Pizza can be cooked in two ways: in an electric or gas oven and in a wood-fire, outdoor oven. While pizza is always a tasty meal, pizza baked in a wood-fire oven is far superior because it is cooked better and slightly charred giving it ample flavour.
Cooking a pizza in an outdoor oven is not a common culinary practice to most. To make the cooking process less daunting, find below a step by step cooking process for outdoor oven cooked pizza along with some tips.
1. What You Need to Start Cooking
Before you start, you should make sure you are prepared to ensure the best possible outcome. You will need dry wood, a thermometer, pizza peels (the big spatula with a long handle), protective gloves and the ingredients to make the pizza..
2. Prepare the Pizza
The best part about making pizza is deciding what toppings you are going to use. Let your inner chef free and explore your creativity with cooking!
Some beginner ideas for pizza toppings are pesto sauce and mozzarella or tomato sauce, buffalo-milk mozzarella and basil. You could also try making a calzone by folding the pizza in half.
If you are making the dough from scratch, note that it takes about 3 hours to prepare mainly due to the dough rising time.
3. Heat the Oven
To heat the oven, build a fire in the center of the oven floor and wait for the temperature to rise to approximately 350 degrees celcius. Make sure to use sticks and logs in the fire to create embers which are extremely hot and best for cooking pizza.
When the oven is hot enough, push the fire and embers to the side to make room for the pizza. Make sure to brush the ash from the oven floor to avoid getting it mixed with the pizza dough.
Heating an outdoor pizza oven can take anywhere from an hour and half to three hours. The duration will depend on the oven, brick ovens take much longer to heat than modern ovens made with heat resistant material.
4. Cook the Pizza
Make sure to prep the pizza with lots of flour on the bottom and edges. The flour will prevent the dough from sticking in the oven. To add some additional flavour, sprinkle olive oil and coarse salt on the pizza before cooking it. When putting the pizza in the oven, shimmy it off the pizza peel to transfer it flatly.
The pizza crust will puff immediately due to the heat of the oven. After about a minute, rotate the pizza to ensure it is cooked evenly. If you sense the oven getting too hot and burning your pizza, you can use the pizza peel to shield some of the heat from the fire.
A pizza cooks much faster in an outdoor pizza oven than an electric or gas oven. You will know the pizza is done cooking when the crust is browned, the cheese is melted and the other toppings are bubbling.
5. Serve the Pizza
The best part about making pizza is eating it! Once the pizza has been removed from the oven, slice it and serve immediately.
6. Final Tips
Avoid glass or plastic for the cookware or dishware, they can be dangerous near a fire if they cannot sustain the heat. Do not use damp wood as it will make your oven difficult to light, smokey and cause hissing and crackling.
Most of the residue from cooking will be burnt off, however, you will need to clean off the excess ash as needed. This can be done by using a damp cloth or mop to clean the excess ash.