These steps are crucial for the longevity of the oven, DO NOT rush through it and you will enjoy your oven for a very long time!
Curing is the process by which your oven is gradually and uniformly dried out of the humidity that might have been accumulated in the oven during the building and assembly stages.
During the process of heating up, thermal expansion occurs, and to maintain the same rate of expansion and to prevent structural cracks, the materials need to be as dry as possible.
Small hairline expansion lines are normal and will not affect the performance of your oven, while larger, structural cracks could diminish its efficiency and cause issues down the road, so this is a step you do not want to skip or rush through! While curing fires do not need to occur on consecutive days, best results have been achieved with no more than two days between heat cycles.
The objective of curing a wood burning Subito Cotto pizza oven is to increase the temperature inside the oven gradually (no more than 50 degrees C/hour), avoiding thermal shock. To achieve that, start a small fire in a separate location, such as a charcoal chimney starter, and only place the pan in the oven when the flames have decreased in intensity (you want to avoid a flame touching the dome).
Add coals or small amounts of wood to feed the fire while avoiding large pieces that would generate a large flame, moving the pan inside the oven every 30 minutes or so to ensure the entire floor is heats up evenly.
Once your entire oven has reached 200 degrees Celsius (dome, walls and floor), maintain that temperature for around 2 hours, let the fire go out and allow your oven to return to ambient temperature.
You will need to repeat those steps for every curing fire, with the following temperature targets:
The remaining curing fires can be started directly in the oven, as long as the fires are small and you allow your oven to heat up slowly. If you have purchased an oven with a gas burner you can start using the burner to continue the curing. Continue curing the oven with the following schedule:
Your oven is now cured and you can start cooking!
Your oven will release water during curing, when it does keep the temperature steady until it stops and then resume your curing fires. From the technical standpoint, water will be expelled until the entire oven has reached 350 degrees C. for 3 or 4 times, so it is not unusual to see water even after several fires. As you cure you might see small expansion lines, they are normal, but are exasperated by too much heat too soon, so always bring your oven to temperature gradually.
If your oven was ever to suffer from water infiltration, let it dry completely for at least 7 days, (you can use a small space heater to decrease the humidity) and then cure again. We also recommend a mini curing after prolonged periods of inactivity, and should you be using your oven during the winter months a gentle heating up to prevent thermal shock.
For your continued enjoyment, please follow these simple Do`s and Don`t
READ ALL INSTRUCTION CAREFULLY BEFORE INSTALLING AND USING YOUR SUBITO COTTO OVEN. FAILURE TO FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS MAY RESULT IN PROPERTY DAMAGE, PERSONAL INJURY OR EVEN DEATH