for and cook it for ½ to ¾ of the time required.
Temperature: As most recipes use an oven temperature of 200 – 230, this represents your Woodfired Oven having glowing coals with a slight flame occurring.
Organisation: As an example you can prepare/cook in advance the chicken required for a Caesar salad. As you have already heated the oven, make the most of it and get the next days ingredients on the way. Or when you have finished cooking the lunch, put a casserole or loaf of bread in the oven to slowly cook. By planning ahead, it usually means you can use your oven every second day, leaving time for you to do more than cooking.
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BREADS AND PIZZAS
On purchasing a Woodfired Oven it goes without saying that one of the main foods you will try and love are all the “fresh bread” categories from your own Pizza dough, to Indian Naan, Focaccia, Calazone, Moroccan & Turkish flatbreads, and of course those wonderful Italian breads like Ciabiatta, all of which were originally cooked in a wood fired oven.
Having your own oven enables you to bake the most authentic bread possible. Any conventional type breads cook wonderfully also.
All the breads are simple to prepare and once you‟ve tried them you will never look back. There is nothing nicer than warm fresh bread served as a simple starter or with the main meal.
This is not just a Pizza Oven but you will never taste a pizza like it
Every time you light your oven you will be tempted to have a pizza so it‟s an idea to have dough always handy. Your family and friends will always hope that that is the case!
Pizza nights are very popular; an idea is to have small individual pizzas so that each guest has their own that they have made or it gives you the opportunity to make them with different toppings adding more variety to your mealtime.
For a more interesting and “interactive” party, have everyone make and cook their own pizza, so you as the hostess or host are not doing all the work, and you too get to enjoy the event. In general pizzas cook fast – 2 minutes in a hot oven so be alert!
Dough:
When you have made the dough, and you are leaving it to rise in the mixing bowl etc, it is a good idea to rub the plastic wrap with olive oil to avoid the dough sticking to the wrap.
If you let any type of dough stand uncovered a crust will form on the top.
Knead, cut and form into tennis ball size balls and keep apart in a covered tub or tray. Using a large tub helps keep the moisture in and dust out. Also if all the dough is not used, then it can go back into the fridge to use tomorrow. If no tub, a tray with a damp tea towel can be used too.
Once you touch dough, it needs time to rise again (second rising), anything from 10 – 30 minutes.
If you find that your pizza dough will not roll out and just springs back, this is the characteristic of gluten. Knead it again and allow it to relax approximately 15 minutes. It should also be kept at room temperature as if it is too cold, this can occur too.
Naan bread is made from a runny soft dough, not the same as the pizza dough, so don‟t be tempted to keep adding flour to firm up, the difference is the yoghurt and ghee.
Naan bread is traditionally not rolled; they are stretched into a teardrop shape.
Jamie Oliver says to cut a big cross into the top of the dough and cover with cling wrap before it starts to rise, it works well, letting the dough rise faster and further than usual.
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DOUGH IDEAS
Why does my dough stick to the bowl or plastic wrap?  What can I do to stop this?
Rub the bowl with olive oil, this helps to make it easier to remove without leaving any behind.
When I freeze my dough why does it takes so long to thaw?
This is usually the case if you have left the dough in one big ball. We suggest you freeze the dough in portion sizes, e.g. tennis ball size for an average pizza or golf ball size for Naan. Another option is to freeze the dough in the shape of a thick flat dish; this helps to speed up the thawing time.
What do you freeze the dough in?
Snap lock lunch bags are great, they are a good size and can be re-used if you require. You can freeze the dough in anything really, as long as it is airtight.
When I make my dough, do I freeze it straight away or allow it to rise then freeze it?
You can do either. The latter means, when it is rising for the second time, it is called 2nd rise.
What difference does it make to how long I leave the dough to rise?
It is called flavour! The longer it takes to rise the more flavour, if you imagine how beer is made, the smells and flavour change with time too.
Can you over knead your dough?
You will notice the correct feel is soft smooth springy dough; if it has reached this there is no need to keep kneading it.
Do you have to sift the flour?
Sifting the flour will get better results.
What if I have forgotten to make my dough hours before? Is it a no bake day?
This has happened to many of us it seems, it‟s OK especially if it is a nice warm day, put the bowl covered with wrap in the sun.
An alternative is to place the bowl in a sink of warm water.
Or you can leave it near the oven door while heating up the oven for approximately ½ hour to rise; you will notice it rising in front of your eyes!
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Cooking Pizzas:
Use the pizza board provided to place pizzas into the oven.
Roll the dough out thin then place onto the lightly floured pizza board. Jiggle the pizza from side to side to test it will slip off easier.
Another option is to use semolina or polenta on the board. Some say this makes the base crisp and others say it gives it a nutty flavour.
When adding your toppings, don‟t take too long, as the moisture will make the base stick to the board.
If you find you are burning the edges of your pizza, try brushing the edges with olive oil to help protect and prevent burning.
Breads:
First of all you need to get the oven to the right temperature – ensure that the coals in the fire have died down so that there are only grey and black embers in the rear of the oven.
It is suggested that you moisten the floor of the oven a bit before placing the dough on it; this creates humidity, which assists, in the rising process.
Place a wet rag on the end of your metal poker and wipe the floor down.
Place the dough onto the floor and put the door on, cook the bread for 30 – 40 minutes.
Rotate the loaf about ½ way through cooking time.
Trial and error is needed with bread, try doing some small doughs first to get the timing right.
To achieve good bread the preparation of the dough is important. Read the instructions well first.
Hint: (throw a small amount of flour onto the floor of the oven, if it smokes it is still too hot).
Another almost instant and delightful starter is garlic bread and/or bruschetta
Flatbreads and Naan Bread can be used as dipping bread for starters or as wraps with any marinated meats for mains.
Make extra for the morning and eat for breakfast or take to lunch. Where you would have normally bought Lebanese or pita breads in the days before your oven.
Focaccias have been appearing in every café over the last few years.
Now you too can make your own to delight one and all. Imagine a freshly baked focaccia with moist tomatoes, olives, rosemary, sea salt, cheese and even roasted capsicum. The list can go on and on……
See the book section for the many titles on bread making. For the person who really does enjoy making all sorts of breads, you really can‟t go past Carol Field‟s “Italian Baker” or her other title “Focaccia simple breads from the Italian oven”.
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PIZZA IDEAS
HINT: Less is best! Don‟t be tempted to „pile on‟ the toppings, as you will lose the authentic flavour of the pizza. Try a few with different toppings, as most definitely one will not be enough.
The tomato sauce: The topping should be of a nice thick texture; too runny is not a preferred topping. It is the tomato topping that can really make the pizza, and by subtly changing an ingredient or two it will give a new twist to an old pizza. Use fresh tomatoes, which you should allow to cook slowly while adding dry or fresh herbs; oregano, parsley, basil, rosemary, dill, sage, thyme, mint, coriander, garlic, and/or finely chopped onions. Add bacon, a pinch of sugar, ground pepper and olive oil to change the basic recipe yet again. You can blend it or keep it slightly lumpy to add that gourmet touch. A pinch of chilli may not even get noticed – if you prefer, add a lot!
For a quicker and very nice sauce try ‘Five Brothers’ which come in a variety of combinations.
Assembling your Pizza:
Try to work the dough with your hands or roll the dough on a floured surface and place onto your floured pizza board.
Using a wooden spoon spread sauce all over the pizza allowing a 2-3cm gap between the sauce and the edges of the pizza. If sauce gets on the board it will hinder the ability to slide the dough easily off the board.
Brush the edges with olive oil to save burning and give a nice colour. Add your favourite cheese first and place your toppings on last. Serve with a few dollops of sour cream – it is delicious!
Cheese:
Try 70% Mozzarella cheese and 30% Tasty cheese to add a tasty difference. Boccocini cheese will give a gourmet look but has very little flavour and may need a little help from some stronger cheese.
Pecorino cheese is very nice and needs no help at all. Feta
Parmesan
Italian Gorgonzola, a Blue cheese, with a bite! Fresh creamy goats cheese
Other toppings:
Bacon or prosciutto is a lovely alternative to pizza ham and adds that gourmet touch. Try using a Pesto sauce instead of tomato topping, you can make or buy pre-made pesto.
Single ingredients you can add to any other topping recipe are as follows;
ü Mashed pumpkin, sun dried tomato, olives, salami. 
ü Anchovies, artichokes, BBQ anything, capsicums (roast your own), capers. 
ü Seafood of any kind, cooked chicken meat, tomatoes any way from fresh to sliced to canned to roasted. 
ü Eggplant, (try roasting it first to add a special touch) mushrooms, olives – black or green, any vegetable you can think of. 
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Pizzas
Pizza Bianca: A simple and tasty starter, a must even when you don‟t intend to cook pizza! Always have a few balls of dough handy in the freezer so you don‟t miss out even if you are only cooking for two.
Varieties:
Bianca: Brush pizza base with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt. Use fresh or dried rosemary.
Margherita: Tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil.
Hawaiian: Ham, pineapple, tomato sauce topped with mozzarella.
Marinara: Seafood (sauté in a little garlic), mozzarella cheese and a hint of chilli.
Supreme: Green capsicum, sliced pepperoni or salami, ham or prociutto, mushrooms, pineapple pieces, pitted olives, mozzarella and tasty cheddar.
Chilli Prawn: Prawns sautéed in cumin, chilli and garlic, lemon juice. Add coloured capsicums, coriander and parmesan cheese.
Prawn Pizza: Tomato base, chopped crushed garlic, peeled prawns, parmesan cheese, black olives and torn basil leaves.
Salmon & Avocado Pizza: Smoked salmon, ½ avocado, cherry tomatoes, a few capers, a little dill and a little thyme. Add sour light cream just before serving.
Salmon & Camembert Pizza: Smoked salmon, slices camembert cheese, onion rings, capers and fresh asparagus pieces.
Prosciutto & Cheese: Prosciutto, Pecorino cheese and a drizzle of olive oil!
Three Cheeses: Fontana, Mozzarella and Gruyere cheese
Mexican: Tomato, cheese, green capsicum, hot salami, hot chilli.
Vegetarian Style: With woodfired pizzas a combination of soft roasted vegetables seasoned with spices or sautéed in garlic, well drained, and topped with your favourite cheese.
Pumpkin & Feta: Mashed pumpkin with hint of garlic, feta cheese and fresh Basil
Blue Vein & Pear: Light layer of oil, blue vein cheese, thin slices of fresh pear
Pumpkin & Goats Cheese: Butternut pumpkin (steamed), crumbled goats cheese, fresh thyme leaves, dried oregano
When it comes to pizza toppings the list is endless, but it is best not to combine too many flavours as woodfired cooking brings out the texture and flavour of all meats and vegetables.
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YEAST IDEAS
Read „Focaccia‟ or The Italian Baker‟ by Carol Fields
Yeast is a living organism held in suspension that, once fed with warm water (not hot, as this will kill it) and flour, will awaken from its long sleep and begin to feed on the sugars present in the flour.
You can buy it fresh or dry and you will usually find the bread making shops in your state will have good yeast, as their turnover would be higher than most supermarkets, so you know you will be getting „fresh‟ products.
For the person who plans to bake often, it is suggested you buy active dry yeast in bulk. It is made without preservatives and costs so much less.
Dry yeast keeps for months in the fridge or freezer. Fresh cake yeast is much more perishable with a life of one week and must be kept well wrapped in the fridge.
Active dry yeast is dissolved in warm water. The rule is 2 parts of cold or room temperature yeast to 1 part boiling water.
To know if your yeast is still fresh enough to cook with, look at the expiry date on the pack or do a test with small amounts as you would normally for preparing your doughs. It should rise and foam up within 10 minutes. If it doesn‟t this yeast is no good and it is advisable to start with a new batch.
Rapid rise yeasts are to be avoided as they rob the grain of the opportunity to develop its flavour.
Yeasts do not die at cool temperatures; they simply work more slowly, so it is fine to make it at night and place in the fridge where it will still rise, but slowly. When required, take it out of the fridge at least 2 hours before and let it return to room temperature. You can then continue with the recipe as normal.
Mixing the yeast - there are three ways to add yeast to dough.
The simplest and most direct is to place warm water in a jug or bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the top and whisk it in until it dissolves. You will notice in our basic dough recipes you need to add the sugar at this stage as well.
Sugar can be substituted with flour, which makes the yeast take longer to rise, developing the flavour more.
Active dry yeast works vigorously in the correct temperature (warm not hot or not too cold) allow the mixture to stand at least 10–15 minutes then stir it to mix it well before using in your dough.
Some recipes call for a „sponge‟, which is a portion of the total made a short time before combining all the ingredients to give the final dough a preliminary boost. Dissolve the yeast in warm water, then a bit of flour is beaten in to make a smooth batter.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to stand until it becomes frothy and full of bubbles it can take any where from 20 minutes to 1 hour.
The last is called a „starter‟ which again is essentially a mixture of water and flour combined with a tiny bit of yeast to make a very wet dough that‟s allowed to ferment for 6–24 hours before adding it to more yeast, flour and water and the baking can begin. You may have noticed this in the Turkish bread recipes. For more information on this topic the books mentioned at the start will guide you through the stages.
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ROASTING IDEAS
When roasting meat or chicken it is a good idea to place it in a roasting pan with a wire grid. One recommendation is the heavy stainless steel roasting tray by Scanpan.
Make sure meat is at room temperature and pat dry with paper towel.
Preheat your pan and when hot, seal the meat as per a large steak, season and cover with vented foil for most of the duration of cooking time and then crisp off near the finish.
Capsicum: You can try cooking a whole capsicum by throwing it onto the oven floor and keep turning it until it turns absolutely black. Take it out of the oven, leave to cool down then just peel the black skin away to reveal a lovely roasted soft capsicum, to cut into strips and use as a pizza topping or as desired.
Roasted onion: The same method as the capsicum. You will need to cut off the „root‟ side once cooked and press to pop the onion out, revealing a soft roasted onion.
Sweet potato: Wrap sweet potato in foil and throw onto the oven floor, turn over now and again – cook until soft. Peel off foil, slice up and serve.
Roast medley of vegetables: ½ bag of gourmet potatoes, 1 white onion cut into wedges, 2 parsnips cut into ¼ lengthwise, 6 cloves of unpeeled garlic, 1 red capsicum (seeded and cut into squares) ¼ jab pumpkin cut into large squares. Toss all the vegetables into a bowl and seasoned with olive oil and sea salt. Place evenly onto a large roasting tray so they don‟t touch. Makes a beautiful topping for a vegetarian pizza.
Roasting nuts for salads: place in a small terracotta dish, spray with a dash of olive oil, cook until you smell the nuts roasting or until they reach a slightly darker color. Ideal to use in salads or as a garnish to any dessert!
Caramelised onion rings: are easy to make also, cut a red onion into slices. Place onto a pre-heated cast iron plate; pour balsamic vinegar, sugar and pepper over each slice. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes. A quick and easy way to speed things up is to put the onions sliced into the microwave until soft, so when added to the food and cooked in the oven they will be brown in no time.
Corn on the cob: is also great cooked in the oven, but you will need to cook it in a terracotta dish with water to cover ¼ of dish, (seasoning can be added) - cover with foil for 5-8 minutes then remove foil to brown the corn and now you have another BBQ food!
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COOKING EQUIPMENT - Never use Teflon or non-stick dishes in the oven!
Terracotta: rectangular dish approximately 300mm by 200mm and 40mm deep is a great multi purpose dish. Be sure to soak the dish (submerse it completely) for at least 1 hour in warm water before you use it every time.
Terracotta: round dish approximately 200mm with a lid is ideal for cooking dishes that need to be in the oven for longer or curries, rice, stews or soups. The lid is great as it saves using foil, but you will need oven gloves, as this will be extremely hot to touch. Be sure to soak the dish (submerse it completely) for at least 1 hour in warm water before you use it each time.
A heavy stainless steel roasting tray: with a wire insert is wonderful when is comes to roasting. Ordinary roasting trays from a conventional oven can do a good job or use disposable trays for less cleaning.
Cast Iron cooking plate: This is your „new‟ BBQ replacement. You can purchase the round or rectangle plates with handles or a loop so that you can easily remove them from the oven with your tools. You must wash them thoroughly with soapy water before your first use. You will need to season them, by using olive oil all over, heat in oven until you see smoke/haze coming from the plate. Keep plate well oiled and never wash again in soapy water, only hot water.
A good pair of Oven Gloves: Gloves are essential to have near by, for transferring hot dishes from the oven to the table, lifting the lid on the round terracotta dish or when trying to place the foil over the food. Some have been known to use welder‟s gloves or silicon gloves.
Cork mats/Trivets: These are good for placing the hot serving dishes on, when ready to serve.
Old rags or Chux Wipes/tea towels: keep these handy near the oven. You need to wet them to use with the „7 iron‟ to wipe the oven floor clean before cooking your pizzas. It is also a way of cooling the oven floor down, when you need to drop the internal temperature quickly.
Jiffy Firelighters: (these are the only ones to use) – use the slab type that you need to break into pieces, not the individual blocks which push out of their own section. Others may work, but you will notice unpleasant smells when lit, they will also spread chemicals in to the floor of the oven and thick black smoke, which does not make for a nice tasting dish.
Rolling pin: As you use your oven more you will notice the advantage of having good quality items and a rolling pin which has „ball bearing‟ handles or the Tupperware one with the plastic handles or marble rolling pin - that let the pin move, are both great. You should not need to use your body weight when rolling, and it is best to work from the centre out as this helps to keep the dough in shape.
Boards: you can buy so many different types, but big is best. We recommend the plastic or silicone varieties because they are lightweight and easy to clean and pack up.
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Chopping boards: Cleaning your chopping boards - every so often it is a good idea to clean a plastic board with bleach, making sure to rinse it well after. Wooden boards should be oiled to help keep them splitting. A brush down with salt and lemon will keep them nice and clean. Flexible cutting sheets (pkt of 2) are good - keep one for meat and the other for vegetables. As they are clear, use a permanent marker on the back to identify M or V.
Coco Bristle Brush: You can buy these at most chain stores or a better one is the extra long handle type found at hardware shops. These are great to sweep out any dust left inside the oven once you have removed the coals.
Long handle tongs: A sturdy pair of tongs helps when you need to work fast and the heat from the oven means you can not reach inside. You will appreciate having quality tongs to do the job.
Handy table: Keeping a fold-up table handy to use near the oven is a good idea if space is hard to come by. That way you can use it to roll out dough or assemble pizza toppings.
Pizza Wheel or Mezzaluma: These are both great to use. If you use a pizza wheel use the largest wheel you can find. A great one is the Rubbermaid. The mezzaluma recommended is the single blade type and the bigger the better - 25‟ is great. Use to cut pizzas, herbs etc
Woodfired Ovens “Hand forged custom-made tools”
Stainless Steel or Galvanized.
Peel or Paddles: is the tool you will learn to handle better every time you use it. Mainly used for moving the pizza or bread around the oven floor and out of the oven.
Coal Rake, „7 Iron‟ or Bakers Rooker: this tool goes by many names but is the same tool. It is handy for pulling dishes out from the oven or rotating them, to drag the coals forward, to use with an old rag to clean the oven floor. Another handy use is to support the larger logs when placing in the oven in the right position.
Poker: is used to manoeuvre the wood or cover with a rag to clean the oven floor. Some people like this over the 7 iron, others prefer the 7 iron. They both have a place and you too will know which one that you prefer.
Pusher or Hoe: this looks like a semi circle disc attached to a rod. It is used to push the fire back or pull coals forward for cleaning.
Wooden boards for pizza and bread: You receive one included in the sale of you oven tools, but it is usually great to have at least four on hand. They are made from superior quality marine ply, which will withstand constant use. You may like to rub olive oil into the surface when you first receive your boards, to help protect them from the stains of tomato sauce etc
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CONVERSIONS
APPROXIMATE METRIC / IMPERIAL EQUIVALENTS
WEIGHT VOLUME LENGTH
METRIC IMPERIAL METRIC IMPERIAL METRIC IMPERIAL
15 grams ½ oz 1.25 ml ¼ tsp 3 mm ⅛ in
25 grams 1 oz 2.5 ml ½ tsp 5 mm ¼ in
50 grams 1 ¾ oz 5 ml 1 tsp 1 cm ½ in
75 grams 2 ¾ oz 10 ml 2 tsp 2 cm ¾ in
100 grams 3 ½ oz 15 ml 1 tbsp  3 tsp 2.5 cm 1 in
125 grams 4 ½ oz 30 ml 2 tbsp  1fl oz 3 cm 1 ¼ in
150 grams 5 ½ oz 45 ml 3 tbsp 4 cm 1 ½ in
175 grams 6 oz 50 ml 2 fl oz 5 cm 2 in
200 grams 7 oz 100 ml 3 ½ fl oz 6 cm 2 ½ in
225 grams 8 oz 125 ml 4 fl oz 7 cm 2 ¾ in
300 grams 10 ½  oz 200 ml 7 fl oz ⅓ pint 8 cm 3 ¼ in
325 grams 11 ½  oz 250 ml 9 fl oz 9 cm 3 ½ in
350 grams 12 oz 300 ml 10 fl oz ½ pint 10 cm 4 in
400 grams 14 oz 400 ml 14 fl oz 12 cm 4 ½ in
425 grams 15 oz 450 ml 16 fl oz 13 cm 5 in
450 grams 1 lb 500 ml 18 fl oz 14 cm 5 ½ in
500 grams 1lb 2 oz 600 ml 1 pint 20 fl oz 15 cm 6 in
750 grams 1 lb 10 oz 700 ml 1 ¼ pints 16 cm 6 ¼ in
1 kilo 2 lb 4 oz 1 litre 1 ¾ pints 17 cm 6 ½ in
2 lb 12oz 1.2 litres 2 pints 18 cm 7 in
1.5 kilo 3 lb 5 oz 1.5 litres 2 3/ 4 pints 19 cm 7 ½ in
2 kilo 4 lb 8 oz 2 litres 3 ½ pints 20 cm 8 in
2.25 kilo 5 lb 2.5 litres 4 ½ pints 22 cm 8 ½ in
2.5 kilo 5 lb 8 oz 3 litres 5 ¼ pints 23 cm 9 in
2.7 kilo 6 lb 3.5 litres 6 pints 25 cm 10 in
3 kilo 6 lb 8 oz 4 litres 7 pints 30 cm 12 in
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TEMPERATURE GUIDE
High
A very hot oven with a large fire producing flames that are visibly coming all the way over the inner chamber and just extending up towards the flue. Use ten to twelve pieces of wood for start up. A fire such as this should be lit every time the oven is used regardless of what is on the menu. It is important to heat up the floor and chambers with such an intense heat to allow you to cook for extended period of time at lower temperatures. Your oven should be ready to use in thirty minutes with an initial fire showing the characteristics mentioned above.
Medium / High
The oven will have a good bed of coals glowing bright red, pieces of wood will also be glowing red and holding their shape and producing flames that will travel about half way to three quarters of the way over the top of the chamber. The oven should be like this about an hour from the start up time. To maintain this temperature add another piece of wood to the fire as required.
Medium
Very similar to the medium/high oven but the flames travel about half way or less over the chamber and the wood will be starting to break down. The oven will be like this about an hour and half after light up.
Medium / Low
The oven has a good bed of coals glowing red and is still producing flames. The wood itself has lost its shape, broken down and collapsed forming the bed of coals. The flames will only just be lapping at the back of the chamber and certainly would not travel more than half way. The door can be placed in front of the opening to slow the air flow into the oven which reduces the rate heat is removed. Do not fit the door tightly when there is a flame in the oven as it will starve the fire of oxygen, put it out and start to smoke.
Low
Cooking at this temperature is purely utilizing the retained heat in the oven and locking it in using the door to fit tightly. There will be no flames and the bed of coals will be dark and have stopped glowing red.
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COOKING TIMES
DISH COOKWARE TIME TEMPERAURE
Chicken Breast Fillets Terracotta Dish 12 Minutes High
Thighs 15 minutes High
Sausages Thin Cast Iron 6 minutes High to med/high
Thick Cast Iron 9 minutes High to med/high
Leg of Lamb Butter flied 1 kg Terracotta 45 minutes Med to med/low
Butter flied 2 kg Terracotta 80 minutes Med to med/low
Lamb Cutlets Lay single Terracotta 6 minutes Med to high
Steak Pre heat cast Iron dish 6 minutes High
Garlic Prawns Pre heat cast Iron dish 1 minute High
Vegetables Not piled up Terracotta Halved 30 mins High
Spread out Terracotta Smaller 20 mins High
Pizza/flat breads Oven floor 2 minutes High
Whole Fish 2 kg Terracotta 30 minutes Medium
Lamb Shanks Single layer Terracotta 2 ½  hours Low
Bread Loaves Oven floor 30 – 40 mins Low
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BOOK LIST
The following books are available from:
WH SMITHS
Viva La Pizza! the Art of the Pizza Box
By: Scott Wiener (Author)
Hardback
World's Best Pizza
By: Johnny Di Franceso (Author)
Hardback
The Italian Cooking School: Pizza
By: The Silver Spoon Kitchen (Author)
Paperback
The Outdoor Woodfire Pizza Oven
By: John Pellicano (Author)
Paperback
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USER GUIDE
Copyright of
Woodfired Ovens

.
January 2017 Page 2


CONTENTS

Welcome 3
READ ME FIRST 4
First curing 5
Igniting the Oven 6
Care of your oven 7
USEFUL INFORMATION
Handy Hints 8
Wood/Finished cooking 9/10
Breads and Pizza 11
Dough 12
Pizza Ideas 13/14/15
Yeast Ideas 16
Roasting Ideas 17
Cooking Equipment 18/19
REFERENCE
Conversion tables 20
Temperature Guide 21
Cooking Times 22
Book Lists 23

January 2017 Page 3

WELCOME
Thank you for choosing a Woodfired Oven. You have invested in a most
superior cooking facility and at the same time you have gained an amazing garden
feature. Your new oven will quickly become the centre for gatherings and entertaining for
many years.
The „New Lifestyle‟ change you have made brings with it experimentation, fun, relaxation,
gourmet dining and new experiences, just watch the hours go by!
The myth that cooking in a Woodfired Oven is time consuming will be dispelled as you join
the many who have wondered what they did in the days before their Oven. Once you
have learnt the easy basic techniques and organise your new way of cooking you will
notice you have more time to do the other things you like doing for – relaxing or sipping a
wine or two with the ones you love!
HERE IS WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS SAY ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES
“This is what we call real food”
“Pizzas have never tasted this good and made at home at a fraction of the cost”
“The kids love inviting their friends over instead of going out, we just love that the
family spends more time together”
“I didn‟t think you could cook more than just pizzas; our eating experiences have
grown immensely”
“30 minutes to get the fire started and we would be ready to cook, I just didn‟t believe
it, but it‟s true”
“ I was over the moon to know even my small backyard could be put to a better
purpose than just hanging out the washing”
“We tend to find any reason to invite friends over more often”
Now that you have your ow Woodfired Oven, we hope you enjoy cooking
in it as much as we have in producing the finished product. The team at
Woodfired Ovens has put a great deal of hard work in every aspect of the business and
continue to do so, so you can enjoy the finer tastes on offer!
Enjoy and Taste the Lifestyle!

January 2017 Page 4

READ ME FIRST – IMPORTANT
FIRST FIRING & OVEN CURING PROCESS

 Now that your oven has arrived, you are obviously eager to fire it up and start cooking.
 Before you blaze away, please read the curing instructions carefully Note

This process is to be followed when the oven is lit for the first time, or if the oven has not
been used for a long period of time (eg during the colder months)
The first couple of fires should be small, and are intended to introduce a low gentle
heat to the oven to complete the curing process.
Your training starts here, with your first on-going lesson being that of controlling the
fire.
Referring to the lighting instructions, keeps a small fire burning for 3-4 hours over 2
days. Use only enough wood to keep a constant flame.
The flame should be lapping away at the back of the chamber.
Initially, you will see the internal chamber turn completely black with carbon and start
to notice hairline cracks appear. This is normal and will start to clear as the oven heats
up. As the carbon clears on consequent days, larger pieces of wood should be added
to increase the heat and the size of the flame.
On the third day, the oven chamber will start to clear of carbon faster and look whiter
faster. You are now ready to cook.

WARNING:

The flue is designed to remove hot air from the oven and should not be touched during
the running of the oven and the cooling down process.
Be aware that it is the characteristic of stainless steel to retain heat and therefore the
stainless steel insert at the mouth of the oven (latest models ONLY) should get quite
hot when operating the oven at higher temperatures.

January 2017 Page 5

IGNITING YOUR WNOODFIRED OVEN
In our experience, the most effective way of lighting the oven is with the use of firelighters.
Just as important is the use of dry wood. If the wood you use is not sufficiently dry, this
will produce smoke and the oven will struggle to light.
STEP 1
Break off 3 pieces of firelighter all about 5cm square. Place the paddle at the mouth
of the oven and position the pieces of firelighter in the same direction as the handle of
the paddle. (Fig 1)
Initially use wood about 40mm to 50mm across to start the fire. Place a piece of wood
either side of the firelighters. (Fig 2)
Then stack 3 or 4 pieces of wood in the other direction. (Fig 3)
Place more wood on top of the stack in the same direction as the first two. (Fig 4)
STEP 2
Carefully light the firelighters and gently slide the paddle with the lit stack to the back
of the oven. Making sure that no one is close behind you; pull the paddle out with one
swift motion. The firelighters can sometimes move at this point but simply use the
tools provided to reposition them. The same applies to the wood stack. At this time,
wood can be moved to maximise the flame being produced by the firelighters. Now let
the fire burn for 5-10mins. (Fig 5)
Additional wood can be added to the stack once it is past the mouth and inside the
chamber where there is more room.
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Fig 5 Fig 5a
STEP 3
Now that the wood is burning and some hot coals have been produced, it is time to
add some larger pieces of wood. About 4 to 5 good sized pieces will bring the oven
up to a hot temperature ready to cook pizzas, which are cooked directly on the floor of
the oven. The placement of the wood to the back chamber wall is the difference
between a clear, clean running oven and one that smokes and struggles to fully ignite.
(Fig 6)
Fig 6 (Back Chamber Wall)
Correct placement of wood Incorrect
To feed more wood into the oven, it is just a matter of gently throwing it in the area
where you want it to go and then adjusting its placement, if needed, with the tools
provided. After a short time, everyone develops his or her own technique of doing this.
Once you have added more wood leave the fire to burn for 20 minutes.
STEP 4
After 20 minutes the fire should be well and truly lit and a good bed of coals has been
produced. Depending on the type of food you now wish to cook and the volume of
food you can either add more wood to heat the oven right up, or add smaller pieces for
a medium oven or spread the coals out for a cooler oven. Keep in mind that a hot
Woodfired Oven can get up to 800 degrees and a cooler one about 200 degrees.
January 2010 Page 7
CARE OF YOUR OVEN
Cleaning
Clean your oven floor regularly by raking the remainder of the fire to the front across
the floor tiles once you have finished cooking. Place the door on and in the morning
push back the coals and your floor should be clean of any food substances etc.
Clean & Cool Clean the oven floor with an old damp tea towel or a string mop (keep
just for use in the oven). This will clean, but also can be used to cool down the oven if
it gets too hot and you need to reduce the temperature fast.
Ovens NOT under cover
If your oven is not undercover it is advisable to place a tarp over it during the very wet
months and by keeping the door off this will allow any moisture build up to evaporate
Over loading with wood
Do not abuse the oven by over loading with wood and trying to use it as a main heat
source during cooler months. Remember it is an oven and not a heater. You can
damage the interior and cause cracking.
Cracks
The type of cracking that you see in your oven is common and quite normal. With the
extremely high temperatures that can be reached and the intensity of a natural heat
source such as fire, your oven goes through a “settling in stage” where some
expansion will take place. During this “settling in stage” it is not uncommon for these
expansion cracks to appear. These cracks are under no circumstance structural
defects and will not affect the performance or durability of oven. If the crack is quiet
significant i.e.: 3mm thickness or more please contact us.
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HANDY HINTS
Lighting the fire
Start with a stack of wood, 2 pieces by 3 by 2 by 3 that make a stack of 4 high, and
then build the fire up by putting on extra wood over a 10 minute period so that you
have a good large fire in the oven. This will provide a large amount of coals and burn
off the black carbon in no time.
When placing the extra wood in the fire ensure they are placed on an angle of 45 deg
or so, not flat so that they will burn faster. The air circulating avoids the firelighters and
flame going out.
Position of the fire
If you are trying to cook something that is long and thin, like a whole fish, try putting
the fire on either the left or right side of the oven instead of the rear so that you can fit
long trays in the oven without turning them side ways.
For cooking Pizza, put the fire at the back and use the front for cooking.
Oven temperatures: Radiation, Thermal and Convection.
Radiation, thermal and convection all work together when cooking in your oven.
A white oven roof with no carbon will be at about 800 deg; this should be achieved in
about 30-40 minutes. If your oven is still black you can cook dishes in it but they will
take a little longer to cook properly.
Breads: are cooked at 180ºC, just when you think the coals are out. They will actually
look a grey and black color, you may see a slight red, but there should not be any
flame, more a retained heat.
Roast and vegetables: 250º - 300º usually about 4 pieces of wood, left to burn to red
coals.
Pizza: 500ºC upwards, add wood periodically if cooking pizzas over a long time.
Cakes: 150ºC and cookies cook well in our Mediterranean Woodfired Ovens.
Slow fire ignition:
Damp ash will affect the fire and will not light properly; this can be caused by heavy
rain entering the oven or even damp night air (ash attracts moisture). If the oven does
not heat up within approx 30 minutes and all the black carbon has not burnt off the
roof of the oven you need to use more wood in the light up process. Ash does not
need to be removed every time used. In fact it helps when lighting up, as the coals get
hot faster!
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Wood
Wet wood can cause the oven chamber to heat up slowly. It can also cause heavy
smoke to come out from the oven.
Try to have dry wood available at all times.
Contrary to what some may think, wet wood is not wet from the rain, it is a term used
for wood, which is young and still has sap within; time is the best cure for this.
An indication of wet wood is that you will notice, while burning, it glows on one side but
is black on the other. It may seem to take a long time to burn. This is the process of
the wood trying to release all the retained sap.
In each state you will know what your natural hard wood is. This is the best wood to
use. For example in Perth we use mostly Jarrah, and on the odd occasion White Gum
or Mallee to give the fire a kick start to the hot side. Never use wood found on
construction sites, treated pine or any wood treated with chemicals.
Use of the Door
Use for slow roasting and for cooking breads from residual heat (stored up to 12 hrs}
If the door is put on when the oven is running, the fire will go out and start smoking.
Fit the door firmly when there is no fire and keep ajar when roasting.
If you are noticing that it is difficult to keep the fire burning, you may have moisture in
the oven. To test for this, put the door on tightly, leave it for three minutes and once it
is removed if there are water droplets on the door this indicates a moisture build up.
What is needed now it the same method used when you first cured your oven.
Cooking in the oven
During cooking you can stack trays on top of each other, say a tray of roast
vegetables on the bottom with the roast meat on top, and just make sure that the trays
are rectangular not square and stacked perpendicular to each other. Add extra stock
to prevent drying out.
Use tin foil to protect in a hot oven. Slit the foil to allow the moisture to escape.
Use the various parts of the oven to cook in, near the front for slower cooking time and
for keeping food warm, also to melt chocolate or toast nuts for salads and cakes etc.
The middle is for a quick cooking time. Don‟t forget to let the meat dishes rest
before serving.
Remember that direct heat will burn quicker than indirect heat, so the closer to the fire
the hotter and quicker food cooks.
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On Completion of Cooking
When you have finished cooking in your oven bring the coals forward onto the cooking
area, this will ensure a clean oven by burning away any spilt food stuffs left behind or
any oils etc.
Charcoal should be left in the oven; it will ignite once the oven gets hot again. This
enables you to extract maximum energy from each piece of wood.
More handy hints:
Below are more ideas that you may like to try whether it be a new ingredient or a new
decorating idea, as time goes on and new updates are available you will notice the
headings and will know where to file them.
Asian Grocers: Asian grocery shops have great varieties of marinating sauces and
ingredients. Change a recipe by just changing the marinating sauce or adding a new
vegetable or two! Try tamarind and date sauce for example, this makes spare ribs
taste different!
Clean & Cool: Clean the oven floor with a damp chux, or as some are using, a string
mop (kept just for the oven). This will clean but also can be used to cool down the
oven if it gets too hot and you need to reduce the temperature fast.
Moisture: If your oven is not under a covered area, and the counter top is tiled, you
may like to add a sealer around the edge of the oven and where the tiles meet, as the
grout is porous. This will help in stopping the moisture build up that may occur during
the colder months.
Curing: Remember it is crucial to „CURE‟ the oven as you did when you first received
it, if it has not been used for long periods during the colder months.
Converting a Recipe: It is very simple to convert any recipe that you would normally
cook in your regular oven. The simple rule is just add more stock /liquid than the
recipe calls for and cook it for ½ to ¾ of the time required.
Temperature: As most recipes use an oven temperature of 200 – 230, this
represents your Woodfired Oven having glowing coals with a slight flame occurring.
Organisation: As an example you can prepare/cook in advance the chicken required
for a Caesar salad. As you have already heated the oven, make the most of it and get
the next days ingredients on the way. Or when you have finished cooking the lunch,
put a casserole or loaf of bread in the oven to slowly cook. By planning ahead, it
usually means you can use your oven every second day, leaving time for you to do
more than cooking.
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BREADS AND PIZZAS
On purchasing a Woodfired Oven it goes without saying that one of the main foods
you will try and love are all the “fresh bread” categories from your own Pizza dough, to
Indian Naan, Focaccia, Calazone, Moroccan & Turkish flatbreads, and of course those
wonderful Italian breads like Ciabiatta, all of which were originally cooked in a wood
fired oven.
Having your own oven enables you to bake the most authentic bread possible. Any
conventional type breads cook wonderfully also.
All the breads are simple to prepare and once you‟ve tried them you will never look
back. There is nothing nicer than warm fresh bread served as a simple starter or with
the main meal.
This is not just a Pizza Oven but you will never taste a pizza like it
Every time you light your oven you will be tempted to have a pizza so it‟s an idea to
have dough always handy. Your family and friends will always hope that that is the
case!
Pizza nights are very popular; an idea is to have small individual pizzas so that each
guest has their own that they have made or it gives you the opportunity to make them
with different toppings adding more variety to your mealtime.
For a more interesting and “interactive” party, have everyone make and cook their own
pizza, so you as the hostess or host are not doing all the work, and you too get to
enjoy the event. In general pizzas cook fast – 2 minutes in a hot oven so be alert!
Dough:
When you have made the dough, and you are leaving it to rise in the mixing bowl etc,
it is a good idea to rub the plastic wrap with olive oil to avoid the dough sticking to the
wrap.
If you let any type of dough stand uncovered a crust will form on the top.
Knead, cut and form into tennis ball size balls and keep apart in a covered tub or tray.
Using a large tub helps keep the moisture in and dust out. Also if all the dough is not
used, then it can go back into the fridge to use tomorrow. If no tub, a tray with a damp
tea towel can be used too.
Once you touch dough, it needs time to rise again (second rising), anything from 10 –
30 minutes.
If you find that your pizza dough will not roll out and just springs back, this is the
characteristic of gluten. Knead it again and allow it to relax approximately 15 minutes.
It should also be kept at room temperature as if it is too cold, this can occur too.
Naan bread is made from a runny soft dough, not the same as the pizza dough, so
don‟t be tempted to keep adding flour to firm up, the difference is the yoghurt and
ghee.
Naan bread is traditionally not rolled; they are stretched into a teardrop shape.
Jamie Oliver says to cut a big cross into the top of the dough and cover with cling
wrap before it starts to rise, it works well, letting the dough rise faster and further than
usual.
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DOUGH IDEAS
Why does my dough stick to the bowl or plastic wrap? What can I do to stop this?
Rub the bowl with olive oil, this helps to make it easier to remove without leaving any
behind.
When I freeze my dough why does it takes so long to thaw?
This is usually the case if you have left the dough in one big ball. We suggest you
freeze the dough in portion sizes, e.g. tennis ball size for an average pizza or golf ball
size for Naan. Another option is to freeze the dough in the shape of a thick flat dish;
this helps to speed up the thawing time.
What do you freeze the dough in?
Snap lock lunch bags are great, they are a good size and can be re-used if you
require. You can freeze the dough in anything really, as long as it is airtight.
When I make my dough, do I freeze it straight away or allow it to rise then freeze it?
You can do either. The latter means, when it is rising for the second time, it is called
2nd rise.
What difference does it make to how long I leave the dough to rise?
It is called flavour! The longer it takes to rise the more flavour, if you imagine how beer
is made, the smells and flavour change with time too.
Can you over knead your dough?
You will notice the correct feel is soft smooth springy dough; if it has reached this
there is no need to keep kneading it.
Do you have to sift the flour?
Sifting the flour will get better results.
What if I have forgotten to make my dough hours before? Is it a no bake day?
This has happened to many of us it seems, it‟s OK especially if it is a nice warm day,
put the bowl covered with wrap in the sun.
An alternative is to place the bowl in a sink of warm water.
Or you can leave it near the oven door while heating up the oven for approximately ½
hour to rise; you will notice it rising in front of your eyes!
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Cooking Pizzas:
Use the pizza board provided to place pizzas into the oven.
Roll the dough out thin then place onto the lightly floured pizza board.
Jiggle the pizza from side to side to test it will slip off easier.
Another option is to use semolina or polenta on the board. Some say this makes the
base crisp and others say it gives it a nutty flavour.
When adding your toppings, don‟t take too long, as the moisture will make the base
stick to the board.
If you find you are burning the edges of your pizza, try brushing the edges with olive
oil to help protect and prevent burning.
Breads:
First of all you need to get the oven to the right temperature – ensure that the coals in
the fire have died down so that there are only grey and black embers in the rear of the
oven.
It is suggested that you moisten the floor of the oven a bit before placing the dough on
it; this creates humidity, which assists, in the rising process.
Place a wet rag on the end of your metal poker and wipe the floor down.
Place the dough onto the floor and put the door on, cook the bread for 30 – 40
minutes.
Rotate the loaf about ½ way through cooking time.
Trial and error is needed with bread, try doing some small doughs first to get the
timing right.
To achieve good bread the preparation of the dough is important. Read the
instructions well first.
Hint: (throw a small amount of flour onto the floor of the oven, if it smokes it is still too hot).
Another almost instant and delightful starter is garlic bread and/or bruschetta
Flatbreads and Naan Bread can be used as dipping bread for starters or as wraps with
any marinated meats for mains.
Make extra for the morning and eat for breakfast or take to lunch. Where you would
have normally bought Lebanese or pita breads in the days before your oven.
Focaccias have been appearing in every café over the last few years.
Now you too can make your own to delight one and all. Imagine a freshly baked
focaccia with moist tomatoes, olives, rosemary, sea salt, cheese and even roasted
capsicum. The list can go on and on……
See the book section for the many titles on bread making. For the person who really
does enjoy making all sorts of breads, you really can‟t go past Carol Field‟s “Italian
Baker” or her other title “Focaccia simple breads from the Italian oven”.
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PIZZA IDEAS
HINT: Less is best! Don‟t be tempted to „pile on‟ the toppings, as you will lose the
authentic flavour of the pizza. Try a few with different toppings, as most definitely
one will not be enough.
The tomato sauce: The topping should be of a nice thick texture; too runny is not a
preferred topping. It is the tomato topping that can really make the pizza, and by subtly
changing an ingredient or two it will give a new twist to an old pizza. Use fresh
tomatoes, which you should allow to cook slowly while adding dry or fresh herbs;
oregano, parsley, basil, rosemary, dill, sage, thyme, mint, coriander, garlic, and/or
finely chopped onions. Add bacon, a pinch of sugar, ground pepper and olive oil to
change the basic recipe yet again. You can blend it or keep it slightly lumpy to add
that gourmet touch. A pinch of chilli may not even get noticed – if you prefer, add a
lot!
For a quicker and very nice sauce try ‘Five Brothers’ which come in a variety of
combinations.
Assembling your Pizza:
Try to work the dough with your hands or roll the dough on a floured surface and place
onto your floured pizza board.
Using a wooden spoon spread sauce all over the pizza allowing a 2-3cm gap between
the sauce and the edges of the pizza. If sauce gets on the board it will hinder the
ability to slide the dough easily off the board.
Brush the edges with olive oil to save burning and give a nice colour.
Add your favourite cheese first and place your toppings on last.
Serve with a few dollops of sour cream – it is delicious!
Cheese:
Try 70% Mozzarella cheese and 30% Tasty cheese to add a tasty difference.
Boccocini cheese will give a gourmet look but has very little flavour and may need a
little help from some stronger cheese.
Pecorino cheese is very nice and needs no help at all.
Feta
Parmesan
Italian Gorgonzola, a Blue cheese, with a bite!
Fresh creamy goats cheese
Other toppings:
Bacon or prosciutto is a lovely alternative to pizza ham and adds that gourmet touch.
Try using a Pesto sauce instead of tomato topping, you can make or buy pre-made
pesto.
Single ingredients you can add to any other topping recipe are as follows;
 Mashed pumpkin, sun dried tomato, olives, salami.
 Anchovies, artichokes, BBQ anything, capsicums (roast your own), capers.
 Seafood of any kind, cooked chicken meat, tomatoes any way from fresh to sliced
to canned to roasted.
 Eggplant, (try roasting it first to add a special touch) mushrooms, olives – black or
green, any vegetable you can think of.
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Pizzas
Pizza Bianca: A simple and tasty starter, a must even when you don‟t intend to cook
pizza! Always have a few balls of dough handy in the freezer so you don‟t miss out even
if you are only cooking for two.
Varieties:
Bianca: Brush pizza base with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt. Use
fresh or dried rosemary.
Margherita: Tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil.
Hawaiian: Ham, pineapple, tomato sauce topped with mozzarella.
Marinara: Seafood (sauté in a little garlic), mozzarella cheese and a hint of chilli.
Supreme: Green capsicum, sliced pepperoni or salami, ham or prociutto, mushrooms,
pineapple pieces, pitted olives, mozzarella and tasty cheddar.
Chilli Prawn: Prawns sautéed in cumin, chilli and garlic, lemon juice. Add coloured
capsicums, coriander and parmesan cheese.
Prawn Pizza: Tomato base, chopped crushed garlic, peeled prawns, parmesan
cheese, black olives and torn basil leaves.
Salmon & Avocado Pizza: Smoked salmon, ½ avocado, cherry tomatoes, a few
capers, a little dill and a little thyme. Add sour light cream just before serving.
Salmon & Camembert Pizza: Smoked salmon, slices camembert cheese, onion
rings, capers and fresh asparagus pieces.
Prosciutto & Cheese: Prosciutto, Pecorino cheese and a drizzle of olive oil!
Three Cheeses: Fontana, Mozzarella and Gruyere cheese
Mexican: Tomato, cheese, green capsicum, hot salami, hot chilli.
Vegetarian Style: With woodfired pizzas a combination of soft roasted vegetables
seasoned with spices or sautéed in garlic, well drained, and topped with your favourite
cheese.
Pumpkin & Feta: Mashed pumpkin with hint of garlic, feta cheese and fresh Basil
Blue Vein & Pear: Light layer of oil, blue vein cheese, thin slices of fresh pear
Pumpkin & Goats Cheese: Butternut pumpkin (steamed), crumbled goats cheese,
fresh thyme leaves, dried oregano
When it comes to pizza toppings the list is endless, but it is best not to combine too many
flavours as woodfired cooking brings out the texture and flavour of all meats and
vegetables.
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YEAST IDEAS
Read „Focaccia‟ or The Italian Baker‟ by Carol Fields
Yeast is a living organism held in suspension that, once fed with warm water (not
hot, as this will kill it) and flour, will awaken from its long sleep and begin to feed on
the sugars present in the flour.
You can buy it fresh or dry and you will usually find the bread making shops in your
state will have good yeast, as their turnover would be higher than most supermarkets,
so you know you will be getting „fresh‟ products.
For the person who plans to bake often, it is suggested you buy active dry yeast in
bulk. It is made without preservatives and costs so much less.
Dry yeast keeps for months in the fridge or freezer. Fresh cake yeast is much more
perishable with a life of one week and must be kept well wrapped in the fridge.
Active dry yeast is dissolved in warm water. The rule is 2 parts of cold or room
temperature yeast to 1 part boiling water.
To know if your yeast is still fresh enough to cook with, look at the expiry date on the
pack or do a test with small amounts as you would normally for preparing your
doughs. It should rise and foam up within 10 minutes. If it doesn‟t this yeast is no
good and it is advisable to start with a new batch.
Rapid rise yeasts are to be avoided as they rob the grain of the opportunity to develop
its flavour.
Yeasts do not die at cool temperatures; they simply work more slowly, so it is fine to
make it at night and place in the fridge where it will still rise, but slowly. When
required, take it out of the fridge at least 2 hours before and let it return to room
temperature. You can then continue with the recipe as normal.
Mixing the yeast - there are three ways to add yeast to dough.
The simplest and most direct is to place warm water in a jug or bowl, sprinkle the
yeast over the top and whisk it in until it dissolves. You will notice in our basic dough
recipes you need to add the sugar at this stage as well.
Sugar can be substituted with flour, which makes the yeast take longer to rise,
developing the flavour more.
Active dry yeast works vigorously in the correct temperature (warm not hot or not too
cold) allow the mixture to stand at least 10–15 minutes then stir it to mix it well before
using in your dough.
Some recipes call for a „sponge‟, which is a portion of the total made a short time
before combining all the ingredients to give the final dough a preliminary boost.
Dissolve the yeast in warm water, then a bit of flour is beaten in to make a smooth
batter.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to stand until it becomes frothy and full of
bubbles it can take any where from 20 minutes to 1 hour.
The last is called a „starter‟ which again is essentially a mixture of water and flour
combined with a tiny bit of yeast to make a very wet dough that‟s allowed to ferment
for 6–24 hours before adding it to more yeast, flour and water and the baking can
begin. You may have noticed this in the Turkish bread recipes. For more information
on this topic the books mentioned at the start will guide you through the stages.
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ROASTING IDEAS
When roasting meat or chicken it is a good idea to place it in a roasting pan with a
wire grid. One recommendation is the heavy stainless steel roasting tray by Scanpan.
Make sure meat is at room temperature and pat dry with paper towel.
Preheat your pan and when hot, seal the meat as per a large steak, season and cover
with vented foil for most of the duration of cooking time and then crisp off near the
finish.
Capsicum: You can try cooking a whole capsicum by throwing it onto the oven floor
and keep turning it until it turns absolutely black. Take it out of the oven, leave to cool
down then just peel the black skin away to reveal a lovely roasted soft capsicum, to
cut into strips and use as a pizza topping or as desired.
Roasted onion: The same method as the capsicum. You will need to cut off the „root‟
side once cooked and press to pop the onion out, revealing a soft roasted onion.
Sweet potato: Wrap sweet potato in foil and throw onto the oven floor, turn over now
and again – cook until soft. Peel off foil, slice up and serve.
Roast medley of vegetables: ½ bag of gourmet potatoes, 1 white onion cut into
wedges, 2 parsnips cut into ¼ lengthwise, 6 cloves of unpeeled garlic, 1 red capsicum
(seeded and cut into squares) ¼ jab pumpkin cut into large squares. Toss all the
vegetables into a bowl and seasoned with olive oil and sea salt. Place evenly onto a
large roasting tray so they don‟t touch. Makes a beautiful topping for a vegetarian
pizza.
Roasting nuts for salads: place in a small terracotta dish, spray with a dash of olive
oil, cook until you smell the nuts roasting or until they reach a slightly darker color.
Ideal to use in salads or as a garnish to any dessert!
Caramelised onion rings: are easy to make also, cut a red onion into slices. Place
onto a pre-heated cast iron plate; pour balsamic vinegar, sugar and pepper over each
slice. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes. A quick and easy way to speed things up is
to put the onions sliced into the microwave until soft, so when added to the food and
cooked in the oven they will be brown in no time.
Corn on the cob: is also great cooked in the oven, but you will need to cook it in a
terracotta dish with water to cover ¼ of dish, (seasoning can be added) - cover with
foil for 5-8 minutes then remove foil to brown the corn and now you have another BBQ
food!
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COOKING EQUIPMENT - Never use Teflon or non-stick dishes in the oven!
Terracotta: rectangular dish approximately 300mm by 200mm and 40mm deep is a
great multi purpose dish. Be sure to soak the dish (submerse it completely) for at
least 1 hour in warm water before you use it every time.
Terracotta: round dish approximately 200mm with a lid is ideal for cooking dishes that
need to be in the oven for longer or curries, rice, stews or soups. The lid is great as it
saves using foil, but you will need oven gloves, as this will be extremely hot to touch.
Be sure to soak the dish (submerse it completely) for at least 1 hour in warm water
before you use it each time.
A heavy stainless steel roasting tray: with a wire insert is wonderful when is comes
to roasting. Ordinary roasting trays from a conventional oven can do a good job or use
disposable trays for less cleaning.
Cast Iron cooking plate: This is your „new‟ BBQ replacement. You can purchase the
round or rectangle plates with handles or a loop so that you can easily remove them
from the oven with your tools. You must wash them thoroughly with soapy water
before your first use. You will need to season them, by using olive oil all over, heat in
oven until you see smoke/haze coming from the plate. Keep plate well oiled and
never wash again in soapy water, only hot water.
A good pair of Oven Gloves: Gloves are essential to have near by, for transferring
hot dishes from the oven to the table, lifting the lid on the round terracotta dish or
when trying to place the foil over the food. Some have been known to use welder‟s
gloves or silicon gloves.
Cork mats/Trivets: These are good for placing the hot serving dishes on, when
ready to serve.
Old rags or Chux Wipes/tea towels: keep these handy near the oven. You need to
wet them to use with the „7 iron‟ to wipe the oven floor clean before cooking your
pizzas. It is also a way of cooling the oven floor down, when you need to drop the
internal temperature quickly.
Jiffy Firelighters: (these are the only ones to use) – use the slab type that you
need to break into pieces, not the individual blocks which push out of their own
section. Others may work, but you will notice unpleasant smells when lit, they will also
spread chemicals in to the floor of the oven and thick black smoke, which does not
make for a nice tasting dish.
Rolling pin: As you use your oven more you will notice the advantage of having good
quality items and a rolling pin which has „ball bearing‟ handles or the Tupperware one
with the plastic handles or marble rolling pin - that let the pin move, are both great.
You should not need to use your body weight when rolling, and it is best to work from
the centre out as this helps to keep the dough in shape.
Boards: you can buy so many different types, but big is best. We recommend the
plastic or silicone varieties because they are lightweight and easy to clean and pack
up.
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Chopping boards: Cleaning your chopping boards - every so often it is a good idea to
clean a plastic board with bleach, making sure to rinse it well after. Wooden boards
should be oiled to help keep them splitting. A brush down with salt and lemon will keep
them nice and clean. Flexible cutting sheets (pkt of 2) are good - keep one for meat
and the other for vegetables. As they are clear, use a permanent marker on the back
to identify M or V.
Coco Bristle Brush: You can buy these at most chain stores or a better one is the
extra long handle type found at hardware shops. These are great to sweep out any
dust left inside the oven once you have removed the coals.
Long handle tongs: A sturdy pair of tongs helps when you need to work fast and the
heat from the oven means you can not reach inside. You will appreciate having
quality tongs to do the job.
Handy table: Keeping a fold-up table handy to use near the oven is a good idea if
space is hard to come by. That way you can use it to roll out dough or assemble pizza
toppings.
Pizza Wheel or Mezzaluma: These are both great to use. If you use a pizza wheel
use the largest wheel you can find. A great one is the Rubbermaid. The mezzaluma
recommended is the single blade type and the bigger the better - 25‟ is great. Use to
cut pizzas, herbs etc
Woodfired Ovens “Hand forged custom-made tools”
Stainless Steel or Galvanized.
Peel or Paddles: is the tool you will learn to handle better every time you use it.
Mainly used for moving the pizza or bread around the oven floor and out of the oven.
Coal Rake, „7 Iron‟ or Bakers Rooker: this tool goes by many names but is the same
tool. It is handy for pulling dishes out from the oven or rotating them, to drag the coals
forward, to use with an old rag to clean the oven floor. Another handy use is to
support the larger logs when placing in the oven in the right position.
Poker: is used to manoeuvre the wood or cover with a rag to clean the oven floor.
Some people like this over the 7 iron, others prefer the 7 iron. They both have a place
and you too will know which one that you prefer.
Pusher or Hoe: this looks like a semi circle disc attached to a rod. It is used to push
the fire back or pull coals forward for cleaning.
Wooden boards for pizza and bread: You receive one included in the sale of you
oven tools, but it is usually great to have at least four on hand. They are made from
superior quality marine ply, which will withstand constant use. You may like to rub
olive oil into the surface when you first receive your boards, to help protect them from
the stains of tomato sauce etc
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CONVERSIONS
APPROXIMATE METRIC / IMPERIAL EQUIVALENTS
WEIGHT VOLUME LENGTH
METRIC IMPERIAL METRIC IMPERIAL METRIC IMPERIAL
15 grams ½ oz 1.25 ml ¼ tsp 3 mm ⅛ in
25 grams 1 oz 2.5 ml ½ tsp 5 mm ¼ in
50 grams 1 ¾ oz 5 ml 1 tsp 1 cm ½ in
75 grams 2 ¾ oz 10 ml 2 tsp 2 cm ¾ in
100 grams 3 ½ oz 15 ml 1 tbsp 3 tsp 2.5 cm 1 in
125 grams 4 ½ oz 30 ml 2 tbsp 1fl oz 3 cm 1 ¼ in
150 grams 5 ½ oz 45 ml 3 tbsp 4 cm 1 ½ in
175 grams 6 oz 50 ml 2 fl oz 5 cm 2 in
200 grams 7 oz 100 ml 3 ½ fl oz 6 cm 2 ½ in
225 grams 8 oz 125 ml 4 fl oz 7 cm 2 ¾ in
300 grams 10 ½ oz 200 ml 7 fl oz ⅓ pint 8 cm 3 ¼ in
325 grams 11 ½ oz 250 ml 9 fl oz 9 cm 3 ½ in
350 grams 12 oz 300 ml 10 fl oz ½ pint 10 cm 4 in
400 grams 14 oz 400 ml 14 fl oz 12 cm 4 ½ in
425 grams 15 oz 450 ml 16 fl oz 13 cm 5 in
450 grams 1 lb 500 ml 18 fl oz 14 cm 5 ½ in
500 grams 1lb 2 oz 600 ml 1 pint 20 fl oz 15 cm 6 in
750 grams 1 lb 10 oz 700 ml 1 ¼ pints 16 cm 6 ¼ in
1 kilo 2 lb 4 oz 1 litre 1 ¾ pints 17 cm 6 ½ in
2 lb 12oz 1.2 litres 2 pints 18 cm 7 in
1.5 kilo 3 lb 5 oz 1.5 litres 2 3/ 4 pints 19 cm 7 ½ in
2 kilo 4 lb 8 oz 2 litres 3 ½ pints 20 cm 8 in
2.25 kilo 5 lb 2.5 litres 4 ½ pints 22 cm 8 ½ in
2.5 kilo 5 lb 8 oz 3 litres 5 ¼ pints 23 cm 9 in
2.7 kilo 6 lb 3.5 litres 6 pints 25 cm 10 in
3 kilo 6 lb 8 oz 4 litres 7 pints 30 cm 12 in
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TEMPERATURE GUIDE
High
A very hot oven with a large fire producing flames that are visibly coming all the way over the
inner chamber and just extending up towards the flue. Use ten to twelve pieces of wood for
start up. A fire such as this should be lit every time the oven is used regardless of what is on
the menu. It is important to heat up the floor and chambers with such an intense heat to allow
you to cook for extended period of time at lower temperatures. Your oven should be ready to
use in thirty minutes with an initial fire showing the characteristics mentioned above.
Medium / High
The oven will have a good bed of coals glowing bright red, pieces of wood will also be glowing
red and holding their shape and producing flames that will travel about half way to three
quarters of the way over the top of the chamber. The oven should be like this about an hour
from the start up time. To maintain this temperature add another piece of wood to the fire as
required.
Medium
Very similar to the medium/high oven but the flames travel about half way or less over the
chamber and the wood will be starting to break down. The oven will be like this about an hour
and half after light up.
Medium / Low
The oven has a good bed of coals glowing red and is still producing flames. The wood itself
has lost its shape, broken down and collapsed forming the bed of coals. The flames will only
just be lapping at the back of the chamber and certainly would not travel more than half way.
The door can be placed in front of the opening to slow the air flow into the oven which reduces
the rate heat is removed. Do not fit the door tightly when there is a flame in the oven as it will
starve the fire of oxygen, put it out and start to smoke.
Low
Cooking at this temperature is purely utilizing the retained heat in the oven and locking it in
using the door to fit tightly. There will be no flames and the bed of coals will be dark and have
stopped glowing red.
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COOKING TIMES
DISH COOKWARE TIME TEMPERAURE
Chicken Breast Fillets Terracotta Dish 12 Minutes High
Thighs 15 minutes High
Sausages Thin Cast Iron 6 minutes High to med/high
Thick Cast Iron 9 minutes High to med/high
Leg of Lamb Butter flied 1 kg Terracotta 45 minutes Med to med/low
Butter flied 2 kg Terracotta 80 minutes Med to med/low
Lamb Cutlets Lay single Terracotta 6 minutes Med to high
Steak Pre heat cast Iron dish 6 minutes High
Garlic Prawns Pre heat cast Iron dish 1 minute High
Vegetables Not piled up Terracotta Halved 30 mins High
Spread out Terracotta Smaller 20 mins High
Pizza/flat breads Oven floor 2 minutes High
Whole Fish 2 kg Terracotta 30 minutes Medium
Lamb Shanks Single layer Terracotta 2 ½ hours Low
Bread Loaves Oven floor 30 – 40 mins Low
January 2010 Page 23