What Wood to Use in a Wood-Fired Pizza Oven

If you’re a pizza enthusiast, you know that nothing beats the delicious, smoky flavour of a pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven. The choice of wood for your pizza oven is crucial in achieving that perfect crust and flavour. In this article, we will delve into the world of wood-fired pizza ovens Sydney and explore the best types of wood to use for that authentic and mouthwatering pizza experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • The choice of wood for your wood-fired pizza oven significantly impacts the flavour and quality of your pizzas.
  • Hardwoods like oak, maple, and hickory are preferable over softwoods due to their clean-burning and consistent heat properties.
  • Oak provides a mild, smoky flavour, maple adds a subtle sweetness, and hickory offers a robust smokiness to your pizzas.
  • Softwoods such as pine and cedar should be avoided due to their high resin content, which can create unpleasant flavours.
  • Properly seasoning wood by drying it for at least six months is essential for clean and efficient burning.
  • Experimenting with fruitwoods like apple, cherry, and peach can introduce unique and delightful flavours to your pizzas.
  • Mixing different wood types allows you to customise the flavour profile of your pizzas.
  • Sourcing quality firewood from reputable suppliers is crucial for optimal results.
  • Storing wood off the ground, covered from rain, and with proper air circulation ensures it stays dry.
  • Preparing wood by splitting it into smaller pieces facilitates quicker ignition and better fire control.
  • Finding the right wood-to-pizza ratio is key to achieving the desired crust texture.
  • Lighting your wood-fired oven with kindling and maintaining a temperature of around 700°F (370°C) ensures even cooking.
  • The type and quality of wood can influence your pizza’s cooking time, so experimentation is valuable.

Understanding the Importance of Wood Selection

The type of wood you use in your wood-fired pizza oven can significantly impact the taste, texture, and overall quality of your pizzas. The combustion of wood produces smoke, and this smoke carries flavourful compounds that infuse your pizza with a distinctive taste. Therefore, selecting the right wood is essential to enhance your pizza experience.

Hardwood vs. Softwood: Which Is Better?

When it comes to wood for pizza ovens, hardwoods are the preferred choice. Hardwoods are denser and contain fewer resins, making them burn hotter and cleaner than softwoods. This results in a more consistent and controlled cooking temperature, ideal for achieving that perfect crust.

Popular Hardwoods for Wood-Fired Pizza Ovens


Oak is a classic choice for pizza ovens due to its dense and slow-burning nature. It imparts a mild, smoky flavour to your pizza and provides a stable and long-lasting heat source.


Maple wood is known for its sweet aroma and is an excellent option for adding a subtle sweetness to your pizza. It burns evenly, creating a uniform cooking environment.


Hickory wood is famous for its strong, bold flavour, making it perfect for those who prefer a robust smokiness in their pizza. It’s essential to use hickory sparingly to avoid overpowering the other flavours.

Softwoods to Avoid

While softwoods like pine and cedar may be readily available, they are best avoided for pizza ovens. These woods contain high resin content, which can produce unpleasant flavours and even create creosote buildup in your oven.

The Art of Seasoning Wood

Seasoning wood is the process of drying it out properly. Well-seasoned wood burns cleaner, produces less smoke, and generates a more consistent heat. It’s crucial to store your wood in a dry, well-ventilated area for at least six months before use.

Alternative Options: Fruitwoods

Fruitwoods, such as apple, cherry, and peach, offer a unique twist to your pizza’s flavour profile. They infuse a mild, fruity essence into your pizza, creating a delightful and aromatic experience.

Mixing Wood Types for Unique flavours

Experimentation is key to discovering your perfect wood combination. Mixing different hardwoods or adding a touch of fruitwood can lead to a customized flavour that suits your palate.

Where to Source Quality Firewood

To ensure the best results, source your firewood from reputable suppliers. Look for well-dried, hardwood logs that are free from chemicals or contaminants.

Tips for Storing Wood

Proper wood storage involves keeping it off the ground, covered from rain, and allowing air circulation. This ensures your wood remains dry and ready for your next pizza night.

Preparing Wood for Your Pizza Oven

Before placing wood in your oven, split it into smaller pieces for quicker ignition. Smaller logs also allow for better control of the fire’s intensity.

Achieving the Ideal Wood-to-Pizza Ratio

Finding the right balance between the amount of wood and the size of your pizza is essential. Too much wood can result in a scorched crust, while too little may leave your pizza undercooked.

Lighting Your Wood-Fired Oven

Light your oven with kindling and let it burn until you have a bed of hot coals. Then, add larger wood pieces gradually to maintain the desired temperature.

Maintaining the Right Temperature

Wood-fired ovens can reach extremely high temperatures. To cook the perfect pizza, aim for a temperature of around 700°F (370°C). This ensures a quick and even cooking process.

The Impact of Wood on Cooking Time

The type and quality of wood you use can influence your pizza’s cooking time. Experimentation will help you determine the optimal wood-to-pizza ratio for your desired cooking duration.


In the world of wood-fired pizza ovens, the choice of wood is the secret ingredient that can take your pizzas from good to extraordinary. By selecting the right wood type, seasoning it properly, and mastering the art of wood-fired cooking, you can create mouthwatering pizzas that will leave your guests craving for more.


  1. Can I use any type of wood in a wood-fired pizza oven?
    It’s best to use hardwoods like oak, maple, or hickory for the best results. Avoid softwoods due to their high resin content.
  2. How long should I season my wood before using it in the pizza oven?
    Ideally, you should season your wood for at least six months to ensure it burns cleanly and efficiently.
  3. Can I mix different types of wood for a unique flavour?
    Yes, experimenting with wood combinations is encouraged to discover your preferred flavour profile.
  4. What’s the ideal temperature for a wood-fired pizza oven?
    Aim for around 700°F (370°C) to achieve the perfect wood-fired pizza crust.
  5. Where can I find quality firewood for my pizza oven?
    Look for reputable firewood suppliers who offer well-dried hardwood logs free from chemicals.

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