Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Build a Brick Oven From Scratch

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A backyard brick oven can provide crisp, wood-fired pizza whenever you want it. Building your own backyard oven step by step takes time, since some of the steps require days to set up. Don't skimp on this setting time, because it's necessary for a strong and safe oven.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Gravel
  • Concrete
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Trowel
  • 4-by-8-by-16-inch cement blocks
  • Builders' sand or gravel
  • Fire bricks
  • Red bricks
  • Arched or flat form
  • Select a level site for your brick oven. Make sure the site is far enough from your home to avoid smoke or fire danger.

  • Dig a trench 18 to 24 inches deep and 40 inches in length and width, using a shovel. After you've excavated, fill the trench with gravel to create a strong base for your brick oven.

  • Mix concrete with water based on the ratio recommended on the bag of concrete. Pour the mixed concrete over the gravel base to create a 3 1/2-inch-thick concrete slab that's 40 inches in length and width. Wait for the concrete to dry before proceeding.

  • Build a base for your oven with two layers of cement blocks. Use 4-by-8-by-16-inch blocks and half-blocks. Stack the blocks around the perimeter of the concrete slab to form your block base. Insert wire mesh between rows. After you've constructed the base, let it cure for two days.

  • Fill the base with sand or gravel.

  • Pour 4 inches of cement on top of the base to form the base of your oven. Mother Earth News suggests a perlite base using 1 1/3 bags of cement, 13 pounds of perlite and water. Allow the base to cure for five days before continuing.

  • Cover the cured cement base with a fine, even layer of sand.

  • Build the walls of your oven using standard red wall bricks. Lay the first layer on end, so the bricks stand up tall. Use 1/4 inch of brick mortar between bricks. Build the oven in a U shape so the back and sides are enclosed with bricks and the front is open, allowing you to slide food into the oven. Build the oven no taller than is necessary.

  • Create the top of the oven. If you want, use a domed wooden form to create an arched base for the top. Otherwise create a flat base. Slide your flat or round wooden form inside the oven. Mortar a row of bricks together on top of the form. Leave the form in place while the mortar dries, then pull it out.

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