Hello! My name is Gene Meltser, and this site documents my efforts to build a wood fired masonry oven. Like all large projects, the idea of building a wood fired brick oven started with a minor thing - I wanted some good pizza - Pepe's, Luzzo's of NYC, that kind - and none of the local pizza shops made what I thought was great pizza. Everything was just ok, but I was seriously craving some good old original, wood fired pie, that kind that is cooked in under 60 seconds, has thin, almost airy crust that melts in your mouth, that doesn't taste like oil or grease. I've spent a considerable amount of time practicing the recipe that I thought worked in producing a great pie, and I am happy to say that the recipe no longer needs major tweaking - it works perfectly and produces an amazing pie.
Having experimented for a few months of making my own pies in my kitchen oven, and realizing that there's a lot of technique and work that goes into making a great pie, I started to do some research. To make a great pie, you need lots of heat - 800 degrees, preferably, and a brick structure that sucks out the moisture out of the pie as it cooks, so the regular kitchen oven just won't do. Trust me, I hacked mine and tried cooking pizzas on an oven cleaning cycle, which does go up to 800+ degrees, but at this point I was deemed a fire hazard by my wife and promptly banned form the kitchen. After this, I decided to build my own - how hard can it be? ;)
So, the wood fired oven idea was born, and I started reading, learning and planning. I bought Alan Scott's "The Bread Builders" book, as well as checked out a few books on masonry from the local library. I bought the great oven plans from Rado Hand's traditionaloven.com, and modified the plans to arrive at my own creation. Since I've never laid a brick in my life, I knew the process was going to be challenging, but hey, I love a challenge. I spent about a year thinking, planning and researching the project, and finally, on April 2008 I decided to just start doing it.
The oven was complete in August 2008, after almost 5 months of back breaking work. I am happy to say that I don't regret a thing, it was a fantastic experience both as a learning endeavor and a great opportunity to build something cool from scratch. The pizza that comes out of this oven goes from raw to perfectly cooked in about a minute, and is everything I ever hoped for - it is simply fantastic. And I can have it every weekend, how awesome is that?
This site documents my efforts, which I started in April 2008.
I'd be glad to offer whatever advice I can to aspiring oven builders, and you can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org