You might be surprised to learn that a ‘pizza kiln’ is an actual thing. With so many people taking up pottery-making, it can be a great way of doing it on the cheap. In this article, we take a look at the differences between a pizza oven and a kiln. We explore what adjustments will be required for a pizza oven to become a kiln. We also look to see if there are any other alternatives to buying a kiln.
In a climate where every penny counts, we are keen to throw as many ideas as we can into the mix. Keep reading as we combine a love of pizza with a love for all things pottery-related.
It is possible to adapt a pizza oven to use as a kiln. The tricky part comes in being able to keep the heat high enough to fire the pottery. Those using gas will get through a great deal of it. You will also need to be mindful when using it for dual functions of toxins and residue.
What is a Pizza Oven?
Are you sitting questioning why you would use a pizza oven instead of a normal oven? If so, then I’m guessing you’ve never tasted a wood-burnt pizza in your backyard? The taste is much more authentic than your average frozen pizza.
Pizza ovens are designed in such a way that you get a fabulous crispy base, without burning the toppings. They also double the heat potential you would get from a normal kitchen oven so they cook pizzas much quicker too. You can be enjoying them in minutes.
Typically, pizza ovens are wood-fired and usually dome in shape. They may have one or two different heating elements, depending on the model. You can buy gas pizza ovens too but wood is more popular.
What is a Kiln?
A kiln is a type of oven that reaches extreme temperatures and is used for hardening, drying, or making chemical changes. They are used for turning clay into pottery items and you can also make porcelain and jewelry by melting glass in them.
Kilns can be electric or fuel-fed by gas, wood, or oil. Whatever type you have, they all have the same goal of being able to fire clay. Electric kilns are in circulation more readily with pottery makers due to how convenient they are. Some have the potential to set the temperature for the required length of time.
Kilns vary a great deal in size, from small and compact to industrial-sized. They are most commonly made using insulated bricks and the inner chamber is capable of withstanding intense heat. Some kilns can have their core temperature manually controlled, depending on what is being fired.
What Temperatures do Pizza Ovens and Kilns Reach?
On average, pizza ovens reach temperatures between 700℉ and 800℉. Their dome-shaped appearance is important in distributing heat evenly. This means the pizzas will cook evenly, without creating hotspots.
In comparison, wood-fired kilns have the potential to reach a high of 2,845.4℉ as per the Guinness World Record by Zhunan Snake Kiln and Lin Jui-HWA. The more commonly-used temperature, however, sits at between 2124℉ and 2264℉.
Can you Fire Pottery in a Pizza Oven?
Pizza ovens are not designed to reach the high temperatures of kilns. However, certain pottery projects can still be carried out. Bisque firing is often done in pizza ovens. This refers to the first firing of pottery before any glazing is done. The temperature needed for this is between 1600℉ and 1800℉ and this can be achieved without damaging the oven.
However, anything higher than this can damage and even melt, the inside structure of the pizza oven. A final firing needs a temperature of between 2200℉ and 3000℉ and these can be dangerous temperatures for an oven.
Largely, it boils down to the structure of the pizza oven and what it is made from. The final firing is hard work on a pizza oven because it can take days. It also needs constant observation to make sure it isn’t getting too hot, too quickly. With gas ones, you have the problem of getting through a lot in the time firing takes.
Can I Cook A Pizza in my Kiln?
It might not be the most appetizing of ideas, baking in a pottery kiln. However, aside from not sounding great, is it doable? Is it a thing people do? It turns out yes, people do use their kilns to cook pizza and other foods.
Now, obviously in an ideal world, using a kiln purely for food is much more hygienic. The safety aspect must be questioned when people start using one for food and pottery. There will be so many chemicals, dust, and particles that, once heated, can get into the food. We would recommend trying not to mix food with pottery, where possible.
Some creative people have converted their pizza ovens into kilns and vice versa. With a few moderations, you can have a whole new appliance to play with.
What Else Can You Use a Pizza Oven For?
Over the years, there has been the introduction of so many new weird and wonderful kitchen appliances. However, with the cost of living at an all-time high, wouldn’t it be great if our pizza oven had other uses? Well, guess what, it does.
We’ve created a non-exhaustive list of other foods you can cook in your pizza oven:
- Slow-cooked pork
- Jacket Potatoes
- Fresh bread
Has our article got those cogs whirring? Why not make your own pizza oven, you don’t need to spend a heap of money on one. All you need is a vision of what you would like and the materials needed to make it happen. For a step-by-step tutorial on building your pizza oven, take a look at the YouTube tutorial below: