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Seasoned or Kiln-Dried?

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  • Seasoned or Kiln-Dried?

    Simple question (sorry) - which may not apply to the western US where the climate is constant.

    Here in the UK, where the humidity is very changeable, seasoned wood may not necessarily be dry (unless covered). It's possible to buy kiln-dried wood of course, but does the seasoning process have any effect on the aromatic properties?

    If I have the choice of seasoned or kiln-dried, would the kiln-dried be inferior for cooking, somehow?

    Anyone cooked on sycamore? Any good?

  • #2
    Dry wood burns hotter and faster than wet wood, and hot is good for firing your oven quickly. Hardwoods give you more BTU's per weight/volume and burn hotter, so are more efficient than softwoods. I have a lot of pine so I may try splitting some of that-- it's free.

    Around here kiln dried wood is so expensive I can't imagine who buys it-- $500 for a half cord. I keep my wood outside under cover and find that it is ready to use after two full years from splitting with good air circulation around the pile. A lot of wood guys create mountains of split wood with no air circulation and call it seasoned just because it has been stored a while. I prefer to buy fresh-split wood and season it myself, it's a lot cheaper. A moisture meter is your friend if you're not sure, or you can weigh and mark a couple pieces, they are dry when they stop losing weight. Of course if you split smaller or cut the wood shorter it will dry faster.

    Unlike in a smoker I doubt that the wood has much effect on the taste of a pizza. It's only in there for two minutes, after all.
    My build thread:


    • #3

      When you have a fire in your oven at 350 to 400c there won't be any aromas coming from the wood you use.
      Wood will season even if it gets wet from rain, the water will not penetrate to much, if you split your wood to a useable size and stack it in an airy place it will cure in time the optimal moisture content is about 18%
      If the wood is green when you split it it will dry about an inch per year, so look for wood that has been dead for a good while

      Cheers Doug


      • #4
        Thanks guys for replies.

        Today, I just happened to walk past my local B&M Bargains (a UK discount store found in retail parks) and they had bags (I'd estimate 15kg) of kiln-dried birch split logs for £4 a bag! So I bought 6 bags, and I shall report back soon as to how good they actually are.

        The bag specifically mentions pizza oven use as one of the suitable applications. This is reassuring, as I've been using silver birch logs for a while now and find them to work pretty well.

        I've found alder to be the best, but that is rare.



        Update: Great-performing logs - mildly aromatic with high heat output. Very good value, but they lack the slow, lazy flames that you get with some woods.
        Last edited by cleverdick; 05-15-2019, 05:25 PM.