Relative to how long our ovens hold heat, it takes very little time to heat one up; 3 hours of fire will give you up to 5 days of cooking!
The modern materials, low dome design, and state of the art insulation of Four Grand-Mere ovens allow them to use very little wood.
Wood consumption is reduced by 25% compared to concrete dome ovens and up to 50% compared to high dome traditional Italian ovens.
In an 800° F oven, 20 lbs. of dry wood is enough to obtain a uniform temperature of 600° F.
What kind of wood?
It is a question that’s been asked quite often. Hard wood such as oak, maple, and ash are perfect to fire the oven.
The wood will need to be properly seasoned and as dry as possible. The drier, the better.
If the wood is slow to burn or smokes, then it is not seasoned or dry enough.
What size of wood?
Bigger is not better in this case. Big logs are great for the fireplace, not the oven.
Back in the day, tree trimmings were used because they seasoned fast, were readily available, and burned very hot.
Nowadays tree trimmings are still the best, but anything 1" in diameter is great. You can ask your local landscaper or tree trimming company if they can cut the branches they usually turn into wood chips to this size and sell them to you.
If you can only find logs, try to split them into pieces no larger than 2" in diameter.
Start your fire right under the flue, to create proper air flow. Cold air enters at the bottom front, and heated air circulates the cooking chamber before exiting at the top front.
Move your fire to a different spot in your oven every 30 to 45 minutes; from front to back, back to left, left to center, and center to right to ensure your oven is evenly heated.
A little tip: When you are done cooking and the fire/embers/ashes has been removed, use the residual heat to dry your oven. Once the temperature has dropped down below 250° F, place your wood in the oven and it will dry nicely. When it is time to fire your oven, remove the wood and start your fire. The fire will start a lot easier, and the oven will heat-up faster and require less wood.
So...how much wood, wood a wood oven chuck? Not that much considering everything you can cook in it!
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