Have you used the new stone oven in your garden yet? When it comes to chopping the wood for it, of course it's always great to do it yourself. Which in theory is not a problem with OCHSENKOPF equipment. But what kind of wood is best, what tools are best for chopping it, and what's the best way to fire it up?
Many woods contain tars and resins that evaporate when hot and encourage sparking. That is not only dangerous when opening the oven, but the oils are very smoky, which in turn can make the bread or pizza taste unpleasant, and even make it harmful to eat. It's best to avoid softwoods, oak and walnut.
However, woods from fruit trees, alder, beech, ash, maple, poplar, rootstock and acacia are all good choices. In our experience, beech offers the best results: a long burning time, and little sparking and smoke. Which is as it should be.
An OCHSENKOP splitting hammer is ideal for these kinds of woods. The special hammer heads have an extra-wide blade. A heavy splitting hammer is required for splitting hard, short-fibred hardwood so the wood can then be separated with more force. Such as the BIG OX, the OX 635 H wood splitting hammer professional.
Make sure that the wood really is completely dry. Wood that is too wet does not burn well and develops too much smoke.
Once the wood is burning, it will take a little time before fresh bread or a pizza can be baked over the glowing embers. Here are a few tips for firing it up:
Layer paper, cardboard and kindling. That will really get things going! You can start to add the first thick pieces of wood after about five minutes. If you want to be absolutely safe, add a few more layers of fuel after a few minutes, and let the fire develop for a good 45 minutes until it is really glowing well. Then arrange the fire over the entire baking area so the oven heats evenly. The flames will start to drop now, and the embers will give off the perfect heat. To ensure the fire is able to draw enough air, just leave the oven door open for a few minutes. Once it has reached the right temperature (depending on what you wish to bake), simply push the embers to the back and get cooking.
Of course, you should never leave any fire unattended, not even one burning in a stone oven.