In recent years, cooking in a wood fired pizza oven has become all the rage with more people recognizing how easy it is to just lay out all the ingredients and let your guests make their own pizzas. Not only does it lighten the load for the host of the party, it's also a fun way to entertain and gets everyone involved.
Personally, I love to make by own pizza dough, but if you're short of time, there are plenty of good quality pre-made pizza bases to choose from.
With toppings, I have found that less is more when cooking in a wood fired pizza oven. Keeping things simple with tomato paste, fresh basil, cherry tomatoes and cheese is my personal favourite, but you're only limited by your imagination.
Before you start making your pizzas, you'll need to get your wood fired pizza oven nice and hot. To do this, build a pyramid of smaller pieces of wood and kindling over the top of firelighters and paper directly on the stones or bricks at the front of the oven. Lighting the fire here is going to heat up the stones or bricks to cook the base of your pizza effectively and give it a nice crispy base.
Once the fire is going you can add some larger pieces of wood to ensure a longer and hotter burn.
Close the door of the oven to get it up to the desired temperature and ensure the flue is open to suck through the oxygen feeding the fire inside the wood-fired pizza oven.
When the wood inside the oven has burnt down a bit and your oven is at 400C+ it’s time to push it to the back of the wood fired pizza oven to create space for your pizzas.
Don’t forget to grab a long handledbrush and sweep the remaining ash to the back of the oven also. Doing this will avoid having gritty bases on your pizzas.
Some people like to cook their pizzas in pizza trays instead of directly on the base. While it is personal preference, I like cooking directly on the base of the wood fired pizza oven as it gives you a nice crispy base.
You’re now ready to cook. Slide your pizzas into the pizza oven, rotating them as they cook to cook them evenly. When done, simply slide the pizzas out and enjoy.
Please note that the inside of the wood fired pizza oven is extremely hot so it is recommended you wear gloves. Even if your pizza peel has a long handle, you'd be surprised how much heat gets thrown out of your oven.
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