Pizza Ovens: What You Need to Know
Pizza is a staple food in many American homes. It’s nice and easy to order takeout pizza, but if you want to experiment with different toppings, or you have special dietary needs and the local pizza shop doesn’t make a gluten-free base, you may be considering investing in a wood fired pizza oven or similar. If so, here’s what you need to know before handing over any cash.
Different Types of Pizza Oven
There are several different types of pizza oven for pizza chefs.
Brick and clay pizza ovens are becoming increasingly popular, as they can be installed in a back yard without any fuss. You don’t even need a building for the oven – a stone slab or base will provide sufficient support. A small brick and clay oven is large enough to cook enough pies for a family gathering. Look for insulated ovens, as these hold in the heath longer. Lastly, be aware that this type of pizza oven is very heavy, so once it’s in situ it won’t be going anywhere.
Steel pizza ovens are also very popular with outdoor chefs. The advantage of a steel pizza oven is that it takes very little time to heat up whereas a clay oven can take an hour or more to get hot enough to cook pizza. Steel pizza ovens are also portable, so they can be moved around to suit the weather and put away over winter when you don’t want to be cooking pizza outdoors.
The Cost of Purchasing a Pizza Oven
Pizza ovens can be expensive, so unless you seriously love pizza and plan on cooking fresh pizza outdoors as often as possible, it probably isn’t worth upgrading from a conventional pizza tray for the oven indoors, to a wood fired pizza oven. However, if you do like to cook and you love to entertain, an outdoor wood fired pizza oven made from steel is a great investment.
The Benefits of Cooking in a Wood Fired Stove
The advantage of using a clay and brick or steel oven to cook pizza in is that the majority of them use wood as fuel. Take a trip to any traditional pizza shop and you will find their ovens are wood fired. Cooking pizza in a wood fired oven produces a fantastic, earthy flavor. Wood fired ovens also cook pizza crust faster, so it only takes around two minutes to produce a crispy thin-crust pizza just like momma used to bake.
You are not restricted to cooking pizza if you own a wood fired oven. Anything you can cook in a conventional oven in the kitchen can be cooked in a pizza oven, including lasagna, meat, and side dishes as an aperitif to your home cooked pizzas.
If you do decide to invest in wood fired pizza oven, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Chimneys and ducts need to be kept clean and free from creosote, or there will be fire risk. The type of fuel you use also has an effect, as soft woods contain more sap and therefore produce more creosote.