Did you just get a new wood-fired pizza oven and are now wondering how to bake the best pizzas at home? Well, you have come to the right place. This guide will help prepare the yummiest pizza with your outdoor pizza oven.Starting up with wood-fired ovens might leave you scratching your head. At first, you’ll experience average results but if you follow the tips we’ve mentioned below, you’ll become an expert pizza-making chef in no time.
Before we get into the technicalities of starting a wood-fired oven, let’s start with the pizza prep itself.
Arguably the most important part of the pizza-making process is properly forming the base of the pizza i.e. its dough. To make a pizza taste like heaven you need to make sure that you prepare well-made dough. If you want to skip this part, you can always buy pre-made dough. But creating your fresh dough helps make the pizza soft and enhances the flavour of the crust. Plus, it’s more fun that way.
Once you are done making the dough you can use it to create differently styled pizzas and add personal twists to your recipe. For instance, many people like to spread different herbs on pizza dough for additional taste. You can even add different kinds of oil for enhancement of taste. The rest of the pizza-making is about adding toppings and sauce as per your own choice.
Toppings allow you to get creative. You can try diverse ones such as avocado, prawns, beef, chicken, tofu, and banana peppers. The sauce is typically made of tomatoes, but there’s no restriction on creativity here as well. You can try alfredo sauce, barbecue sauce, and more. Toss the sauce and other ingredients on the top of the dough and spread them evenly throughout before moving onto the next step.
Now when we are supposed to put the pizza inside the oven the actual technical part begins. The basic goal of using an outdoor oven is to prepare an equal amount of temperature around the pizza while it’s baking. To create even heat around the pizza you must preheat the oven.
But first, let’s learn about the three kinds of heat that the oven uses.
- Conductive heat: The conductive heat comes from the base and it is transferred with the help of fire bricks.
- Radiant Heat: It is the type of heat which is present in the refractory Dome.
- Convection heat: This heat is a combination of three types of heat. It forms when the fire, the chimney drawing action, and fresh air combine.
For heating your oven, you must go through the igniting step.
Lighting your oven
Since you are using a wood-fired oven you are supposed to use good quality wood. Dry and seasoned wood gives the best kind of result while making pizza. Never use wood that has glue, paint, or any kind of chemical lathered on it. Many of the experts suggest that using softwood can be a good option as it burns fast. Softwoods are also very easy to light. But after ignition, you can use the hardwood because they can keep burning throughout the process. Hardwood burns slower and produces denser heat. We also suggest you use kindling wood to ignite a fire. The average size of commonly found kindling wood is 200mm to 300mm. Using a small log can also be a good idea as they allow you to be carefree after lighting them once.
Getting the pizza crispy
The trick to achieving this is to ignite a blaze by utilizing tiny pieces of kindly, then turning to medium-sized logs. High heat is the secret to getting fully cooked ingredients and a crispy base. We’re talking about 600 to 620 Fahrenheit for a good Margherita. The time it takes to finish cooking depends on the internal temperature of your unit, but it can take anywhere between three to ten minutes.
Using Pizza Peel
Rather than putting the raw pizza into the wood-fire oven, a smart pizza maker uses a pizza peel. It pays to be smart. If you’re unsure of what a pizza peel is, it’s a wide, flat tool that helps to move the unfinished pizza around. Some pizza peel models even help turn the pizza after you’ve put it in the oven. When looking for one, make sure to consider the length of the handle as you’d need to keep your hands away from the heat. And after buying one, make sure to sprinkle a small quantity of flour on it to keep the dough clinging from the peel (it would also help you avoid making a mess). Just make sure the peel is a bit larger than pizzas you plan to make.
How to Care for Your Wood-Fire Pizza Oven
When working with a wood-fired pizza oven you must make sure that the base does not get wet. When the oven is not in use make sure that you keep the cap of the flue and the door closed. High temperature inside the oven can clean the oven itself as the heat melts down the grease and burns any bacteria or bugs inside.
Reduce the amount of smoke in a chimney
Most of the average quality woods produce high amounts of smoke. Using good quality wood can eliminate or reduce the excessive amount of smoke coming out from your chimney. Other factors like burning Greenwood or wet wood can also produce extra smoke. You can avail good quality smoke if you use seasoned wood that has been dried for about 6 to 12 months.
To avoid extra expenses of buying wood some people try to burn trash such as rubber, charcoal, plastic, among other things. Avoid doing this as it can be very threatening for your health and the environment since these materials evolve toxic fumes.
Judge the flame height
Most people think that the heat radiating around the oven does not matter as much as the flame does. This concept is incorrect as it will cause burning of the pizza from the base while the top remains uncooked. Having an average-sized flame will give an equal overall temperature to the oven. You can learn about flame heights by adjusting the oven at different flame heights every time you cook. Once you find out the perfect flame height keep that in mind for pizza-making later.
Consistent wood kind
Having the same size and same species of the wood with the same moisture content will provide you with a quality maintenance factor. If you bring different types of wood every time you will end up adjusting the temperature for too long.
These are the few factors that you must take care of when you are working with a wood-fired pizza oven.
Best Wood-Fire Pizza Ovens to Buy
In case you still haven’t gotten your hands on the best wood-fired pizza oven, then you can try one of the products that we have listed below.
This wood-fired oven by Harbor Gardens is made with stone and has a stainless enamel-coated steel body. It is available in black colour and the product dimensions are 61.2 5h x 23.5 w x 16.5 l. It is made very durable and sturdy with solid weld construction. The Dome is made with Stainless Steel material. It comes with the temperature gauge which helps you control the heat while cooking your pizza.
This outdoor wood-fired oven by Cuore is the best option because of its modular assembly. It is made with good quality material which ensures an equally high amount of temperature throughout the oven. It has a 36-inch cooking diameter. Installing this wood-fired oven is very easy as it comes with a step-by-step instruction guide. You can even ask for professional help with the installation from the manufacturer.
This wood-fired pizza oven by The Green Mountain is made with very durable and sturdy materials. It is available in silver colour because of its metallic body. This product weighs around 15.12 pounds and its dimensions are 13.2 x 12.6 x 8.2 inches. With this wood-fired pizza oven, you can cook 8 inches restaurant-style pizza within a few minutes.
This pizza oven comes with multiple fuel options; it can be fired with charcoal and bird, or have a gas attachment. This oven allows a temperature rise to 930 degrees Fahrenheit. It has dimensions of 12.5 inches wide X 13.5 inches deep which allows cooking for better taste and baking. The oven is made with stainless steel and has a very durable body. So it’s unlikely to experience wear and tear early.
On your first attempt at making pizza in a wood-fired oven, you may not get the desired result. However, trial and help will help you learn and get better results. Cooking at different temperatures takes practice – though the effort brings a good ROI when you finally make and take a bite of that crispy, delicious pizza.