If you’ve invested in a pizza oven for your home, then you may be interested in learning how to best utilize it.
We’ve reached out to some experts for their tips so you make the most of that new home pizza oven.
A pizza oven for many may seem like a waste of money, but in fact they are are more energy efficient, and it takes significantly less time to cook up the perfect pie.
They are also very versatile and can be used to cook other foods such as fish, slow cooked meats, shrimp, vegetables and flat bread!
Which Type Of Pizza Oven Do You Want?
If you want a built-in pizza oven, you’ll have lots of decisions to make.
One option is to buy an oven that already has the finished exterior, usually made of stainless steel, and mount it to a cart or build it into an enclosure.
Or, you can purchase just the inside shell made of stone or ceramic.
The second option gives you the freedom to finish the exterior yourself so you can have the aesthetic you want.
For instance, these look great in a brick enclosure, which will give it that old Italian pizza oven look.
Depending on your fuel type, the enclosure can include an area to store wood or a propane tank.
Alternatively, you could go the countertop route, so putting your finished pizza oven on a counter or cart.
This might make more sense if you already have your outdoor kitchen mostly finished and are just adding the pizza oven later.
You’ll have to pay attention to what type of ventilation your oven requires, like if your specific model will have a heat-venting chimney.
A freestanding unit could be a good option for you especially if you don’t think you’ll be using your pizza oven all that often.
It’s very easy to move a cart out of the way when it’s not in use (make sure you cover it!), and you’ll have the flexibility to move a freestanding pizza oven around your outdoor kitchen when it is in use.
If space is an issue, freestanding models on carts come in all different shapes and sizes, as well as a variety of fuel types, so you’ll be sure to find something that will fit your needs and your space.
This is also a much more budget-friendly (and easier) option than a built-in pizza oven.
The last configuration you should consider is a portable pizza oven.
We don’t blame you if you want the flexibility to make yourself some pizza anywhere and not just in your outdoor kitchen.
Think about the possibilities! In addition to the portability, you’ll find this option to be the least expensive configuration.
These ovens are quite compact and usually designed to be very fuel-efficient.
That said, you’re not going to have as much space to cook as much food at once (usually one pizza at a time), but still not a bad trade-off for the portability piece.
As someone who uses a wood-fire pizza oven, one tip I would like to share is to use simple hardwood when cooking your pizza.
Other types of wood like pine or softwood may release toxic chemicals into the air and seep into your pizza.
Also, hardwood tends to give off a more distinct flavor and have 3x more burn time.
The Right Equipment Matters
The Ooni Karu 12 is easily the best portable pizza oven on the market right now.
The Karu 12 reaches very high pizza cooking temperatures in less time than it takes to heat an oven or a bbq grill with a pizza stone and can reach 950F if you want to try your hand at cooking a pizza in about 1 minute!
Weighing in at about 27lbs, the Ooni Karu is highly portable, making it easy to store it away if the weather changes outside.
And easily, my most favorite feature is that it can use for fuel, either charcoal or wood, giving you the option to have an authentic wood-fired pizza experience at home.
One expert tip I can give is to use fresh homemade pizza dough with both a pizza stone and lots of cornmeal for the best-tasting pizzas and cooking experience.
A quality pizza stone can be purchased for about $50.
Pizza stones are great for baking uniformly cooked pizza, as you can quickly get hotspots with a basic pizza pan.
With the pizza stone, you should also use cornmeal to slide the uncooked pizza onto the cornmeal-dusted pizza stone to ensure that the pizza slides right off the stone without sticking when the pizza is done cooking.
The cornmeal also adds great flavor to the crust without any oils or sprays!
Our specific model is a portable wood burning pizza oven.
Our first time trying to light the fire took a while because we were so inexperienced.
We found using a butane lighter to get the fire started was the quickest and easiest way.
Getting The Right Temperature
G a digital infrared thermometer!
The pizza oven has to be at the perfect temperature in order for it to cook well.
And make sure it’s not a human thermometer, you want get a thermometer that will reach high temperatures that will read to 500-550C (930F).
Focus On Pizza Size
The size of pizza cooked in a pizza oven is more critical and less obvious than one would think.
Most pizza ovens will cook directly on a stone or metal pan.
The pizza should be at least 1/2 less than the cooking surface, though 1 is best.
This allows for more stone surface to release moisture, which results in a more crisp crust.
Pushing the pizza out to the edge of the stone will trap more steam. and will make a difference in the final texture of the pizza!
Getting The Pizza In The Oven
The hardest part for a lot of home pizza makers is getting the dough into the oven.
The key to doing this is making sure your pizza peel has been sprinkled with cornmeal, and that the pizza hasn’t been sitting on the peel for too long.
Before you try sliding it into your pizza oven, give it a little shake to make sure it’s not stuck.
In my experience, wooden pizza peels work better than metal ones.
Don’t Forget To Rotate It
For preparing a thin crust and lip-smacking home pizza, it’s important to rotate pizza during baking.
During the cooking time, using a peel will help turn the pizza continuously so it gets brown on all the sides.
A traditional oven has provided air blowing around for uniform baking, but if you have a wood-fired oven, you can only possess one heat source coming out of the flame.
Rotation is mandatory to restrain the pizza from getting burned.
Don’t Spend More Than You Need To
Those looking to simply have a better frozen pizza experience may not find value in a more expensive model.
However, those looking to achieve restaurant-style pies from scratch will need more elaborate ovens.
Understanding what you want from your oven will help you make the best choice for your family.
Our expert contributors:
- Matt Daly, Live In Your Backyard
- Jim Mumford, Jim Cooks Food Good
- Rene Langer, Pick HVAC
- Amy Oztan, Amy Ever After
- John Medina, John Medina Buys Houses
- Lori Bogedin, Twigs Cafe
- Jessica Randhawa, The Forked Spoon
- Mark Wilcox, Camping Forge
- Surinder Multani, BBQ Outlets
- Helena Wilson, Better Home Squad
- Will Elmore, Fruigees