Back To The Future For Brick Ovens

{flickr|100|campaign} True Italian brick ovens have been around since the beginning of time and the birth of culinary preparation, it seems. They date back as far as the ancient Roman Empire, and remnants have been found of these rustic tools, particularly in ancient Pompeii. Archeologists and researchers have determined that some of these relics could even be used today, and with little repair or restoration. This fact attests to the durability and reliability of ancient brick ovens, as well as the painstaking craftsmanship of the artisans who created them. Today, these professional-grade tools are still considered reliable and necessary in contemporary homes where pizza making is somewhat of an art form.

The wood-fired brick ovens are also known as Pompeii Ovens and date back to that period of time. The relics uncovered from ancient Pompeii and excavations in Naples are well-preserved with Brick Oven Dome brickwork and insulation. Their design inspired the modern Italian Pompeii Oven design. Much like the residential brick ovens from the past, these contemporary ovens are to be found in private homes, but they are also the same structures to be found in today’s local pizzeria. Yet, due to their durability and the fact that brick is a good conductor of heat, many were built as outdoor pizza ovens and sustained popularity as such.

The brick oven was certainly used for the cooking of pizza, and perhaps primarily so, but these well-casted ovens were staples in the ancient Italian homes and were used for all manner of food, including meats and breads. The ovens heat quickly and retain that heat for hours, allowing for a consistent temperature and faster cooking time. As with any wood-burning oven, these outdoor pizza ovens afford a host the opportunity to serve a large number of guests in a short period of time. Consider the fact that an average pizza can be thoroughly cooked under such intense heat in three minutes or less. Several modern versions allow pizzeria owners the industrial strength of baking one perfect pizza nonstop every minute! These modern high-quality ovens, transformed by technology and years of expertise, have literally revolutionized the way the world bakes pizza.

Most brick pizza ovens come in several sizes and may be shipped fully assembled; however, they are obviously not as light-weight as their wooden cousins. Installation is relatively simple, but even the residential outdoor pizza ovens can weigh over one-half of a ton. For this reason and others, many individuals choose to build their own brick pizza ovens. The materials for such a project are readily available at most building supply shops; however, key to this work is the type of brick chosen: firebrick. As its name indicates, this brick heats up quickly, but it also has the capacity to withstand high levels of intense heat and, as such, is preferable to clay brick.

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