Fire it up Cook up a storm outdoors with a fabulous pizza oven
EXTEND YOUR COOKING ZONE TO THE GREAT OUTDOORS WITH A PIZZA OVEN, AND SEE YOUR CULINARY SKILL SET SKYROCKET
Everyone loves pizza, right? But before you scroll through the food-delivery apps on your smartphone to order in your favourite, have you thought about installing a pizza oven in your own backyard? After all, you can’t beat the flavour and brag-worthy results of homemade doughy delights, let alone the wide range of other cooking options these ovens bring to the table.
Today’s marketplace is filled with domestic-scale pizza ovens – powered by wood or gas – from the compact benchtop models to freestanding versions that can fire up a feast with ease. But before you open up your wallet, first consider the space you have available. For spacious decks or courtyards, a large-sized oven won't feel out of place, and can easily merge with a new or existing outdoor kitchen area. For occupants of smaller living spaces, with verandahs or other nooks, you’re not left uncatered for – track down a small-scale model that you can bench mount or build in. Here’s your inspiration.
think outside the (pizza) box TOP TIPS TO TAKE YOUR COOKING TO NEW HEIGHTS
• Most of the time, it’s likely you’ll quickly turn on the oven while you prepare a batch of pizzas, then slide them in, one at a time, to feed the bellies of the nearby troops at the table. But when it comes time to cook a full menu in a wood-fired pizza oven, this requires planning, planning and then more planning. You can use the high heat to turn out delicious pizzas, slow-cook meats on medium heat or use the steady, low heat to dry fruit.
Gas-powered pizza ovens are a more convenient way of cooking outdoors, and work much like your indoor oven. At the spin of a dial, you can set the temperature and cook with confidence. Wood-fired ovens are a little more tricky for the inexperienced cook. It’s worth reading up on the best ways to build the fire and, of course, be open to trial and error. It’s all part of the fun! You’ll need a temperature monitor to gauge the heat inside the oven and to learn how to use it to your advantage with cooking a range of menu items. Never fear – once you get the knack, you’ll be catering like a pro.
An all-day pizza-oven party is a fabulous method of cooking for an event at your place, and invites your guests to get hands-on with the preparation of the day’s meals. Just write up your menu in advance, have the ingredients ready to go, then welcome people to cook at their leisure. You can keep it simple with DIY pizzas or experiment with roast chicken and whole fish, just like chef Martin Boetz in HB’s web series, Cooks Co-op. And why not finish off the feast with damper, cakes or your favourite biscuits? As Martin says, “Everything seems to taste better straight out of the pizza oven!”
“of course, most homemade people buy pizzas. a pizza oven to cook up But don't underestimate their power for roasting meats, vegies, bakes and bread” - Martin boetz, cooks co-op