A good oven is often judged by how well it is able to replicate the exquisite flavors produced by traditional pizza ovens and the temperature it can generate.
In these crucial aspects, no oven has come close like the wood-fired pizza oven. One of the hallmarks of this type of oven is the unique savory flavor it produces and the fact that the oven helps in preserving nutrients and ingredients added to the pizza.
A wood-fired pizza oven also offers multiple functionality as it can be used to smoke, bake and grill different types of dishes like pies, lasagna and garlic bread. To get the most out of your wood-fired pizza oven, here are some important tips gathered from world renowned celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to get you started.
Tips when using a Wood-Fired Pizza Oven
⓵ Place your oven on a solid foundation
Your outdoor wood-fired pizza oven should be placed or built a ground that is flat and stable because once your oven is blistering hot you won’t be able to move it. The oven could be placed on concrete or a flat and compact ground surface.
⓶ Check your heat levels
A wood-fired pizza oven typically takes 30 to 90 minutes to reach the right temperature of about 350 degrees depending on the oven type and its efficiency in conserving heat. To guarantee that you start baking your pizza at the right temperature, a thermometer comes in handy. Once you start the fire in the oven, you should add small pieces of wood so that the fire builds gradually to the right temperature as is recommended when suing the Jamie Oliver Dome 60 Leggero pizza oven.
⓷ Use the correct wood
What makes an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven unique is the pleasing charred flavor added by the wood to the base of the pizza. For that matter, seasoned and dried hardwoods such as ash, alder, maple and oak are recommended because of the unparalleled taste and texture they impart to the pizza. Note that the wood has to be properly dried before use otherwise you will end up with less heat and more smoke.
⓸ Get the right tools
You need the right gear to protect you from the intense heat produced by the oven and also the right accessories to clean it. Here are some suggestions:
- When cleaning the oven, experts recommend that you let you oven completely cool down, even until the next day, to ensure that you clean it safely. For the cleaning process you need an oven brush with brass or copper bristles to clean grime and debris left after baking.
- Another important tool is the ash rake which is used for moving around burning wood in the oven when managing the heat distribution.
- You also need a pizza peel with a long handle so you don’t burn your hands when you slide pizzas in and out of the oven.
Some pizza oven models like the Jamie Oliver Pizza Oven Dome 60 and Dome 80 come bundled together with a brass brush and a pizza peel.
⓹ Cook your pizza like a professional
When cooking pizza in a wood-fired pizza oven, there are some basic tips you should keep in mind.
- Once your oven has reached the desired temperature, place the pizza close to the flame without burning it. It takes a bit of practice to find the sweet spot since you have to ensure that the bottom of the pizza is well cooked with the right amount of charring.
- Some wood-fired ovens usually have heat coming from one side, so you want to use a pizza peel to rotate the pizza so that it gets brown on its entire circumference in order to get fully cooked.
⓺ Make use of the ashes
Believe it or not, hardwood ash is rich in potassium, zinc, iron and lime thus making it a very good fertilizer for plants that thrive in non-acidic soil. This makes it a perfect source of nutrients for boosting plant growth in your home garden. Also note that the higher the temperatures in the oven, the less ash will be retained from burning the wood.
Having an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven in your backyard can be a great talking point, and the perfect location to meet up with loved ones and enjoy a wonderful pizza experience together. But what would make these occasions even better is if you had the right knowledge, tools and expertise to make the experience a success. We hope that these tips have shed some light on what you need to be a pizza master in you next wood-fired pizza cookout.
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Author: Vanessa Richards
Vanessa is a mom of 3 lovely children and she enjoys all things related to culinary and gardening.