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”.
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.