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File:Small fire.jpg
Small fire in a pizza oven

Scrunch news paper into balls and place them into the center of the wood fired pizza oven. Stack small pieces of wood (sticks smaller the diameter of your pinkie finger or 1 cm in diameter) around the paper like a tent or tepee. Place some slightly larger pieces of wood over these (2cm diameter). Light this fire and gradually add larger pieces (3cm diameter) to the fire over a 6 hour period. Aim to keep the fire small and very gradually increase the heat. Do not use larger pieces of wood for the initial firing as you will create too much heat too fast. After allowing the heat to dissipate over night you should inspect the oven for signs of weakness or cracks and perform the necessary repairs. On subsequent firing you may use larger pieces of wood and bring the oven to its full potential. You may wish to invest in an oven thermometer to gauge the temperature generated. Ideally for pizza you will want to establish a temperature of at least 370 degrees Celsius (700 degrees Fahrenheit) to allow for pizzas to be cooked within 1-2 minutes.

Once the oven is hot you will want to move the fire to either one side, or split into two. Split has the benefit of maintaining an even heat distribution so that the pizza does not cook too fast on one side. You may want to wait ten minutes after moving the fire to allow the fire bricks to cool slightly. To keep the temperature of the oven constant over a period of time you will want to maintain a small steady fire at the back.