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The outdoor wood oven industry is quite literally on fire. The global pandemic and desire for healthy eating have seen sales increase drastically. If you are one of the many people who have invested in one, do you know how to get the best finish for the king of foods, the pizza?
If not, we can help. Read on as we discuss how to get the best pizza from your outdoor brick oven.
Back to Basics
The pizza oven is not the key to a great-tasting pizza. Like anything, it is the tool, and the final product will only be as good as what you have put into it. For a great tasting pizza, you need to get the basics right and that starts with the dough.
You can purchase pre-made dough to save time, but it won’t be as good as your own. Creating dough is also much easier and less messy than you think. Choose a fine, high-grade flour for your dough, and don’t rush it.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with the dough either. You can try adding different herbs and flavors or varying the types of salt included in it. When it is ready, always remember to coat your hands in a fine layer of flour to make it easier to handle.
Getting the Right Temperature
To get an authentic temperature, you need the heat level perfect. This is a balancing act. Too low and it won’t cook, yet too high and it will burn on the outside and be raw in the middle.
The oven should be about 450 to 500 degrees celsius. Not only will this make the best pizza but it will also extend the life of your oven. The length of time it will take you to reach this temperature depends on the type of oven and fuel.
A general, outdoor wood-fired oven should be started up a few hours beforehand. If you have tabletop models that use pellets, this will decrease as they fire up quicker. You can see a great range of tabletop and patio solutions at Elite Patio Direct through this link.
Brick structures with metal roofs need a little more adjustment. Start this way in advance, so that the optimum temperature can be maintained if commercial or mass cooking is needed.
Lighting the Oven
Electric and gas ovens are easy to ignite. Wood-fired ones are somewhat of a skill. It may take time and patience at first, but after a while, you will have it mastered.
Start by checking the wind level in the area. Use something as a windshield while lighting if the breeze is too strong. You should also remove any flammable objects from the immediate vicinity.
Through the lighting process, the door and smoke control vent will both need to be open. Doing so ensures adequate oxygen levels can fuel the fire. Begin by placing a ball of kindling in the middle of the oven.
Three or four logs are all you need to get started. Make sure they are dry all the way through. Arrange them in a pyramid shape, propped up against each other above the kindling.
Place another circle of kindling around this and light it. You can blow on it to spread the embers and flames, stoking it up. Once smoke begins rising place a few smaller pieces of wood above the kindling to catch fire.
Keep the door open to allow plenty of oxygen in. You can expect to reach about 360 degrees celsius within the first hour, and you need to maintain the fire after this. Wait for the kindling to turn to ash, place more small logs on and keep stoking until the heat increases.
Turning up the Heat
Laser thermometers are essential items with your pizza oven. You need them to see if you are at the required spot. If not, then add more logs to speed up the process.
Use a poker to spread the heat evenly across the oven. Remember that it is harder to bring a temperature down than build it up. Add logs slowly, one at a time to increase the heat.
When the right temperature is achieved, clear embers to the side and make a space for your pizza paddle. You are now ready to get your food in the oven.
Once your pizza is inside, you cant leave it to cook. By the nature of a pizza oven, the heat is not distributed evenly, meaning you need to rotate it. Thus, your pizza needs to be turned regularly to get an all-over finish and stop certain sides from burning.
A pizza turner is a great tool for this. Often known as a popper, it allows you to rotate the pizza with ease. It is a great investment to add to your tool list.
Lift to the Dome
One final tip before removing the pizza is to lift it to the dome of the oven roof. Heat will be higher here, and it will give a quick char and crisp to the edges of your pizza. Do this once the product is fully cooked and ready to be removed.
Selecting the Best Wood
The type of wood can have a marked influence on the flavor of your pizza. You should always stick with air-dried hardwood. Conifers will contain sap and terpenes which will give your pizza an odd, Christmas tree flavor.
Many people choose to use wood chips and pellets. While they do light easier and reach higher temperatures quicker, they can contain chemicals. Make sure you only buy and use untreated wood pellets for the task.
Outdoor Brick Oven
Of course, there are many things you can cook other than pizza in your outdoor brick oven. Fish, meat, and vegetables can all be given a smoky twist. You just need to experiment with your diet.
If you found this helpful, we have many more. From recipes to kitchen advice, we can help you achieve a healthy, tasty diet in the coming year.