Just as with any household appliance regular maintenance of your wood fire pizza oven is important, even just by removing cobwebs from the top of the dome is enough to keep your pizza oven clean. The centre of the oven is the *heart* of your wood fire pizza oven as this is where your pizza is cooked so you do need to keep that area tidy. Any dirt or dust that has been trapped inside will affect the taste of your pizza.
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There are three ways to clean a pizza oven
- To remove the ashes from the dome you need a rake. Rake the ashes to the centre of the oven and then using a paddle lift the ashes and remove them from the oven. Don’t just dump the ashes in the garden, dispose of them properly. When the ashes start to become too thin to rake and paddle out, a broom can be used, clean the oven out till there are no ashes inside.
- You can brush and mop out small debris – this is a great way to remove any hardened ash or dirt. To do this you need a steel or brass bristle brush – brushes made from plastic are too brittle. Attach a damp cloth to a stick and wipe the floor of the oven chamber, using a cotton cloth will maximise absorption and ensures pick up of small dust and ashes.
- You will also need to clean the flue and chimney. Just like regular fire places wood fire pizza ovens will create a build-up of soot on the walls of the oven and in the chimney. It is necessary to clean the chimney with a brush – a bristle nose brush can be used for this purpose.
Should You Clean the Hearth before Cooking a Pizza?
If there is black ash on the cooking floor of the pizza oven, the bottom of your pizza may become dirty and taste bitter. Ash from a previous cooking cycle may mix with the pizza giving it a smokey and bitter flavour. To remove coal or ash a square nosed aluminium shovel is sufficient, once the ashes or coals are removed, brush over the oven hearth with a bristle brush and a wet cloth.
NOTE – Before cleaning the hearth be careful as the oven heart will remain warm for several hours, always wait for the oven to cool before beginning any cleaning.
When cleaning a wood fired pizza oven wear gloves and a face mask to prevent inhaling any wood ash or soot. While you don’t use any chemicals to clean inside your pizza oven it is the by-products from the previous fire or fires that some may find irritating to the lungs and to the eyes.