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Cooking with a flame – open oven

The fire or glowing embers are kept inside the oven, at the back or spread around the edge of the hearth. The part left clear is then cleaned with a brass brush; this is where you'll be placing the meat, fish or pizzas for cooking.
The food is then cooked mainly by flame radiation.
The door must be kept open to provide oxygen for the fire or embers. If the door is closed, the fire is smothered and lets off a lot of smoke, making the food in the oven unfit for consumption.
Keep the fire topped up with small pieces of wood.

This type of cooking is ideal for grilled meat or fish, pizzas and, more generally, any type of food that you want to cook quickly at an intense heat.

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Cooking without flame – closed oven

Once you have heated the oven, remove the embers, clean the hearth with a brass brush then close the door to keep the heat in.
Wait for ten minutes to allow the temperature to even out before putting the food in the oven.
This type of cooking is mainly by convection. The terracotta slowly restores the heat accumulated during the firing process.
N.B. cooking times are shorter in a wood-fired oven than in an electric oven.

  • For bread, simmered dishes (stews, bäkeofe, chicken Basquaise, beef, etc.), gratins, lasagne, stuffed vegetables, cakes, patisserie, etc.
  • For drying fruit, vegetables and herbs
  • For keeping dishes warm or re-heat them
  • For preparing fish, meat and smoked bacon (smokehouse)

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Combining 2 types of cooking

These 2 types of cooking may be combined.
After a few hours of heating, you have over 24 hours of cooking time as a result of the temperature curve, which falls very slowly.
You can enjoy a pizza evening (open oven cooking) and, at the end of the evening, put a stew in the oven that will simmer all night and be ready for lunch the following day (closed oven cooking). You can then put in a gratin dauphinois, leek tart or cake for the evening (closed oven cooking).
You need to have some idea of temperature in order to make a success of this type of cooking. A thermometer would therefore be extremely useful.

If you're using an open oven with the embers inside, it's difficult to have a uniform measurement of the temperature inside the oven, but you'll get an indication of the level of heat.
We do not recommend putting dishes in the oven at temperatures above 350°C.
The higher the temperature, the shorter the cooking time, and vice versa.
At 350°C, a pizza cooks in 1 minute 30 to 2 minutes 30.

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