Congratulations! With a wood-fired pizza oven, you've finally entered the elite ranks of backyard cooks who bring classic, timeless food straight into their own homes. You're absolutely unique, and you're definitely itching to get your hands on your fantastic new oven.
You may, however, be unsure where to begin. No worries; your first excursion into wood-fired cooking can be perplexing, but with these tips and tricks garnered from generations of pizza masters before you, you'll be whipping up excellent wood-fired pizza in no time. This article will show you how to make the ideal pizza in your wood-fired oven.
Prepare your dough
A decent dough is the most important component of a great pizza. There are a variety of options available, including purchasing pre-made dough, but our personal favorite is making your own! It's not as difficult as it appears; the majority of the time spent creating dough is spent waiting for it to rise.
I suggest you using fine bread flour, such as the legendary Caputo 00, for a basic pizza dough recipe that produces a fantastic Neopolitan-style crust that rivals what you'll find in renowned pizzerias throughout the world.
Making your own pizza is half the pleasure, and you can start adding personal touches as soon as you roll out the dough. Try adding herbs, a dash of extra virgin olive oil, or making a focaccia dough version. It's only a matter of time before you're able to achieve your goals.
Once the dough has risen, use your hands, a rolling pin, and some patient love and care to stretch it out into a 12-14" diameter circle. While you're doing this, dust your hands with flour; we'll explain why later.
Add your sauce and toppings
While the dough is the base of a pizza, the toppings are the star of the show. You can stick to the tried-and-true lines of tradition and make a great Margherita, or go out and add toppings like banana peppers, tofu, chicken, jackfruit, avocado, kimchi, or the divisive pineapple.
Pizza sauce is typically made using tomatoes, and a simple mix of crushed tomatoes, olive oil, and sea salt works well. When it comes to sauce, though, there are no restrictions on innovation. Barbecue sauce, alfredo sauce, beet sauce, or even pesto are all excellent pizza toppings.
Spread your ingredients over the top of your finished dough (sauce first, of course!) and arrange them as desired: All of these options are acceptable: pretty shapes, equally dispersed, or flung chaos. After you've finished putting together your ingredient ensemble, it's time to put on the real show!
Now, get it crispy with your pizza oven!
Before you can start cooking, your wood-fired pizza oven will need to preheat, but this time will be far shorter than what you'd anticipate from a typical, in-home oven. To get a fire starting in your oven, start with little bits of kindling and work your way up to medium-sized cut logs.
High heat is essential for a crispy crust and precisely cooked toppings on pizza. This is where purpose-built pizza ovens thrive, as they can sustain much higher temperatures than normal home ovens. A temperature of around 600 degrees Fahrenheit is required for an excellent Margherita.
While the thermometer on most pizza ovens is adequate for determining how hot things are inside, an infrared temperature gun can provide additional piece of mind by providing a snapshot of exactly how hot the inside of a pizza oven is without the lag in precision found in most oven thermometers.
The time it takes to cook your pizza is determined on the internal temperature of your oven, which can range from 10 minutes to 90 seconds! You'll need to put your pizza in the oven once your oven has reached temperature.
The most important factor is all about the peel
Do you remember the flour you used on your pizza dough in the first section? It's at this point when it's crucial. We don't recommend putting a raw pizza in the oven with your bare hands, so a reliable pizza peel will be an excellent addition to your outdoor baking arsenal.
A pizza peel is a flat, wide utensil that aids in the movement of pizza pies. Some pizza peels are better for transferring pizzas from the counter to the oven, while others are better for turning pizzas in the oven while they're cooking.
The finest pizza peel should be large enough to accommodate the pizzas you're making and have a long enough handle to keep your hands safe from the tremendous heat. When baking pizzas, a pizza peel is a must-have equipment, and we normally have several on hand during a pizza party.
You'll need something to keep the dough moving smoothly on the peel because it's a little sticky. Another coating of flour on your pizza peel will prevent your pizza from clinging to the peel, which can have disastrous results owing to its slowed motion, such as pizza on your patio's concrete.
Because using a peel takes a little effort and some hand-eye coordination, we recommend making your peel slightly larger than the pizza itself to allow for some error.
When putting your pizza in the oven, push the peel into the oven carefully, then slide your pizza off the peel quickly forward and backwards. When removing pizza from the oven with a flattened cardboard box or peel, you've probably employed this approach in reverse.
Turn or burn!
Evenly cooked pizza requires some effort, since it must be turned within the oven to ensure that all of the edges receive similar levels of crisping. You'll need to be patient when making pizza that takes a long time to cook. For example, if your pizza cooks unevenly within an oven with the heat on one side, you'll need to use a turning peel to keep your pie rotating.
We're big admirers of pizza poppers/turners due to its superb design and ease of use. With this handy tool, you can rotate your pizza inside the pizza oven on a regular basis until the edges are a uniform golden brown. The consistency of your oven's temperature and the dough you're using can affect how long it takes to make pizza in your oven.
What goes in must come out
You'll need to take your pizza out of the oven once it's baked to a wonderful golden brown crisp. Your peel will be needed once more, this time to slide underneath your pizza and then lift it out of the oven. A steady hand is essential here to avoid an errant pizza deciding it's time to spread its wings and fly.
Here's an illustration of how a pizza peel is used to take the pizza from the oven(start from 1:19):
If you think the chance to add flavor has passed you by, think again. You may add extra creative twists, decoration, and taste to your pizza even after it comes out of the oven. For a boost, try adding crushed or chopped basil, balsamic vinegar, red pepper, or grated parmesan.
After you've applied the finishing touches and let your pizza cool for a minute or two (it'll be hot!) all that's left is for you to slice it up and serve it! Pizza is a fantastic stand-alone lunch, but when served to a larger company, adding a side dish or dessert elevates it to a memorable occasion. What's the best part? In addition to pizza, you may cook a variety of other foods in your oven. Serve your pies with roasted veggies, focaccia bread, or peach cobbler for dessert, all of which are delicious when cooked in an outdoor oven.
Cooking in your own wood-fired oven is a talent that takes time to master, but with a little perseverance and a lot of love, you'll quickly pick up the basics and be well on your way to mastering wood oven pizza.
The Margherita pizza is the world's oldest pizza recipe, with a name that honors Queen Margherita of Savoy and a tradition that dates back to the 1800s. There's a reason it's been around for so long, much like other timeless classics. The tantalizing tastes of marinara, mozzarella, and basil make this pizza a genuine pleasure, and we're thrilled to be able to provide you with video instructions for making pizza Margherita in your own wood-fired oven!
If you have not owned a wood-fired pizza oven yet, but want to get one, you can have a look at our entire selection of wood-fired home pizza ovens.