The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

how to properly build my fire?

giyad's picture

how to properly build my fire?

I'm very new to wood burning fire ovens, but the past two days have been so much fun with it! Im still learning and was wondering, so I build the fire in the center of the oven (I'm using the upside down method), but after 45 minutes my fire is almost done, so I need to add wood. My walls have not turned white yet though, should I keep the fire burning in the center until it all turns white, or should I move it to the side and feed the fire there at this point?


Also, which side should I move it to, left or right?

s_l_cal's picture

in my own experience, I built the fires toward the middle, maybe shaded toward the back half, while the oven heated up.  Then, move the coals and any remaining fire toward the back so you have room to bake, but the heating continues.  I would think left back or right back is whatever works best for you based on your handedness and what tools you are using.  For me, that's the left.  How far back probably depends on the size and amount of your bread.

Laurentius's picture

Hi Giyad,

Start you fire in the front of your oven, once the wood is burning push it to the back of the oven. Add a few pieces of wood about every 20 minutes, it takes me 2hrs to fully saturate my oven but then its too hot to bake bread. How many loaves are you baking at once, what the size of your oven and is it insulated are all factors in heat management. The firing and clearing of the oven is the easy part. 

giyad's picture

Thanks guys,

I'm actually baking flatbreads, so I need the oven to get super hot.  I've been messing around and today i feel like starting the fire in the center, building it until the walls are all white, and then moving them to the left seemed to work great.

I'll keep playing around with it, but I guess its more about experience and less about being told.


BobSponge's picture

I was taught to start the fire in the front of the oven too, then slowly move it towards the center.  In the beginning the fire is not strong enough to draw air,  plus you want to heat up the chimney to help pull smoke up not out the door.    As the fire strengthens, I slowly push the fire to the center.  For my oven it takes a good 30 minutes before I can push it into the center.   

Once my oven is hot, I move the fire to the side.  This way the heat flows up the roof and back down on the opposite side of the oven.  I was told if you push it to the back you will get more heat coming out the front of the oven. 

It takes also takes me two hours until the dome is completely white.  


giyad's picture

Thanks again for your responses!  I tested it again today and it worked a lot better starting it at the front and moving it to the center after about 20-30 minutes.  Then I started adding a couple of logs to the sides of the fire to spread the fire closer to the walls.  That worked great.  By 1hr 30 minutes the dome was almost all white, and by 2 hours I was ready to bake my flatbreads :)

MichaelLily's picture

For fire-in cooking, I start at the front, push back to the middle, let it burn about a half hour to 45 mins, then push to the right and really get it cooking for about 45 mins, then move over to the left and heat that up about a half hour to 45 mins.  The coals on the floor during the second burn (preheat fire) warm that side of the oven very well, especially the floor.