Do I have to use fire brick to close off the front of the Mattone Barile series ovens - or can I use regular bricks?

Since the front of the oven doesn’t get as hot at the other parts of the oven (ceiling, walls & back), you can use standard clay bricks to close off the front of the oven.

You will still want to use High-Temperature mortar when placing the bricks into position… but yes, standard bricks (not concrete bricks) are a-okay to use to close off the front of the oven.

Gosh. I don’t know about that. We closed off part of the front with fire brick (and high temp mortar) and are glad we did. We’re not building the fire all that close to the front but those bricks still get pretty hot. In the realm of “better safe than sorry”, based on our experience I’d recommend using fire brick.