Perhaps the most important aspect of firing a wood-fired oven is the type and condition of the wood. The best types of wood are oak and olive. Olive is used in pizzerias all over Italy and it tends to burn hotter than other woods. Oak is popular because it is easier to find and it also burns very hot and creates nice embers that help maintain temperature. Other types of wood, such as hickory, walnut, and fruitwoods, can also be used. However, whichever wood you use, it must be well seasoned and dry. If you use freshly cut, or green, wood, the fire will not burn as hot and it will create excessive amounts of smoke. The same is true of damp wood. Wood is extremely vulnerable to changes in humidity so simply keeping the wood from getting wet may not be enough. The best way to dry wood properly is to place the pieces inside the oven while firing with the fire on one side and the drying pieces on the other. The heat of the fire will help evaporate any residual humidity in the wood.
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