Is there anything more enjoyable than a stonebaked pizza enjoyed in your own back garden? Outdoor pizza ovens are becoming increasingly popular because it is the best way to enjoy homemade pizza. From a perfectly crispy crust to melt-in-the-mouth toppings, your pizza can be cooked in your garden in just a few minutes.
Impress your friends with the most authentic pizza parties. All you need to do is perfect your dough! An outdoor pizza oven is a perfect addition to any garden and will completely elevate your dinner parties – your friends won’t be able to stay away.
If you’re a foodie who’s interested in enjoying al fresco Italian pizza in your garden, read on to learn how to get started. It can be confusing to know which type of pizza oven to get and how to get started, so we’ve put together a guide to help you. From gas ovens to wood-fired ovens – here’s everything you need to know.
What is an outdoor pizza oven and how does it work?
Outdoor pizza ovens are made specifically to withstand high temperatures to allow you to cook certain types of food. They are available in a range of different types and sizes, so there’s an oven to fit every garden. Originally pizza ovens were made from brick, and wood was used to create a fire inside the oven. You’ll still find many of these pizza ovens around, particularly in Italian restaurants, however, these aren’t always practical for gardens, so there is now a big range of smaller, gas-fired ovens.
Portable pizza ovens are much smaller and are a cheaper way to create perfect pizza at home. They are still able to reach the necessary high temperatures, meaning you can cook your pizza in under a minute.
To make perfectly tasty pizza, all you need is the heat retained in the oven. The fire simply helps to give it the delicious smoky flavour. The shape of the pizza oven is also important. The dome and the base trap in layers of heat, helping it reach well over 420°C.
You will first need to let the oven warm up, which can sometimes take hours! Depending on the size of your oven, you may need to heat a large amount of material, sometimes more than half a ton of weight. Your pizza oven will then stay hot for a long period of time, so you can use it to cook many meals. The tiles of the base of your oven are vital, this is what cooks the dough of your pizza and gives you the ideal crunchy crust.
Types of pizza ovens
When deciding on a pizza oven, it is simply about finding the right one to suit you and your needs. Various types of pizza ovens will function differently, so it depends on how you plan to use them.
Brick pizza oven
These are generally quite large and can be powered by gas or wood. It can heat up to a temperature range of 300°C to 500°C and can cook a pizza in 2 to 3 minutes. This is the classic Italian method for cooking the perfect pizza. They’ll give you authentic, rustic pizza and offer a classic look and feel – making your garden look great.
These will mostly use a traditional wood-fired method to cook your pizza evenly and you can also make use of the fire to cook with smoke – a taste that is unbeatable. The preheating time will take around 45 minutes, but once it’s hot, the heat will retain for around 8 hours. This gives you the ultimate oven to not only cook pizza but also lasagne, pulled pork, sourdough bread or chilli con Carne!
Convection pizza oven
Convection pizza ovens are much smaller than a brick oven so are a more practical option for some people. They will only take 15-20 minutes to preheat but will only reach a max temperature of around 300°C. Convection pizza ovens are a cheaper option and these are typically for indoor use – often chosen for restaurants who want to expand their menu slightly. You’ll see them in some supermarkets or cafes being used to bake bread or pastries!
They are easy to maintain and use and offer an affordable way to create a crispy and fast pizza. They are perfect for school cafeterias, small restaurants and bars.
Portable gas pizza oven
These pizza ovens are a great option for those with limited space. They allow you to place the oven on a countertop such as an outdoor kitchen or table and cook one pizza at a time. They are gas-powered so take 15-20 minutes to preheat and 8 to 10 minutes to cook your pizza. You can usually grab one of these for around £250 and they are easy to use and reliable.
Stainless steel pizza oven
These are sleek and classic, while still providing an authentic tasting pizza. You can find large, stand-alone stainless steel pizza ovens that will allow you to reach a high temperature and cook several pizzas in one go. These pizza ovens are on the more expensive side, but if you’re willing to splurge, you can’t beat an Italian-made pizza oven.
These pizza ovens are also more easily moved than a brick oven that is built into your garden. This means if you ever plan to move house, you can still take the oven with you and you don’t need to worry about building another brick one.
What else can be cooked in a pizza oven?
Believe it or not, pizza ovens are just limited to cooking pizza! You can cook a whole range of meals in your trusty oven and they offer the perfect alternative to cooking things in a normal oven. Here are a few ideas:
- Freshly baked bread – Once you have finished cooking your pizzas, the oven will start cooling down, making it the ideal temperature to bake bread! You can cook a fresh loaf in around 30 minutes.
- Slow-cooked meat – At a cooler temperature, you can slow cook any joint of meat in a tight-fitting casserole dish covered with a lid or tin foil. This will usually take around four hours and the door of the pizza oven will need to stay closed.
- Fish – This is a great way to cook fish. You can roast it in a roasting tin or create a delicious fish stew. If you prefer your fish to be grilled, you can use a cast iron skillet to perfectly cook fish.
- One-pot recipes – What is more satisfying than throwing a bunch of ingredients in a pan and putting it in the oven for a few hours to be left with a beautifully rich dish? Think chilli, lamb stew and chorizo casserole. Meat cooked at this temperature will be delicious and succulent.
Top tips for your pizza oven
- Start early – If your oven is wood-fired, you’ll need to start getting it hot a few hours before you plan to cook.
- Use simple hardwood – Some woods like pine, can release toxins when burned, so make sure to only use hardwood.
- Use your temperature gauge – It can take some trial and error to understand the temperature changes in your oven. Make use of the gauge so you don’t burn or undercook your pizza.
- Find the sweet spot – When cooking your pizza, if you place it too close to the flame it will burn, but too far away and it won’t cook evenly. Find the perfect spot for the pizza to cook evenly under the heat.
- Lift the pizza to the top – Once the base of your pizza is cooked, you may choose to lift the pizza with the peel to the top of the dome. This is where the highest temperatures are found and it will help make your toppings cook perfectly, with bubbling cheese and crispy meat.
Pizza oven accessories
This is a vital accessory needed to produce the perfect pizza. A pizza paddle is a tool to put the pizza in the oven as well as take it out and when you want to turn the pizza or lift it higher in the dome.
Don’t ruin your amazing pizza by cutting it badly with an old pizza cutter or a knife. A sharp and suave pizza cutter will help you finish your pizza off perfectly.
Pizza oven cover or carry case
Whether your oven is big or small, you’ll need to protect it from the elements. A high-quality cover or case will help keep yours in good condition no matter the weather.
Why not grow your own fresh herbs in the garden? You can finish your pizza with a sprinkle of basil or freshly made pesto.
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The ultimate place to buy everything you need for your garden. From plants to pizza oven accessories and garden furniture. Visit our website today to view our fantastic range of products. We stock excellent pizza paddles, pizza cutters and oven covers to ensure you can make the most of your pizza oven.