I freely admit it. I have always been a big fan of pizza. I have loved eating pizza since I was a kid, but one thing always made me wonder. How simple can the process be for making pizza at home?
For many years, I had the idea of making my own brick pizza oven at home in my backyard, but I had no clue how to go about doing it.
There is the clay dome pizza oven which looks more professional, but since I’m not a professional pizza chef I don’t need to get one of those.
As I will explain here, old-fashioned red brick is all you need. That’s right! I will show you how to make your own brick pizza oven at home!
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Before I begin explaining the process I went through to make my DIY brick pizza oven, I will review the benefits of having an outdoor brick pizza oven.
For starters, you obviously save money on pizza that you would normally order from Little Caesar’s or Domino’s, but there is more to it than that.
Here are the following three key benefits you should consider.
- The making of a diy brick pizza oven is a great learning experience. Up until recently, I had never made a brick pizza oven before in my life. Thinking about making one felt like a challenge to me at first, but once I got going assembling the oven, everything fell into place.
- Making your own brick pizza oven at home is less of a hassle in the long run. You can still order out at the famous pizza chains, but when you know that you have a brick pizza oven in your backyard, it becomes easier for you to simply get the ingredients you want for your own custom pizza. Instead of waiting for your pizza to be made by someone else, you can control how and when your pizza will be made!
- The diy brick pizza oven is the most flexible option for a custom pizza oven. Bricks are the building blocks you use to make your oven, and unless you plan on sticking them together with cement, you can make as many changes to your oven as you need to.
How to Make an Outdoor Brick Pizza Oven DIY
When I started the process of making my own brick pizza oven, I had to conduct some research first and then create a vision for what I wanted my oven to look like.
I often go to YouTube to watch videos on topics that interest me, and it didn’t take long for me to find videos that inspired me to make my oven. If you would like to watch these videos, check out the following links!
When you watch these videos, you will notice a common theme that all of them share.
Before laying out the foundations of their brick ovens, all three make sure that they have an even, level foundation. This means you won’t have to worry about having an unbalanced structure in your DIY brick pizza oven.
If your foundation isn’t totally flat but is on some weird angle, then you run the risk of having your bricks fall all over the place. That is never a good thing.
The first rule of thumb to remember is before you even start laying out the bricks is to make sure the foundation you choose is a flat surface.
How Many Bricks do You Need?
One of the first questions you may ask yourself is how many bricks you will need to make an outdoor pizza oven.
For starters, there is no wrong answer to this question as long as you are creative enough to see the process through.
In the ChefSteps video, Grant Crilly suggests that you use 47 bricks. However, in my process, I ended up buying a minimum of 40 bricks for my pizza oven.
This is not to say that it can’t be done if you get less than 40 bricks, but the building process will be more difficult for you if this amount of bricks isn’t obtained. You need enough bricks that will be sufficiently stacked on top of each other so that they can resemble an oven.
Slabs for Your DIY Pizza Oven
Better known as stepping stones, slabs are integral parts of the outdoor brick pizza oven.
If you can find it in your local department store, the preferred size for your slabs should be 16 inches long by 16 inches wide.
If measurements are slightly off this mark when you find a slab you like, don’t worry. Customization is key when making an outdoor brick pizza oven DIY-style.
The recommended amount of slabs to get is three.
One slab should be used as part of your foundation, while another slab should be used in the middle as the resting place for your pizza. The third slab is more for cosmetic purposes than anything else since it is positioned at the very top.
The third slab can be used to put the pizza on after it has been fully cooked.
Angle and Flat Irons
I consider this to be an optional part of making a brick pizza oven, though I see many people do this. Typically used in the middle of brick pizza ovens are long thin pieces of angle iron or flat iron.
These pieces rest on the bricks to not only brace the foundation together but also to serve as a platform for the middle cooking area, whether or not you use a slab.
In the case of his pizza oven, Scott Brooks shows in his video that you don’t need a middle area for cooking the pizza as he uses angle and flat iron pieces to brace a brick roof.
In my first attempt of making my own diy brick pizza oven (Warning: a long story awaits you…), I did use a single piece of flat iron as part of a chimney cover.
The idea here was for me to take this piece off and then put it back on after adding more fuel to the fire. For a variety of reasons, this didn’t work.
For my current setup, I have excluded the use of any angle or flat iron pieces as I personally don’t find them to be helpful.
Retaining Heat Is Crucial
No matter how you choose to stack your bricks on top of each other or how you use your slabs, if your pizza oven doesn’t retain enough heat, your pizza won’t cook. It’s as simple as that.
Any ideas you may have about installing a cute-looking chimney for your oven must be thrown out the window. Take it from me; I tried using half a cinder block as my chimney for my first brick pizza oven design.
Did it look cute? Of course.
Did it work? Absolutely not.
If anything, it was allowing heat to escape the oven, defeating the purpose of my first design.
When building your brick pizza oven, always remember to keep your design enclosed. Don’t purposely leave any big gaping holes exposed. If you find any holes, try your best to cover them so that heat doesn’t escape.
The optimum temperature that you should aim for when heating up your pizza oven is 750° Fahrenheit.
My Pizza Oven – First vs. Second Design
I ended up making two different designs for my outdoor brick pizza oven.
The first design featured two slabs connected to each other in a single line on the foundation. The bricks were stacked, the third slab went on top, and half of a cinder block went up at the back as the chimney.
This design looked unique in appearance, but as I popped a pizza in to cook it, the design failed in performance.
This is because I provided too much ventilation, allowing the heat to escape through the chimney and some gaps. Heat simply wasn’t being retained.
I had to go back to the drawing board and try again. This time, with the second design, I kept it close to how the other guys on YouTube did it.
I put one slab on the bottom, stacked the bricks, put one slab in the middle, stacked more bricks, and then put the third slab on top.
The oven was kept enclosed so that the heat could rise and hit the middle slab. This would cause the slab to heat up, allowing the pizza to cook easier.
DIY Brick Pizza Oven FAQ
Readers may have loads of questions to ask me when it comes to making an outdoor brick pizza oven, and there are some that I didn’t even think about myself before I went through this process.
Happy Pizza Making!
If you thought making an outdoor brick pizza oven DIY-style was tough, then hopefully this guide sets you more at ease. You won’t know what you have with a pile of bricks until you start stacking them on top of each other!
It’s a fun experience to make your own brick pizza oven, and it’s something you can call your own creation, which is certainly satisfying.
My desire to make my own brick pizza oven was developing over the last few years, and now that I have realized this dream, I can safely tell readers of this article that this dream is attainable.