How to Build a Pizza Oven River Cottage? [Explained]

Are you a pizza lover who wants to take their homemade creations to the next level? Building your own pizza oven might be just what you need.

The River Cottage pizza oven is a great example to follow, producing mouth-watering results that are sure to impress. Lucky for you, there are plenty of resources available to help you build your very own pizza oven and enjoy delicious homemade pizzas whenever you want.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps of building a pizza oven like the one at River Cottage. We’ll start by discussing the materials you’ll need and how to choose the perfect spot for your oven.

Then, we’ll dive into creating a solid foundation for your oven and mixing and applying the essential clay and sand mixture. From there, we’ll move on to building up the base of your pizza oven and preparing it for cooking.

We’ll also provide tips on making homemade dough that’s perfect for cooking in your new oven, as well as advice on how to cook the perfect pizza every time.

By following these steps, you’ll soon be enjoying delicious homemade pizzas straight from your very own River Cottage-inspired pizza oven!

Materials Needed for Your Pizza Oven

You’ll need a variety of materials, including firebricks, sand, clay, and insulation, to create a functional and durable cooking space for your homemade culinary creations.

Firebricks are the best option for creating the base of your oven because they can withstand high temperatures without cracking or breaking.

Sand is used to build the foundation of the oven and provide stability.

Clay is essential for constructing the dome-shaped oven itself as it can retain heat well and evenly distribute it throughout.

Insulation is also necessary to prevent heat from escaping through the walls of your pizza oven. You can use any material that has good insulating properties such as perlite or vermiculite mixed with cement to make a lightweight concrete mix or alternatively you could use ceramic fiber blanket which provides excellent thermal insulation whilst taking up very little space.

Choosing the right spot for your pizza oven is crucial in ensuring its functionality and safety. A flat surface away from buildings or flammable materials is ideal.

The chosen spot should be able to accommodate enough room around the oven so that you can move freely while baking pizzas. It’s important to consider factors such as wind direction, access to woodfuel storage, and ventilation when selecting a location where your pizza oven will thrive.

Choosing the Right Spot for Your Pizza Oven

Picking the perfect location for your new pizza-making hub is crucial, as a survey found that over 70% of oven owners reported using their outdoor cooking space at least once a week. Here are five things to consider when selecting the spot for your pizza oven:

  • Accessibility: Choose a spot that’s easily accessible from your kitchen and dining area.
  • Safety: Keep your oven away from flammable materials like trees, bushes, and wooden structures.
  • Wind direction: Place your oven where the smoke won’t blow into your house or neighbor’s property.
  • Sun exposure: Make sure to choose an area with enough sunlight to keep you warm while cooking in cooler weather.
  • View: Consider placing your oven in a spot with a beautiful view to enhance the overall experience.

Once you’ve chosen the ideal location for your pizza oven, it’s time to create the foundation. The most common method is using bricks or concrete slabs as the base. You can also use stones or cinder blocks. Whichever material you choose, make sure it’s level and stable before building on top of it.

To build a sturdy foundation, dig down about six inches into the ground and fill with gravel or sand. Then lay out your chosen material in a circular shape according to the size of your desired oven base. Once complete, pour concrete over it and let dry for at least 24 hours before moving on to building up the rest of your pizza oven.

Choosing the right spot for your pizza oven sets you up for success and ensures maximum enjoyment while cooking outdoors. With these tips in mind, creating a solid foundation for your new pizza-making hub will be a breeze!

Creating the Foundation for Your Pizza Oven

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect spot for your new outdoor cooking space, it’s time to create a solid foundation using materials like bricks or concrete slabs. This will ensure that your pizza oven is sturdy and long-lasting, able to withstand the weight of the oven itself and the heat it generates.

The type of foundation you choose will depend on various factors such as soil conditions, slope, and accessibility. If you decide to go with a brick foundation, start by digging a shallow trench for the outer perimeter of your base. Then lay down a layer of sand before placing your first course of bricks in a mortar mix made from one part cement and three parts sand.

Make sure each brick is levelled and spaced evenly before adding subsequent courses until you reach your desired height. For concrete slab foundations, simply pour concrete into the area where you want to place your oven.

As you finish creating your foundation for your pizza oven, keep in mind that this is just the beginning of building an amazing outdoor cooking space! Next up: mixing and applying the clay and sand mixture for constructing the actual oven itself.

With careful planning and attention to detail at every step along the way, soon enough you’ll be enjoying homemade pizzas cooked to perfection in no time!

Mixing and Applying the Clay and Sand Mixture

To create a sturdy and long-lasting foundation for your outdoor cooking space, mix together clay and sand in a precise ratio before carefully applying it to your previously constructed base using a trowel. You want to aim for a mixture that’s around 25% clay and 75% sand, as this’ll provide the perfect balance of strength and heat retention.

It’s important to ensure that your mixture is well-mixed and free from lumps before you start applying it. When applying the mixture, use your trowel to spread it out evenly across the surface of your base, making sure there are no gaps or air pockets. You’ll want to apply multiple layers of the clay and sand mixture until you reach a thickness of around 10cm.

Each layer should be left to dry completely before adding the next one – this can take up to a day depending on weather conditions. Once you’ve applied all the layers, leave your foundation to dry fully for at least two days before moving onto building the base of your pizza oven.

During this time, make sure that your foundation is kept moist by spraying it with water regularly – this’ll help prevent cracks from forming as it dries out. With your foundation complete, you’re now ready to start building up towards creating an amazing homemade pizza oven!

Building the Base of Your Pizza Oven

You’re ready to take the next step in creating your outdoor cooking space by constructing a sturdy base for your homemade pizza masterpiece. This is an essential aspect of building a pizza oven because it provides stability and support for the oven itself.

To start, you’ll need to gather supplies such as rubble or railway sleepers, bricks, and mortar.

Here’s how to build the base of your pizza oven:

  1. Lay out the foundation: Begin by clearing an area and leveling the ground where you plan to build your pizza oven. Then, create a foundation using either rubble or railway sleepers. The foundation should be level and sturdy enough to hold up under pressure.
  2. Build the firing base: Once you have laid out your foundation, use bricks to create a firing base on top of it. This will be where you build your fire, so make sure it’s durable enough to withstand high temperatures.
  3. Create an insulation layer: Next, add an insulation layer between the firing base and the clay dome that you’ll construct later on. Use materials like perlite or vermiculite mixed with cement to create this layer.

With these steps complete, you now have a solid foundation upon which to build your pizza oven. The next step is creating the dome of your pizza oven, which we’ll cover in detail in our next section about how to build a pizza oven River Cottage style!

Creating the Dome of Your Pizza Oven

As you move on to creating the dome, envision the shape and size of your outdoor cooking space and consider how it’ll enhance your culinary creations. The dome is essentially the most important part of your pizza oven, as it’s where all the magic happens. A well-built dome should be able to retain heat, circulate smoke, and distribute heat evenly throughout the oven.

To start building the dome, mix together sand and clay in a 3:1 ratio until you get a consistency that’s easy to work with. Begin forming small bricks out of this mixture while keeping in mind that each brick should be roughly two inches thick. Place these bricks side by side around the base of your oven, making sure they’re slightly angled inward toward each other. As you stack more bricks on top of one another, slowly move them closer together until you’re left with a small opening at the top.

Once you’ve created a full dome using this technique, let it dry for at least two days before starting any fires inside. This’ll give the clay enough time to set properly so that it can withstand high temperatures without cracking or breaking apart. In order to speed up this process, try setting up fans or heaters near your oven to increase airflow and reduce humidity levels.

With your dome complete and dried out, now it’s time to move onto letting your pizza oven dry and set for optimal cooking results!

Letting Your Pizza Oven Dry and Set

Once your dome is fully formed and has dried for at least two days, it’s time to let the oven dry and set so that it can reach its full potential – think of it like aging a fine wine or letting a seed grow into a beautiful plant. This step is crucial in ensuring that your pizza oven is sturdy and long-lasting.

Here are three things you need to know about drying and setting your pizza oven:

  • Keep the oven dry: After building the dome, cover it with plastic sheeting or tarps to protect it from rain or moisture. Water can weaken the structure and create cracks, which will affect the performance of your oven. Make sure to remove any debris on top of the dome before covering it.
  • Let it cure: Once covered, leave your pizza oven to dry for one week per inch of thickness. For example, if your walls are 4 inches thick, let them cure for four weeks before removing the cover. This will allow moisture to evaporate slowly from both sides of the wall.
  • Test for readiness: To check if your pizza oven is ready for use, touch different parts of the inside with a bare hand. The surface should feel cool and smooth without any wet spots or crumbly bits. If there are still damp areas, continue drying until they disappear.

By following these steps carefully, you’ll ensure that your pizza oven is strong enough to withstand high temperatures and frequent use.

Now that you’ve allowed enough time for drying and curing, you’re ready to move on to adding a chimney – an essential element in achieving perfect baking results!

Remember that building a pizza oven requires patience and attention to detail – but don’t worry, all your hard work will pay off once you start cooking delicious pizzas right at home!

Adding a Chimney to Your Pizza Oven

Now it’s time to take your pizza cooking to the next level by adding a chimney – this will improve the airflow and heat distribution inside, resulting in even tastier pizzas! A chimney is essential for removing smoke and fumes from the oven. It also creates a draft that helps regulate temperature and prevent hot spots.

To add a chimney, you’ll need to cut a hole in the top of your oven. This is best done when the oven is still wet so that you can shape the clay without cracking it. The size of your chimney will depend on the size of your oven – generally, you want about 10-15% of the surface area of your oven opening as your flue opening. Here’s an example:

Oven DiameterFlue Diameter
36 inches6 inches
48 inches8 inches
60 inches10 inches

Once you’ve cut your hole, you can insert a length of pipe or flue liner into it. Make sure to seal any gaps between the pipe and clay with high-temperature mortar or clay slip. You may also want to install a damper at this point, which will allow you to control airflow through the chimney.

With your chimney installed, you’re one step closer to enjoying delicious wood-fired pizzas right in your own backyard! But first, let’s talk about installing the pizza oven door.

As you move forward with building your pizza oven river cottage style, don’t forget that adding a chimney is crucial for proper ventilation and temperature control. Now that you have this important component installed, it’s time to turn our attention towards installing the door so that we can start cooking up some mouth-watering pies!

Installing the Pizza Oven Door

The final touch to your fiery masterpiece is installing the pizza oven door. Not only does the door provide access to your delicious creations, but it also helps regulate the oven’s heat. Before installation, make sure the oven is completely dry and finished.

To install the door, measure and cut a piece of wood or metal to fit the oven’s opening. Attach hinges to one side of the door and secure them with screws or bolts. Add a handle to the other side for easy opening and closing. Use heat-resistant rope or gasket material for a tight seal around the edges.

With the pizza oven door installed, prepare it for cooking by lighting a small fire and gradually increasing its size over several hours until reaching the optimal baking temperature (around 800°F). Burn off any smoke or odors from new materials before adding food. Clean out any ash or debris with a brush or shovel, and sprinkle flour on top of the cooking surface before placing the dough onto it.

Now, let’s get cooking!

Preparing Your Pizza Oven for Cooking

Get ready to experience the mouth-watering satisfaction of perfectly cooked pizzas by preparing your fiery masterpiece for cooking. Before you start, make sure that your pizza oven has reached its ideal temperature. The optimal temperature for a pizza oven is between 430-480°C (800-900°F). To ensure this, use a thermometer to measure the internal temperature of your oven.

Once you’ve confirmed that your oven has reached its ideal temperature, it’s time to prepare it for cooking. Remove any remaining ash or debris from the firing base using a brush or scraper. This will prevent any unwanted flavors from mixing with the flavors of your pizza.

Next, place a small amount of flour on the firing base and spread it evenly using a broom or brush. This will help prevent your pizza from sticking to the base.

Now that you’ve prepared your pizza oven for cooking, it’s time to move on to making your own pizza dough. Follow our next section where we’ll guide you through an easy-to-follow recipe that’ll give you crispy and delicious crusts every time!

Making Your Own Pizza Dough

You’re in for a treat because we’re about to show you how to make your very own delicious and crispy pizza dough! Making the perfect pizza dough is crucial to achieving that crispy, chewy crust that everyone loves.

To begin, gather your ingredients: bread flour, salt, yeast, water, and olive oil. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl before adding the yeast mixture (made by dissolving active dry yeast in warm water) and olive oil. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic before letting it rest for at least an hour.

Once your dough has rested, divide it into smaller portions depending on how many pizzas you want to make. Roll out each portion of dough on a floured surface until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Adding toppings is where you can get creative! From classic margherita with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves to BBQ chicken with caramelized onions – there are endless possibilities.

Now that your pizza is ready to bake, let’s move on to tips for cooking the perfect pizza.

Tips for Cooking the Perfect Pizza

Now that you’ve mastered making your own pizza dough, it’s time to focus on cooking the perfect pizza in your homemade oven. Here are some tips to ensure that your pizzas come out delicious every time.

Firstly, make sure that your oven is heated up properly before putting in the pizza. This will help ensure a crispy crust and evenly cooked toppings. You should aim for a temperature of around 450-500 degrees Celsius for the best results.

Secondly, use quality ingredients for your toppings. Fresh mozzarella cheese, San Marzano tomatoes, and high-quality olive oil can really take your pizza to the next level. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations of flavors and textures.

Lastly, keep an eye on the pizza while it’s cooking. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the crust and amount of toppings, but generally a pizza should cook for around 10-12 minutes in a wood-fired oven. Rotate the pizza halfway through cooking to ensure even browning.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be creating restaurant-quality pizzas in no time! Now let’s move onto enjoying your delicious homemade creations with family and friends.

Enjoying Your Homemade Pizza Oven Creations

After all your hard work, imagine sitting outside with loved ones, savoring the aroma and taste of piping hot, perfectly cooked pizzas straight from your very own backyard oven. Your homemade pizza oven creations aren’t just delicious but also a source of pride and joy.

To fully enjoy your culinary masterpiece, here are some tips on how to make the most out of your pizza oven:

  • Experiment with different toppings: With your own pizza oven, you have the freedom to experiment with various toppings that may not be available in commercial pizzerias. Try using fresh herbs, vegetables from your garden, or even unconventional ingredients such as fruit or chocolate.
  • Host pizza parties: Share the joy of homemade pizzas by hosting parties for family and friends. Let them customize their own pies and watch as they marvel at the delicious results.
  • Use the residual heat: After cooking pizzas in your oven, there is still residual heat that can be used for other dishes such as roasted vegetables or bread. Take advantage of this heat to maximize the use of your pizza oven.
  • Clean regularly: To maintain the quality of your pizzas and prolong the life of your oven, make sure to clean it regularly. Remove any ashes or debris after each use and deep-clean it periodically.

With these tips in mind, you can fully enjoy the fruits (or rather, pies) of your labor from building a River Cottage-inspired pizza oven. Take pride in knowing that you’ve created something unique and special that can bring joy to yourself and others for years to come.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully built your very own pizza oven like the one at River Cottage. With the right materials, location, and techniques, you can now enjoy delicious homemade pizza anytime you want.

Now that your pizza oven is complete, it’s time to start experimenting with different toppings and flavors for your pizzas. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try new things! And remember, making the perfect pizza takes practice, so don’t give up if your first few attempts aren’t quite as successful as you hoped. Keep refining your technique and soon you’ll be a master of homemade pizza.

In conclusion, building a pizza oven may seem daunting at first but with determination and the right resources, anyone can do it. Not only will you impress friends and family with your culinary skills, but you’ll also have a fun and unique addition to your backyard.

So gather some friends or family members, fire up that oven, and enjoy some delicious homemade pizza together!

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