What is the Best Wood for Pizza?
One of the biggest choices you will make for your pizza oven is the type of wood you will use. The two main categories to choose from are hardwood and softwood.
The difference between the two is the trees they come from. Hardwoods come from trees that lose their leaves in the winter, such as oak, maple or ash trees. Softwoods, on the other hand, come from evergreen trees like cedars and spruces.
So, which wood will make you a better pizza? The answer is hardwood!
Hardwood burns better than softwood for a few reasons. First, hardwood generally contains less moisture than softwood, making it easier to ignite and burn longer. Because hardwood is denser than softwood, it also provides more substance for the fire to burn. Hardwood burns slower and cleaner than softwood as a result.
Of course, choosing hardwood for your pizza oven is only part of the battle. You also need to figure out what type of hardwood you’ll choose.
Here at Hot Box, we believe kiln-dried oak wood is the best type of hardwood you can choose for your pizza oven. In the next sections, we will explain why this type of wood blows the competition away.
Why Kiln-Dried Wood?
If you’re going to make an amazing wood-fired pizza, you’ll need exceptionally dry wood. To be exact, you’ll need wood with a moisture content of below 20%.
As its name indicates, kiln-dried wood is wood that has been dried in a kiln to get its moisture content under 20%. This process is by far the best way to achieve this level of dryness.
The other option for drying out wood is called seasoning. Seasoning is the process of letting the wood dry out naturally over time. The main problem with this method is it rarely gets the moisture content down to below 20%. Instead, the best it can achieve is somewhere between 20-30%. This is because variables like the temperature and humidity levels have a major effect on how well the wood dries.
Getting below the 20% moisture threshold makes a huge difference for cooking wood. The more moisture the wood has, the more difficult it will be to ignite. It also won’t burn as hot as it would if it were below 20% and will produce more smoke. So, your pizza won’t cook as well as it could and will taste way too smoky. On the other hand, kiln-dried wood eliminates these problems for an easier cooking experience with delicious results!
On top of this, the kiln-drying process also kills any bugs, fungus and mold that may be lurking in the wood. The same cannot be said for the seasoning process.
In short, the kiln-drying process is the most efficient way to produce pizza wood that is perfect for cooking every time. That’s why kiln-dried wood is the best!
Why Oak Cooking Wood?
As we mentioned above, hardwoods are the best choice for pizza ovens because of their density. The heavier and denser the wood is, the longer and hotter it will burn to produce a well-cooked pizza.
Oak is one of the heaviest and densest hardwoods, making it a very reliable cooking wood. It also produces a subtle, smoky flavor, which is perfect for that classic wood-fired pizza taste.
But don’t just take our word for it. Just ask any professional chef that makes wood-fired pizzas. They will tell you that oak is the best choice because it burns clean and hot. And the delicious results speak for themselves!
How Does a Pizza Oven Work?
Wood-fired pizza ovens can cook pizzas extremely quickly by reaching incredibly high temperatures (700-900 degrees Fahrenheit) that a home oven can’t reach. The top of the pizza oven, called the dome, cooks the top of your pizza. The bottom of the oven, called the stone or the base, cooks the crust on your pizza. To achieve a perfect wood-fired pizza, both the dome and the stone need to be properly heated.
How to Properly Heat the Dome
The dome of a pizza oven is heated by rolling flames. These flames occur when the wood has completely caught fire and is continuing to produce hot flames. The flames ascend toward the chimney of the oven and roll over the dome to radiate heat downwards. The flames then draw fresh air into the oven, creating a convection current that keeps creosote and smoke away from your pizza.
How to Properly Heat the Stone
The stone of the oven, on the other hand, is heated by two things:
- Hot air circulating through the pizza oven
- Heat that radiates from the coals of the wood fire
For a properly heated stone, you need to let your oven heat for approximately 15-20 minutes and allow your fire to reach red hot coals.
How Pizza Oven Wood Heats Both the Dome and Stone
Without the right pizza oven wood, it’s challenging to get rolling flames over the dome of your pizza oven. Charcoal, for example, will burn extremely hot and will heat the stone. But it will not provide rolling flames that cook the top of your pizza.
Hot Box Cooking Wood is cut to a small diameter and small length because it provides the proper balance of flame and coals. When ignited, the small split pizza wood provides a large rolling flame and gets to hot coals relatively quickly. The result is an evenly heated dome and stone of your oven and perfect pizzas every time.
Ready to Get Cooking?
Delicious wood-fired pizzas are calling your name! And we have the wood to get your portable pizza oven firing on all cylinders. You can visit our shop page to get some of your own today! Or, if you have more questions about pizza wood or pizza ovens, feel free to give us a call at 847-322-0597. We’d be happy to help you out.