You may think you have to go to a elegant bistro (and pay fancy pizzeria prices) to get the distinct and beautiful taste of wood-fired pizza. Think again.
Pizza ovens are for everyone. And having a pizza oven in your backyard may make you wonder Why didn’t I do this sooner?
How do wood-fired ovens work?
The wood-fired method of cooking may seem archaic. Well, it is. The use of brick and clay ovens dates back to Ancient Greece and Rome. They’ve been used to cook a variety of foods ever since, from baked bread to dried fruit.
Wood-fired ovens remain a favorite for their efficiency and versatility. In the popular Neopolitan dome oven, wood is used as fuel to heat the oven, not a direct cooking source.
Burning wood heats the surrounding brick or clay, causing it to absorb and then radiate heat inside the oven. “Firing” a pizza oven can take a few hours but the process causes the oven to reach and maintain high temperatures for several hours, slowly losing heat for the next few hours or even days.
Temperatures around 905°F are needed to achieve the Neopolitan style pizza we all know and love. As the oven begins to gradually lose heat, it becomes the ideal place to do other types of cooking, roasting, and baking.
A wood-fired pizza oven is a perfect addition to any backyard because it:
1. Feeds a crowd
Though pizza ovens vary in size, the standard dome oven diameter for a large family is just 42 inches or 3.5 feet. Despite its size, a properly fired brick oven can cook a pizza in about 90 seconds. Even if you can only fit one or two at a time, each pizza is ready in short order. Feeding a village is quick and easy.
2. Opens cuisine possibilities
As the oven begins to gradually lose heat during one firing cycle, the cooking doesn’t have to stop.
As ideal temperatures are reached in sequence, you can roast, grill, and bake a variety of different foods.
High Heat 752°F-905°F (400°C-485°C): Pizza, certain loaves of bread, appetizers
Roasting 392°F-572°F (200°C-300°C): Roasted fish, beef, pork, poultry, vegetables
Grilling/BBQ 572°F (300°C): Grilled beef, pork, poultry
Baking 320°F-392°F (160°C-200°C): Baked desserts, cakes, vegetables, some breads
Bread Baking 212°F-356°F (100°C-180°C): Baguettes, focacia, ciabata, etc.
Though cooking or baking in a wood-fired oven takes some experimentation, there are plenty of online resources to help with times and temperatures.
3. Adds architectural Interest
Wood-fired ovens offer their own distinct old world charm. They are a great addition to any outdoor space for their functionality and feng shui.
Wood-fired ovens can be added as part of an outdoor kitchen, fire element, or patio. Custom ovens have endless design possibilities to complement your existing aesthetic.
4. Gets you outdoors in the winter
Though chestnuts roasting by an open fire sounds great, a wood-fired stove gives you a reason to get outdoors in the winter. Having a second cooking space is helpful during busy holidays when space in the kitchen is limited.
A wood-fired oven also acts as a heating and lighting source during colder months. Cooks and their guests can be comfortable spending time outdoors by the glow (and the smells) of their impending meal.
5. Better than delivery, every time
Many who regularly use a wood-fired oven regularly express how difficult it is to recreate the superior taste and texture of brick-oven food using a convection oven.
Those who love cooking for friends and family will find that the care, time, and community that comes from using a wood-fired oven is better than getting take out, every time.