A Le Panyol oven is quick and economical to heat.
It takes 4 to 8 kg of wood to reach a temperature close to 400°C in approximately 1hr30 of combustion.
The shape of the dome and the size of the opening mean that the air penetrates the lower part of the entrance and circulates naturally to provide perfect combustion while the smoke is evacuated via the upper part and the hood.
The heat is accumulated in the large volume of heat-resistant terracotta and the output is maximized by the shape and thickness of the parts.
Once up to temperature, the Le Panyol oven restores the accumulated heat very slowly by radiation.
Light a series of small fires over the 3 or 4 days to rid the oven of any residual humidity.
In the same way, after a long period without use you may need to light one or two small fires before using the oven to cook.
Using your oven without the right preparation could seriously damage it.
See the video at the end oh the article
Keep the door open while heating the oven.
Light the fire near the oven door to provide the oxygen needed to get it started.
Add the wood gradually, still keeping the door open.
Then gradually push the fire towards the centre and then to the back.
The oven will quickly reach the required temperature.
"Le Panyol" tip: Pyrolysis is complete when the whole inside of the oven has turned white.
At this point the oven has built up enough energy for several hours of cooking.
Once heating is completed, and depending on the type of cooking you want to do, you can either keep the embers at the back of the oven (open hearth cooking) or remove them using an accessory (closed hearth cooking)
Choose a type of wood locally available in your region or country. Any type of wood may be used, but they each have a different output: hornbeam, oak, birch, elm, beech, pine, etc.
Never use treated wood.
More important than the type of wood you use is its humidity level. The heat capacity is inversely proportional to the water content. We recommend using wood with a humidity level of less than 20%.
Wood should be used in the form of small split logs, ideally between 20 and 25 cm long and 3 or 4 cm in diameter to start the fire, then 10 cm in diameter to maintain the temperature.