According to a recent survey, pizza is America’s favorite food. Consisting of round baked dough topped with sauce, cheese, meat and veggies, it’s an incredibly versatile dish that can be prepared in countless ways. However, you’ll need two things to cook delicious pizza likes the pros: a wood fired pizza oven and the right cooking wood. Once you’ve mastered the art of using a wood-fired pizza oven, you’ll be able to professional-quality pizza from the comfort of your home.
In this article, we’ll discuss the important differences between good firewood and bad firewood, and how the quality of your firewood will impact the cooking experience, as well as the flavor and texture of the pizza.
If you want to skip all the research and just order the best pizza wood available, then visit our pizza oven firewood today!
What Is a Pizza Oven?
Also known as a masonry or stone oven, a pizza oven is a special type of baking chamber that’s designed to cook large foods, including pizza, at high temperatures. Although they are designed in different ways, most feature a brick or clay construction with a half-dome baking chamber. You simply slide your pizza into the oven, at which point it will cook from the heat produced by the burning wood.
A pizza oven isn’t the same as a conventional kitchen oven. For starters, pizza ovens are typically heated using wood, whereas kitchen ovens are heated using electricity or gas. This alone can have a significant impact on the flavor and overall quality of your pizza. Since they use gas or electricity, kitchen ovens don’t offer the same flavor as their wood-fired counterparts. You can still cook pizza in a kitchen oven, but you shouldn’t set your expectations too high.
Kitchen ovens aren’t able to produce as much heat as a pizza oven, either. A typical kitchen oven has a maximum temperature of about 500 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is more than enough heat to bake chicken, pork chops, casseroles and other dishes, it’s not enough to get that authentic Napoletana pizza flavor (which cooks at 900 degrees).
When cooked in a kitchen oven, pizza dough will remain relatively soft. By cooking pizza in a pizza oven, on the other hand, the dough will turn to a golden brown color with a crispy texture. This is because pizza ovens can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
In recent years, there is also a fun and growing collection of stainless steel pizza ovens that are smaller, more portable, and have a lower cost. Despite being smaller, they can still reach incredibly hot temperatures and make for some incredible pizza making. Examples of this kind of pizza oven include the Ooni Pro, Ooni Karu, and Bertollo Wood Fired Oven.
Why the Right Wood Matters When Using a Pizza Oven
Unless you’re experienced with pizza ovens, you may assume that all wood is equal. After all, how much of a difference can wood really make when cooking pizza? Well, using the right wood matters for several reasons.
Let’s start by hearing from Richard Blais, winner of Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars, when he explained the importance of quality cooking wood by saying, “Firewood is an ingredient. Once you wrap your head around that, and understand that great cooking uses great ingredients, you’ll want to use Cutting Edge Firewood every time.”
The quality of wood affects several important factors:
- The Flavor – if you cook with wood that is musty, then your pizza will taste musty. If you cook with wood that has mold or fungus, then you will cook off mold and fungus into your pizza. If, however, you use wood that is clean and dry, you will get nothing but the amazing wood fired taste people love in good pizzas.
- The experience – have you ever had to work really hard to get wood to light? It’s frustrating and time consuming! It’s so much better when you can light a single match and then ignite a beautiful fire quickly.
- The heat – Wood fired pizza ovens are meant to cook the pizza at extremely high temperatures, but low quality wood will never get the fire hot enough. You need dense and dry wood to create the kind of heat required for amazing pizza.
- Consistency – If you add wet wood to a fire, then the temperature of the fire will actually drop. This makes it much harder to maintain consistent temperature when cooking a pizza and can cause major headaches when trying to cook. You wouldn’t toss a cup of water into your oven, so why would you add wet wood?
So here is the moral of the story: If you want to step up your pizza-cooking game, then you need to recognize that firewood is a key ingredient, and the best ingredients make the best pizzas.
Backyard Pizza Chef Testimonial
It’s easy for us to talk about the importance of good cooking wood, but will you actually notice the difference when cooking a pizza in your backyard?
Here is what one of our customers, Greg A in Maryland, had to say:
I have had a wood fired pizza oven for a good six years or so as you can see in the pics attached. I made it through all the bad pizza lessons you could imagine working the dough and other ingredients to craft the perfect method for Neapolitan pizza. I was frustrated over the years finding consistent, dry, clean wood. Here in Maryland what was considered kiln dried was first stored outside and aged, then finally at some point sent to a kiln for a few hours at best.
I believe I have now found the perfect wood at Cutting Edge. Everything is in balance, temperature, flavor, and time. The close up picture with the pizza and a piece of wood burning behind it tells the story. It burns across the whole stick, evenly lit, hot bright flame. Lights quick and easy. It took half the time to bring the oven up to temp, and half the wood. In fact I could control the temperature so easily with this wood because it was an immediate contributor of heat rather than taking heat to smolder and dry out before truly burning. The pizza tasted clean and crisp like it should. By far the best wood for any oven – I am so pleased I have found the right source!
As you can see, choosing the right kind of wood makes a huge difference! So, how do you choose the right wood?
Choose Kiln Dried Cooking Wood
Always use dry firewood for cooking in your pizza oven. Burning wet or damp wood will result in a less-efficient combustion process. Once you light it– if you’re even able to light it — it will convert less organic wood matter into heat. Unfortunately, this means the temperature of your pizza oven will be too low to create a crispy crust. At the same time, the wet or damp wood will release high concentrations of particulate matter into the air, some of which will land on your pizza.
Don’t assume that a piece of wood is dry just because it doesn’t feel wet or damp – there can be plenty of moisture on the inside.
When a tree is cut or falls to the ground, its moisture content is typically about 50%. If the wood gets seasoned for a year, the moisture content often drops to 20-30%, but unfortunately the wood has already started to decompose and become less dense.
Here at Cutting Edge Firewood, we use the most rigorous drying process in the industry. We kiln dry freshly cut firewood for 48 hours at 250 degrees – this process removes a ton of moisture, kills all bugs, fungus, and mold, and keeps the wood dense for an incredible high burn temperature. Our wood has a moisture content of 5-10%, making it the best firewood in the world.
Choose the Right Size
There is a wide variety of cuts of wood, and each has a specific purpose. If you plan to cook pizzas in a Kamado style grill like the Big Green Egg or Primo, you’ll want to use oak cooking chunks or cooking splits. These chunks and splits, however, are too small for a full sized wood fired oven.
If you’re cooking pizzas in a full sized oven like the Forno Piombo, Alfa Oven, or Fontana Forni then you’ll want our 16″ length pizza cut firewood. We designed this cut of pizza wood with the assistance of professional pizza chefs. Each cut is 16″ long and 1-2″ wide, which makes it extremely easy to light and quickly create hot temperatures. With our pizza cut wood, you can get the fire lit and up to temperature in 30 minutes with 6 pieces of wood! Because the wood is dense, you know it will burn hotter and longer than any other wood on the market.
If you have a smaller pizza oven like the Ooni Pro, then you’ll want to try our miniature pizza cut. This wood is 6″ long and 1-2″ thick, making it the perfect size for miniature pizza ovens. Our wood will burn really well and really hot, giving you and your guests a great experience in the backyard!
Which Wood Species is Best for Pizza?
For the best-tasting pizza, we typically recommend cooking with oak firewood. In fact, all of our pizza cut firewood is actually made from oak.
Why oak? Because it burns incredibly hot and provides a very mild flavor. Why is that mild flavor important? Because bread (or pizza crust) works very quickly to absorb the flavor that comes from smoke. You can certainly use wood like hickory to cook your pizzas, but the flavor may be overpowering for some people. We have found that oak provides the perfect amount of flavor for most people!
For this reason, we recommend starting with oak firewood, and then adding in some other species as you grow in your skill level. You can also start the fire with oak and then add a couple pieces of another species – this will add flavor but be less overpowering than if the entire fire was made of something like pecan or hickory.
If you want to try something else, here is a quick guide to other popular species of wood:
- Pecan can add a nutty flavor that can be great with breaded items.
- Cherry burns less hot than oak, but can add a slight sweet flavor to your pizza
- Hickory burns hotter than oak and adds a bold wood fired flavor to anything you cook
- Apple is another popular fruit wood that can add apple flavor to your pizza
Tips on Using a Pizza Oven
Along with using the right cooking wood, follow these tips to cook delicious pizza in a pizza oven:
- Aim for an internal temperature of 700 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit in your pizza oven. You can raise the temperature of your pizza oven by adding more cooking wood.
- Build a fire in the center of your pizza oven, and when you’re ready to add the pizza, use a metal scraper to move the coals to the back of the oven.
- Clean any remaining wood or ash out of your pizza oven after each use.
- Avoid using dough with a high sugar content. Sugar-based dough is fine when cooking pizza is a conventional kitchen oven. When used in a wood-fired pizza oven, though, it causes the crust to cook unevenly.
- Don’t leave your pizza sitting in the oven for too long. Assuming your pizza oven has reached a temperature of 700 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit, it should only take one to two minutes to fully cook a pizza. Allowing it to cook for longer than two minutes may result in the crust or toppings burning.
- Use caution when adding and removing your pizza to protect against burns.
- Remember, while it’s called a “pizza oven,” you can cook other types of foods in it, some of which include potatoes, bread, fish, hamburgers and more.
Don’t limit your pizza-cooking activities to a conventional kitchen oven. Using a pizza oven with the right wood will help you create better-tasting pizza that simply can’t be achieved with a kitchen oven. And once you get the hang of it, you can use it to cook other foods.
How we deliver Pizza Cut cooking wood
Depending on where you live, we offer several methods of delivery service.
If you order a box of pizza firewood, then we will deliver the wood via a third party delivery service to your front door. Boxes get shipped or delivered quickly and are an extremely convenient way to receive firewood. Our cooking wood boxes include fire starters and everything you need to get the fire going. We deliver both our 16″ pizza cut and our miniature pizza cut inside boxes, and offer complimentary shipping on all miniature pizza cut boxes.
If you order racks of our 16″ pizza cut firewood, then you will either receive our complimentary delivery artisan service (only available in our local delivery areas) or we will ship the wood via freight. Freight racks are 2′ wide and 4′ tall and stacked inside a wooden rack. We place the racks on a pallet and the pallet will be delivered to your driveway. If you cook a lot of pizza, then the best value for shipping pizza cut wood is our 16″ Ultimate Package.
Try the Best Pizza Cooking Wood Available
Want to make pizza in your backyard that gives your friends and family a true taste of Italy? Then make sure you use Cutting Edge Firewood’s premium pizza cut firewood.
Choose between our miniature pizza cut or standard pizza cut options below, or view learn more about our pizza oven firewood.