The internal height of a pizza oven dome is topic widely and passionately discussed. Too high, and you can’t make great Pizza Napoletana. A hemisphere shape won’t reflect heat onto your pizza as efficiently as an elliptical dome, where two focal point focus heat on the oven floor. Too low, and your oven will be inefficient at holding heat. If it’s really too low, the oven opening will be so low you can’t even bake a turkey or a chicken.

If your dome is a low ellipse set on top of a steep, perhaps 90% wall (or soldier course brick), the outward thrust of the dome will push the oven walls outward, making the dome susceptible to cracking or even collapsing. In fact, some of the authentic Naples ovens have metal bands holding the soldier course in place, or a metal disk that holds the dome in place and keeps it from expanding outward, as it sits on the soldier course.

Personally, I don’t like hemispherical domes. They are the standard for brick ovens, because building a lower dome is basically very difficult. To build a hemispherical dome (18″ high for a 36″ wide oven, or 18″ radius), you simply build an 18″ trammel as a build and just build upward. I don’t like the shape visually, and I think a relatively serious pizza chef will be able to tell the difference between an aggressive, low dome and a lazy hemispherical high dome.

I also strong recommend against going crazy with a low dome design. While it will be incrementally better at making pizza than an moderately low dome, the trade-offs with heat retention, how high your oven opening can be, and whether you can bake tall items, like turkeys, chickens and upright chickens are just too much. You’ll regret not being able to do those things.

That’s why our Duomo ovens have a moderate, but not extreme low dome. I think it hits the sweet spot of incredible pizza making combined with excellent performance in the other types of cooking.

What’s moderate low dome?

Our Duomo36 cast in place pizza oven kit has a 15″ dome height. That’s 83% of the radius. Excellent.