Not enough heat from the top

Completed the oven a week or so ago, and managed to force myself to cure it properly, so tonight was the fire ‘real’ firing … and it worked! Pics coming soon. The one seeming issue we had was not enough heat from the top (opposite of the other posts I’ve seen). Bottom crust was great, and if we inched the pizzas close to the embers, we got a crispy crust on top as well, but seemed like we weren’t getting much heat at all from the top. Still, for day #1, a success.
So my question after firing it once: how to get more radiant heat? It is a Mattone Barile Grande with an open front. Get it up to a higher overall temp first? Close off the front? Use the door more? Something else?
Thanks for any advice.

Hello -

Having an issue w/ heat from the top of the oven is a first for me… Usually (as you said), it’s the bottom / hearth.

Using a wood-fired pizza oven isn’t like a home oven - it takes a bit of mastering to get just right… But you’ll get it very soon. Just use plenty of firewood - but make sure you fire your oven SLOWLY! You don’t want to crack your new oven (thermal cracking).

You may want to consider adding a damper later down the line… they can help retain a ton of heat (especially around the oven ceiling), but you might also consider an oven door - both of which can be added later.

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Hi, Andrew,

@BrickWood’s recommendations are great, and I join him in a tip o’ the cap … that’s the first time I’ve heard of this particular problem.

One thought: make sure that, for pizza, you are cooking near the rear of the oven. I just posted this advice to another forum member, and I’ll repeat it here:

When you’re ready to cook, push your fire back along one side of the oven, wait a few minutes (put the toppings on your dough), then push it to the other side near the back. Slip your pie(s) in and bake. When you pull them out, get your next batch ready, then push the fire over to the other side and insert the new pizzas.

In this case, though you didn’t say it, I’m guessing the fire is too far forward (even the center is “too far”). By placing it along one side wall near the rear, you do two things: you keep it away from that open chimney and doorway, and you take advantage of the natural convective flow offered by the arch.

Fire slowly, keep moving the fire once you’re ready to cook, and you should have both a red-hot floor and a hot zone for your pizza.

Let us know how it goes, Andrew, and by the way, congratulations on finishing your oven!

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