Step-by-Step Guide: How to Build a Clay Brick Pizza Oven

When it comes to cooking mouthwatering pizzas with a distinctive smoky flavor, there's nothing quite like a clay brick pizza oven. Constructing your own oven allows you to create a focal point in your backyard and indulge in the art of traditional pizza making. The process may seem daunting, but with the right materials, tools, and a little bit of patience, you can embark on a rewarding and fulfilling project. From gathering the necessary supplies to laying the bricks and curing the oven, building a clay brick pizza oven is a labor of love that promises delicious homemade pizzas for years to come. So, roll up your sleeves, unleash your creativity, and let's dive into the magical world of building a clay brick pizza oven!

Can You Use Pottery Clay for Pizza Oven?

One popular choice for building a clay pizza oven is pottery clay, which offers a great blend of workability and affordability. It’s high heat resistance and ability to withstand thermal shock make it ideal for the intense temperatures reached inside a pizza oven.

However, it’s important to note that not all types of pottery clay are suitable for this purpose. It’s recommended to use a specific type of clay known as fire clay. It’s often used in the construction of kilns, fireplaces, and other heat-resistant structures.

Hawthorn Fire Clay is one particular brand of fire clay that many builders recommend for pizza oven construction. It’s well-regarded for it’s workability, meaning it can be easily shaped and molded into the desired form for your pizza oven. It’s affordability is also a key factor to consider, as building a pizza oven can be a cost-intensive project, and using a reasonably priced clay can help keep expenses in check.

These materials can often be purchased from local pottery supply stores or online retailers, making it convenient for builders to acquire the necessary clay for their project.

Watch this video on YouTube:

Wood-fired ovens cook at very high temperatures – around 400°C – which allows for quick and efficient cooking. The combination of the intense heat and the clay material of the oven creates a unique cooking environment that results in a perfectly cooked pizza with a crisp base and a delightful smoky flavor. The process may take an hour to get the clay oven up to temperature, but the end result is well worth the wait.

How Long to Cook Pizza in Clay Oven?

The high temperatures of a clay oven give pizzas an irresistible crispy base and a fantastic smoky flavor. To achieve these perfect results, it’s crucial to preheat the oven for around an hour. This might seem like a long time, but it allows the clay to absorb and retain heat, ensuring consistent cooking throughout the pizza.

Once the oven has reached it’s optimum temperature, which is typically around 400°C in a wood-fired oven, you can start cooking your pizza. In as little as 60 seconds, your pizza will be sizzling, the crust will be blistered, and the cheese will be beautifully melted.

With just an hour of preheating and 60 seconds of cooking time, you can enjoy the incredible taste and texture of a wood-fired pizza in the comfort of your own home. Indulge in the aromatic flavors and the smoky essence that only a clay oven can deliver, as you savor every bite of your homemade masterpiece.

The Benefits of Cooking Pizza in a Clay Oven Compared to Other Methods

  • Retains moisture in the pizza, keeping it tender and juicy
  • Enhances the flavors of the pizza due to the clay’s natural heat retention
  • Promotes even cooking and browning of the crust
  • Provides a unique smoky flavor that can’t be replicated in conventional ovens
  • Allows for higher temperatures, resulting in quicker cooking times
  • Creates a crispy crust with a chewy interior
  • Adds a rustic and authentic touch to the pizza-making experience
  • Retains nutrients in the toppings, ensuring a healthier meal
  • Enhances the presentation of the pizza, with beautiful and distinctive char marks
  • Offers versatility, as clay ovens can also be used for baking bread and other dishes

However, with some modifications and additional insulation, it’s possible to create a functioning brick oven using regular bricks. While the performance may not be as efficient as using specialized fire bricks, this DIY approach can still yield satisfactory results for those looking to enjoy homemade, wood-fired pizza.

Can You Make a Brick Oven With Regular Bricks?

However, it’s still possible to build a brick oven using regular bricks with some modifications. One method is to use fire bricks as the inner layer of the oven for better heat retention. Fire bricks are designed to withstand high temperatures and efficiently transfer heat.

Additionally, regular bricks can be reinforced with heat-resistant mortar to increase their durability and heat resistance. This mortar is specifically formulated to withstand high temperatures and can be applied to the joints between regular bricks.

Insulation is crucial for maintaining a consistent temperature in the oven and preventing heat loss. This can be achieved by placing a layer of insulation material, such as ceramic fiber blanket or perlite, between the regular bricks and the outer layer of the oven.

Building a clay brick oven requires several steps and materials. First, you need to build a table base to support the oven. Then, you must insulate the tabletop to prevent heat transfer. Next, you lay a brick floor and mark a circle for the oven’s shape. After that, you shape a sand dome and add a layer of newspaper. The next step involves sculpting a clay dome and finally, cutting out an oven door.

How Do You Make a Clay Brick Oven?

To embark on the exciting project of building a clay brick oven, begin by constructing a sturdy table base. This can be easily accomplished using wooden materials, providing a solid foundation for your oven. Once the table base is complete, it’s important to insulate the tabletop to prevent heat radiation from the oven floor to the base. This insulation layer will ensure the longevity of your oven and prevent any potential damage.

Next, lay a brick floor on top of the insulation layer. This floor will serve as the cooking surface for your oven and should be meticulously planned and executed for optimal results. Using chalk, mark a circle on the floor to determine the size and shape of your oven.

With the groundwork complete, it’s time to shape the sand dome. This will serve as the mold for your clay dome. Ensure that the sand dome is evenly shaped and sturdy, as it will be the guide for your final oven structure.

Now comes the fun part – creating a newspaper layer! This layer will protect the sand dome while you sculpt the clay dome. Carefully cover the sand dome with newspaper, securing it in place.

Finally, you can begin sculpting the clay dome. This step requires patience and creativity, as the clay will be molded into the desired shape for your oven. Take your time to carefully build up the clay layers until your dome is complete, ensuring that the clay is evenly applied for a strong and durable structure.

To finish your clay brick oven, don’t forget to cut out an oven door to allow for the insertion and removal of your culinary creations. This door can be customized to your preference, whether it be a simple and functional design or a more artistic and decorative piece.

With careful planning, attention to detail, and a little bit of creativity, you can have a beautiful and efficient oven that will enhance your culinary adventures for years to come.

Source: Building an Outdoor Oven – Mother Earth News

When it comes to cooking pizza in a brick oven, temperature plays a crucial role in achieving that desired crispy crust and perfectly melted toppings. A bricks oven that’s heated to about 626 degrees Fahrenheit will provide the ideal cooking conditions for a delicious pizza. As the oven heats up, the crust is exposed to direct heat, reaching temperatures of approximately 392 degrees, resulting in a delectably crispy texture. On the other hand, the pizza’s top portion, including the cheese and tomato sauce, benefits from indirect heat, mostly staying around 212 degrees as the water content evaporates. Understanding these temperature dynamics is essential for mastering the art of brick oven pizza making.

What Temperature Do You Cook Pizza in a Brick Oven?

When it comes to cooking pizza in a brick oven, the temperature plays a crucial role in achieving the perfect crust and overall texture of the pizza. A brick oven is capable of reaching much higher temperatures compared to a regular home oven, resulting in a unique cooking experience.

At this temperature, the water content in the cheese and tomato sauce begins to boil off, creating that delicious melt-in-your-mouth texture. The steam that’s released from the toppings adds an extra layer of moisture to the pizza, preventing it from drying out during the cooking process.

By maintaining a temperature of 626 degrees in a brick oven, the crust will reach a temperature of approximately 392 degrees Fahrenheit. This ultra-hot temperature allows for the Maillard reaction to occur, giving the crust it’s characteristic rich, brown color and a depth of flavor.

The intense heat ensures a perfectly cooked crust, while the indirect heat keeps the toppings from burning.


By patiently working with natural materials and following a step-by-step process, one can create a functional and aesthetically pleasing oven that enhances the cooking experience and brings people together.

Scroll to Top