When cooking with a live fire, your Bella Outdoor Living oven cooks with reflected heat. With reflective heat, flame from a live fire is bounced off the dome onto your food. This reflective heat cooks food, such as pizza, and also recharges the cooking floor, putting heat back into the floor to replace heat that is lost through cooking. Because your Bella Outdoor Living oven breathes, drawing in cold air through the lower half of the oven opening and exhausting hot air out the top half of the opening, it is constantly moving hot, moist air across the top of your food. While modern convection ovens use fans and heat coils to move hot, dry air within the oven, nothing can compare with natural convection. Finally, heat stored in the cooking floor is transferred directly into food that is set on top of it. This is true for bread and pizza, which are set directly on the cooking floor, and for pots and pans set on it. It is this unique cooking ability that lets you make Italian pizza, hearth bread and great roasts in your Bella Outdoor Living oven, and what makes wood-fired cooking unlike any other type of cooking.
The type of wood you burn will depend to a large extent on where you live. The species selection and predominance of medium-hard (such as poplar) or hardwoods (such as oak) vary from the North American west coast to the east coast, and from the south to the north. Avoid burning sappy, oily woods, such as red pine, and never burn laminated woods like plywood, pressure treated woods, or anything that has been painted, chemically treated or glued. The most important rule to follow is that everything you burn must be dry and seasoned. The best woods to burn in your Bella Outdoor Living oven are hardwoods such as oak, maple, ash, beech and birch, or fruit and nut trees, including apple, almond, cherry, pear and pecan. Fruit woods not only burn well, they are also fragrant. Hardwoods weigh almost three times as much as softwoods, like pines, fir, cedar and spruces, so they give off more heat (BTUs). Your wood should be dry and aged for six months to a year so that it will burn well, and produce the heat that your oven needs. If your wood is green, it will burn poorly, and produce a lot of smoke – which can soot up your entry arch.