Forum / Wood burning pizza oven dome or barrel vault


Dome is one of the important parts of wood burning pizza oven. It can be constructed as either barrel or igloo dome. Both of them are constructed in same fashion with red bricks, mortar, claying material and a supporting frame. In making igloo dome, there is no need of managing a support because you can easily make it by brick layer. Just you need a support for barrel dome. Refractory or fireclay is not required for this work. If you use normal building mortar, there may be crack in dome wall but it will not noticeable easily.

Brick wall for dome

1. You have to make a supporting frame for brick works. You can use scrap wood for this purpose.
2. Then you have to make mortar using correct ratio of Portland cement, sand and water for making workable consistency.
3. After that, you have to start laying bricks with mortar. You have to keep a thing in mind that internal brick work will not visible.
4. You have to continue brick work until it covers supporting structure.
5. Another important thing is that you have to keep a hole in the middle position of dome for setting a chimney. If you don’t make it during construction, you have to make hole later and it may affect the other construction work.

After completing brick work, you have to clay it properly adding insulating material. Using of insulating material has importance in pizza baking. Dome is that place where pizza dough is placed for baking. If there in control over temperature, pizza will be soggy. So insulation is also important in making dome.

Width and Height of Pizza Dome

Width and height of pizza dome determines the space for baking pizza. Height of dome will be normally ¾th of its width. The main purpose of making dome is to hold heat for baking. The heat passes through the dome and within moments it is radiated back to bake pizza. Nowadays, preformed dome is available in market. Many people use preformed or prefabricated dome on pizza oven. But it is not recommended to use prefabricated dome because it may have cracks inside of wall, which will not visible to you. For best heating to bake pizza, you should make dome on pizza oven. You have to be careful about width and height of pizza dome. You should maintain entry door height 10 inch and vault height 16 inch.

Which is best Barrel Vault or Dome?

There is only one difference between dome and vault is efficiency. Normally, dome is made for pizza oven and barrel vault is for bread baking oven. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t bake your bread in pizza oven and pizza in bread baking oven contains barrel vault. You can make dome or barrel vault for your pizza oven. For baking pizza, dome is always recommended because it requires high temperature and consistency in temperature.

There is only one advantage of having barrel vault is that you can make large number of pizza at a time if you can maintain temperature properly. In barrel vault, temperature doesn’t remain same like dome and it becomes so tough to maintain constant temperate. If there is any fluctuation in temperature, pizza will not be baked properly and it will remain soggy in center. By taking this in consideration, making dome for pizza oven is highly recommended.

Does thickness of dome affects pizza baking?

Many people don’t know what is the importance of maintaining right thickness of dome wall? Some of pizza oven owners make thin walled dome. If you don’t maintain proper thickness of dome, you cannot achieve required pizza baking temperature. Dome contains heat for baking pizza in where pizza dough is placed to bake. Thick walled dome can hold required temperature for long time than thin walled dome. Again, it absorbs more heat than thin walled dome. So after baking pizza, you can bake anything using that absorbed heat. You can easily bake other products using heat left your pizza baking. It will be proper use of heat energy. So try to make thick walled dome for your pizza oven.