Have you ever wondered how to make pizza in a wood fired pizza oven? We make pizza from scratch quite regularly at home so when we had the opportunity to road test a wood fired pizza oven on a recent gourmet getaway we were very excited.
I have quite often considered buying or making a pizza oven for our home, but a little part of me wondered if it would get enough use. Perhaps making pizza outside would be too much of a nuisance. Or maybe our pizza would burn or be dry… After all, I’m used to having a temperature gauge.
I needn’t have a worried, as you can see by the above image our wood fired pizza’s turned out perfectly.
Food cooked in a wood fire adds so much extra flavour and is much more appealing. I also imaged nights staring into the flames as our food cooked, drinking a glass of wine… it was a very romantic image in my mind.
Our opportunity to use a wood fired pizza oven came during our recent travels. We were “glamping” at the Active Holidays Big 4 in the Hunter Valley. The kids may have noticed the pool first, but it was the camp kitchen was a beautiful stone wood fired pizza oven that sparked my attention. As a bonus, surrounding the camp kitchen was a herb and vegetable garden.
I immediately knew we would be eating pizza for dinner. The Big 4 provided everything necessary to use the pizza oven. When we returned from purchasing the groceries, a big stack of firewood had been left in front of the oven. We also received a crate of kitchen supplies which included 3 pizza pans, pizzas stone, fireproof gloves, a pizza paddle, pizza cutter and instructions for lighting the oven.
Wood Fired Pizza Oven Instructions:
- Light a small fire in the the centre of the oven and wait for the small wood to catch.
- Place the pizza stone in the oven (if using a stone)
- Add larger wood to build the heat in the oven.
- When the flames are licking the sides of the oven and roof, your fire is large enough.
- Maintain the fire at this level for about one hour. This will heat the bricks giving a more even temperature through out the oven.
- When you are ready to cook, push the fire toward the rear of the oven.
- Test the heat by sprinkling a small amount of flour on the area you intend to cook the pizza. If it burns with in a few seconds the area is too hot. Either chose another cooler spot or wait a little longer. If the flour takes about 10 seconds to turn golden you can place the pizza in the oven.
- Slap the pizza paddle on the spot you wish to cook the pizza. This will remove any ash from the area.
- Place the pizza in the oven on the metal tray.
- Close the pizza oven door but keep checking the pizza.
- Once the toppings are melted and the base is a little firm slide the pizza paddle under the pizza base, give the pizza a half turn so that the opposite side is facing the fire.
- Place the pizza back in the oven, this time directly on the pizza stone or floor of the pizza oven.
- Close the pizza oven door.
- Cook until the base is golden and the toppings look good.
- Our pizza only took about 7-10 minutes to cook but this will varying depending on your oven and fire.
When we make pizzas I always make my own dough. At home I have scales and measuring cups but here I had nothing. Thankfully pizza dough is very simple to make “by feel”.
- 3 cups of Flour strong
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- dash oil
- extra water to form dough consistency
I added 2 teaspoons of yeast and one teaspoon of sugar to half a glass of warm water.
Set aside for 10 minutes or until the yeast has activated and is foamy.
Put the flour and salt in a pile on the bench.
Make a well in the middle.
Add the yeast water and oil to the the flour. Slowly add extra warm water as you mix with one hand and add with the other. You will need enough water to fully incorporate the flour.
Once the flour is all incorporated knead it vigorously for five minutes.
Rest the dough covered in a warm spot to rise. it should double in size.
Once doubled kneed the dough again for 1 minute.
Divide the dough into three balls and allow to proof again.
Knock the dough down and roll into circles to fit the pizza pans.
Spray the pans with olive oil and add the pizza base.
Top the pizza with tomato paste and desired toppings.
I utilised the Kitchen garden to collect basil and chilli for my pizza. My favourite pizza toppings always include fresh herbs. I also had a craving for feta so I had pesto and mince pizza with basil and feta cheese.
The children enjoyed a slightly plainer Hawaiian Pizza with the addition of some Brie cheese.
Brett like some Italian meats on his pizza and he also loves chilli so his was a very spicy homemade meat lovers pizza.
All the pizza’s were an overwhelming success. They tasted so much better than an oven baked pizza. The base was perfectly cooked with a crisp golden hue and the flavour from the oven added something really special to taste.