Nothing beats the flavor and ambience of a pizza cooked in an outdoor wood-fired oven. Pizzas prepared in a wood-fired oven are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, and they have an unbeatable flavor. Let's dive into the technology, design, and advantages of outdoor wood-fired pizza ovens, and show you why they're a must-have for any backyard.
The combination of heat and moisture is what makes cooking pizza in a wood-fired oven so effective. The crisp crust and precisely melted cheese are produced by the oven's high heat, while the moisture from the toppings is kept inside the pizza. In addition, because the heat is distributed more evenly in a wood-fired oven, the pizza cooks consistently on all sides, producing a perfectly cooked pie each and every time.
Should I go with a steel, or brick wood fired oven?
There’s a more in-depth answer here than you might have expected along with a bit of science. Here are a few important things to consider when thinking about purchasing your own outdoor pizza oven. To cook, a brick pizza oven employs thermal mass and stored heat. When the oven's fire is lit, the bricks absorb and retain heat energy, which is then reflected back during cooking. Bricks are ideal for this process because they have a high thermal mass capacity. Once heated, the oven retains heat for an extended period of time, allowing you to cook multiple pizzas or dishes without constantly adding fuel. In contrast, steel pizza ovens have less thermal mass than brick ovens, so they heat up faster but also cool down faster. This can be advantageous if you need to quickly adjust the oven temperature, but it can also be disadvantageous if you need to maintain a consistent heat for an extended period of time (ie. cooking for a large group of people). Steel ovens also require more frequent fueling to maintain the desired temperature than brick ovens.
Steel is the way to go if you want a portable pizza oven and/or favor a more modern design.
As a result of these differences, many steel options are perfect candidates as portable wood fired pizza ovens. They are also more lightweight than brick or stone ovens, making them easier to move and transport. You may not ever want to take it somewhere else, but the portability ensures you can cook anywhere you want on your own property. Metal ovens are also typically less expensive than brick ovens, making them a more affordable option as well.
Steel pizza ovens for the countertop are smaller and made to fit on a table, counter, or bartop surface. They are an excellent option for use on balconies and patios as well as smaller outside areas. These are portable and light, and thus simple to transport from one place to another. For individuals who want to experience wood-fired pizza, but lack the space for a larger permanent oven, they are a fantastic alternative.
Steel pizza oven models that are mounted on a standalone wheeled base typically have a larger cooking surface and are made to be moved around your outdoor space as needed. They are usually bigger and sturdier than countertop ovens, which makes them a great choice for large groups and parties outside. Wheeled base ovens are also easy to move, so they can be used in more than one place or put away when the bad weather hits.
Brick is a good option if you want a permanent backyard oven for entertaining with a rustic aesthetic.
Brick pizza ovens have a classic and rustic appearance that complements outdoor kitchens with a beautiful centerpiece. Additionally, they are customizable and can be painted to complement the surroundings for a polished, built-in appearance. The natural texture and color of the bricks provide an appealing and warm environment that is ideal for cooking and entertaining.
What is the best wood to use in a wood fired pizza oven?
One advantage of cooking with a wood-fired pizza oven is the potential to impart distinctive and tasty nuances to food. Different types of wood provide distinctive odors and flavors, which can enhance the flavor of pizza, bread, and other foods. That being said, only cook with hardwoods. Softwoods such as fir and pine aren't going to make your pizza taste very good and may make you sick.
Hardwoods such as oak, maple, and hickory are dense and slow-burning, making them suitable for prolonged cooking at high temperatures.
They are ideal for cooking pizza due to their delicate smoky flavor. Pine, spruce, and cedar are less dense and more commonly available than hardwoods. They are excellent for starting fires and producing a quick burst of heat, but their resinous flavor may not be ideal in all meals. Fruitwoods, such as apple, cherry, and peach, are renowned for their sweet and fruity aromas and flavors. In addition to being perfect for cooking chicken, game, and pig, they may impart a distinctive flavor to pizza, bread, and other baked foods. (visual breakout)
Apple wood might be the most favored wood of all, for purists and restaurants alike.
Apple wood has a mild, sweet flavor that is perfect for cooking pizza. It doesn't overpower the taste of the pizza toppings, but instead provides a subtle and delicious smoke flavor that enhances the overall taste of the dish. Apple wood burns evenly and provides consistent heat, making it ideal for cooking pizza. The consistent heat allows the crust to cook evenly and the toppings to heat through without burning or drying out. Apple wood is a versatile wood that can be used for cooking a variety of dishes, including pizza, bread, and meat. It can also be used in combination with other woods to create unique flavor profiles.