The only thing better than pizza is pizza you cook yourself in an outdoor oven. You get the chance to try new ingredients and topping combinations, and outdoor pizza ovens cook the beloved food faster and impart even greater flavor. While cooking at high temperatures means tomato paste, cheese, and other toppings burn off the oven, you must take care of your pizza pride and joy between uses.
Properly cleaning an outdoor pizza oven helps it last longer, so you enjoy more divine meals. Arm yourself with the right tools and tips, so you spend less time on cleaning and more time cooking. Grab an ash rake, light source, ash can, fireplace shovel, and an oven brush and see how easy it is to keep enjoying great-tasting pizza.
Clear Out the Ashes
If you used your oven recently, wait at least a day before cleaning it, so it has time to cool completely. Use an ash rake to collect wood and ash remnants into a manageable pile. Wear a headlamp, so you have plenty of light to see inside the oven and collect all the debris. Another benefit of using headlamps for such tasks is you don’t have to hold a headlamp, leaving both your hands free to use the ash rake.
Once you have the ash in a pile, use the rake and a small shovel, such as a fireplace shovel, to remove all the ashes from the oven and dump them into an ashcan. If you grow veggies for your pizza, you can put the ashes in a compost bin and sprinkle them on your plants. If you don’t compost, scatter some ashes around your garden before depositing the debris in an ashbin.
Clean Off Baked-on Debris
While peering inside your pizza oven with a light, you may notice stubborn baked-on debris and food stains on the bottom of the oven. Unlike bothersome food spills and stains in a traditional oven, you only need a quality oven brush to scrape an outdoor pizza oven clean.
Use an oven brush with brass or copper bristles, as other bristles may ruin your oven’s heating surface. You also don’t want to use cleaning chemicals or soap (use that money to buy extra toppings or ingredients, instead).
Once you’re all done, the only thing left is to sweep everything out a final time with an oven brush. If you have an oven door, put it back in place before calling it a day.
What about the oven’s exhaust stacks? This part of cleaning a pizza oven’s best left to experienced professionals who have the proper tools and techniques. Expert chimney sweepers understand the risks of cleaning exhaust stacks, such as the potential for a chimney fire, and how to avoid them. Try to schedule professional exhaust stack cleaning at least once a month, so soot buildup doesn’t ruin the flavor of your pizza.
Cleaning a Gas-Powered Pizza Oven
If you have a gas pizza oven, take out the pizza stone before cleaning it. Wipe down the stone with a damp, soft cloth, then use a brass or copper wire brush to take care of food spills and stains. Before replacing the pizza stone, spray white vinegar over the heating elements and the rest of the inside of the oven. Use the soft cloth to wipe out the inside of the oven.
The right tools make it easy to keep your pizza oven in great condition for years to come. Keep these tips in your back pocket to enjoy better-tasting pizzas baked in a great-looking oven.