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Use and Maintenance of Outdoor Oven

Before Purchase:

Have a plan for your oven! Each oven weighs 600 kgs. and requires a solidly-built base. You can use a poured-in-place concrete base, a base made out of CMU blocks, one of Cinders’ brick bases, or anything else you come across – as long as it will bear the weight.
Placement is also key. These ovens + bases must be placed away from combustible materials like your house or fence (check your local bylaws!) and on flat, solid ground. Ideally, if you have somewhere that is covered by an overhang, and could help protect your oven, that would be the place to set it up.
We hope your new oven can become a key part of your backyard set-up. In order to match the rest of your house/yard, you can use natural stone cladding on the exterior of the oven, or leave it white. However, the best way to protect your oven and make it aesthetically-pleasing is to build a brick or block box around the oven and fill it with sand. This will protect it from the elements and ensure it is feeding your family for years to come.

First Use:

Because these ovens are handcrafted, they require a little extra care before cooking in them. We strongly recommend the following three-step process. Failure to follow this process before cooking in your oven will result in structural problems with the oven and a voiding of your warranty. Heating up your oven in stages will prevent the kind of shock to the materials that may cause cracks. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Make a Small Fire
  • Using very small logs or pinecones, and leaving the door and chimney open, build a small fire in your oven
  • Allow the fire to burn for approximately two hours, until wood turns to ashes
  • DO NOT allow temperature to exceed 150 degrees C during this time; please note that your in-oven thermometer is in Celsius, not Fahrenheit
  • Allow oven to cool for minimum of 8 hours
Step 2: Make (Another) Small Fire
  • Follow the instructions in Step 1 again
  • Allow 8 hours of cooling before proceeding to Step 3
Step 3: Make a Large Fire
  • Heat your oven, allowing the temperature to reach 200 degrees Celsius maximum
  • Allow eight hours of cooling after wood has turned to ashes
  • Now you’re ready to cook!

Cooking in Oven:

To cook in your Outdoor Oven, you can use any kind of wood that you have on hand. Here are our general suggestions:
  • Never use treated wood (green-coloured); the chemicals from the wood can make their way into your food
  • If you’re using your oven for smoking, use a flavourful wood like hickory, cedar, or birch
  • For meat, pizza, casseroles, or bread, regular firewood or branches collected from the yard will do
Cut down all wood into small 1.5” diameter pieces (any length is fine), open the chimney flue, and start your fire. We strongly encourage you to use all-natural fire-starters, rather than chemical. Once the fire has caught, close the chimney flue and door and allow the oven to heat up. After the oven has reached optimal temperature for your cooking, you have the choice of pushing the embers to the sides of the oven, to hold the heat longer, or brushing the wood embers out of the oven before your food goes in. The brick inside the oven will turn ash-white once it is ready to cook in.

*All metal on the oven will be very hot once there is a fire burning. DO NOT TOUCH any metal (including door and chimney) without heat-resistant gloves on.
*The maximum temperature for your oven is 250 degrees Celsius. Do not allow the heat to exceed this temperature.

Cleaning:

After cooking in oven, you can remove the embers (if you haven’t already), and let the oven cool naturally. If you need the oven to cool more quickly, you can throw sand into the cooking area to cool down the refractory bricks. DO NOT use water! Water will cool the brick down too quickly and result in cracks.

Cleaning of your oven should only occur once it is fully cooled. Our recommendation would be to use water-only to clean the interior of the oven. Any other debris that is left behind by food will be burned away at the next usage.

Maintenance:

To maintain your oven for years to come, you will need to look after it. If you’ve started by boxing in the oven with brick or block and sand, your oven will be far better protected in the elements.

If you have cladded the oven in stone, or left it the natural white, then you will require a cover. The oven should be covered and not in use. During the winter, remove the snow from the top of the covered oven. Once or twice a season, remove the cover completely to ensure there is no water dripping onto the natural materials.

Once you have seasoned the oven and cooked in it once or twice, you can use the provided white fire-rated caulking to fill in the crack between the grey brick and the stucco.

 

Directions for caulking use:

  1. Cover the brick and stucco with painter’s tape. Leave 3/8” between the two pieces of tape.
  2. Apply the caulking to the crack, leaving a little excess. Once you have applied the caulking, let it rest for 2-3 minutes. Dip your finger into some dishwasher detergent and run along the line of caulking pressing towards the tape. This should leave a smooth line of caulking. Let dry and remove tape. 

Small cracks are normal to experience after repeated use and should be of little concern. However, these can also be patched using a Type N mortar.

We hope you enjoy your Cinders oven for years to come!

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