Choosing a Wood Fired Pizza Oven
You may have noticed a surge in the popularity in wood fired pizza ovens over the past couple of years. Gone are the days where a wood fired pizza ovens were only found in fancy restaurants or in nonnas backyard. Today more and more people are looking at more affordable, portable and more convenient options to getting that mouth-watering wood fired favour.
In this blog post, I'm going to go through the pros and cons of buying a traditional clay/brick pizza oven compared to a stainless steel wood fired pizza oven. Click here to get a copy of the full checklist
A Stainless steel wood fired pizza oven comes on a trolley with wheels so it can be moved around the backyard or even taken with you when you move house.
A wood fired pizza oven made out of clay or brick generally weighs more than 500+kgs is immovable. Careful planning is required before installing a clay wood fired pizza oven to ensure you have erected it in the most appropriate location in your backyard that won't be redesigned anytime soon. Unfortunately most attempts to move or relocate a clay wood fired pizza oven will result in the oven cracking or even becoming unusable.
A stainless steel wood fired pizza oven can be assembled in less than 20 minutes and can be used immediately after assembly. There is no need to cure or burn the oven in prior to use. It reaches temperatures of 450 degrees Celsius in approximately 45 minutes and has a rear ash drawer to assist in easy cleaning.
Unless you buy a ready-made one, a clay wood fired pizza oven is often a DIY task which spans over a number of weeks. That said, it does give you the flexibility to make it whatever style or size you want as nothing is already predetermined. Preparing and cooking in a clay wood fired pizza oven takes a bit more planning than cooking in a stainless steel oven. Clay ovens are subject to cracking if they aren't cured correctly. Curing involves burning several fires in the oven over a period of 5-7 days gradually increasing the temperature of the fire. Failure to correctly cure a clay oven will result in the clay cracking. You'll also find that heating up your oven prior to cooking is a 3-4 hour process. That said, clay ovens will tend to hold their heat better than their stainless steel counter-parts. Although the stainless steel ovens are fully insulated, they cannot retain their temperature for as long as the clay ovens. While there are a number of variables which will impact on heat retention, the wood used for example, stainless steel wood ovens will generally hold their heat for 2 hours compared to 4 hours + for a clay oven. Additional wood can be added at any time in either oven to help increase or maintain desired temperatures.
Stainless steel wood fired pizza ovens cost around $1200 for a ready-made one, 90% assembled.
The price of clay ovens vary dramatically due to the different sizes, styles etc. Most will be around the $3,000-$5,000 mark, however it is common for them to cost around $10,000 for really large and ornate ones. You might be able to pick up a DIY option for under $2000, bearing in mind that you'll be stuck doing all the work
In my opinion, the taste you get out of a stainless steel wood fired pizza oven compared to a clay oven is the same. Both give a great wood fired flavour and I haven't found that food cooked in a clay oven gives out any better flavour.
When weighing up your options, and all other things being equal, consider what you think you'll be most likely to cook. If you're just looking at cooking pizzas, bread or a roast, the stainless steel model will be fine. If you're looking at baking a hard bread which requires cooking all night, a clay oven would be the best choice.
For better heat retention, buy an oven which has a door. I'd also recommend getting an oven with a temperature gauge so you can judge the internal temperature of the oven and know whether more wood is required. If you can't get an oven with a temperature gauge already inbuilt, get a free standing temperature gauge which can stand up in the oven.
Which ever style of oven you think suits your lifestyle, budget and time I’m sure you’ll love it and get many delicious meals out of it. Click here to get a copy of stainless steel pizza oven vs clay oven guide.
Also check out our blog post about How to Light a Wood Fired Pizza Oven.