How can you tell when the oven is hot enough to start baking pizza?

Another question… I have a lot of questions now. Is there a certain time in the fire process when it is best to start cooking your pizza? I tried my first one and I don’t think the oven was hot enough.

Yes there is, but since all fires are different it’s not something I’ve been able to set a timer to. What works best for me is to use an infrared thermometer. I own this one:

BT Meter BT-1500

A deck temperature of 900F is too hot for me. I end up carbonizing everything. 700-800F works really well. Below 600 I start moving coals around an adding more wood.

A good visual clue as the oven is warming up is to look at the soot on the inside of the oven. When the soot starts to go away and you can see your firebricks you know you’re getting close.

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Ok. The last part would be when the soot turns white… I don’t think I got there last time. I also think maybe my wood was not great. I just purchased almond wood and will try that.

That will also do it. My wood was just on the edge for my first few fires. One thing you’ll notice is that if you use the “good wood” to get your oven up to temp that you can mix in sticks of the other wood to maintain the fire. (Not exclusively, of course.)

I agree on the infrared thermometer; cheap and readily available. The kind you want has a top range >= 1,000 degrees F.

I have one. I am waiting for the stucco to dry and will fire it up this weekend. On one of the youtube videos I saw, the cook said he could do 4 pizzas without adding wood. That would be amazing.

Four pizzas sounds possible, two at a time. If your floor is hot enough it doesn’t take long for each pie to bake. (About 4-5 minutes vs. 11 in my home oven with a pizza steel and maxed out at 525 deg.)

I’m gathering you’re not in the snowy North, where apart from a few hardy souls we’re dreaming of March and April and the new pizza season.

Southern Cal. Sunny and high of 65. But, you know us, we put on down outwear if the temperature goes below 70.

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You have great building weather right now. Here in New England we correct that down outerwear threshold by a factor of -50. Anything above 40 is shirtsleeve weather this time of year.

That’s really ideal conditions for stucco, to allow it to cure properly rather than simply drying out. Are you planning to paint it, or is there veneering in your future?

We did color coat yesterday and will finish the base tomorrow. You are correct it is perfect stucco drying weather. I am very excited to post all the pictures.