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Wood-fired ovens, also known as wood ovens, are ovens that use wood fuel for cooking. There are two types of wood-fired ovens: "black ovens" and "white ovens". Black ovens are heated by burning wood in a chamber. Food is cooked in that same chamber while the fire is still going, or in the heated chamber after the fire and coals have been swept out. White ovens are heated by heat transfer from a separate combustion chamber and flue-gas path. Thus, the oven remains "white", or clean from ash. While the traditional wood-fired oven is a masonry oven, such ovens can also be built out of adobe, cob or cast iron.
Wood-fired ovens are distinct from wood-fired stoves that have a hot cooking surface for pots and pans, like on a gas or electric stove. A wood stove may also have an oven separate from the fire chamber. Regardless of material they all have an oven chamber consisting of a floor (or hearth), a dome and an entry (oven opening).
Unlike modern household gas or electric ovens that provide a nearly constant cooking temperature, a black oven is typically heated only once during the firing stage (the combustion of wood inside the chamber). After the coals are raked out, the oven gradually cools over a period of hours or even days (in the case of a well-insulated oven). Oven temperatures may exceed 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (538 degrees Celsius). The mass of the oven acts as a 'thermal battery', which slowly releases heat over time. The retained heat in the oven may be used to bake multiple batches. Alternatively, foods requiring different temperatures can be cooked in succession as the temperature of the oven drops.
Similar models of wood-fired oven available today can be traced back to Ancient Greece. Staple cuisine of the Ancient Greeks included cereals for making bread, fruit, fish and meat. They built ovens in different dimensions according to what sort of bread they were baking.
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