How to make pizza in your own back­yard

Out­door ovens are hot

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Emily Ryan

Neigh­bors of­ten see smoke ris­ing from be­hind Steve and Carol Kir­ton’s Ch­ester Springs home. But don’t worry. It sig­nals good times with fam­ily and friends en­joy­ing their back­yard pizza oven.

“It’s one of the few oc­ca­sions that we com­mis­sioned some­thing, and it ex­ceeded our ex­pec­ta­tions,” Steve said. “The pizza oven is a huge hit with kids. They love help­ing. They love build­ing their own pizza.”

And what bet­ter time? Oc­to­ber is Na­tional Pizza Month.

“It tastes so good!” his wife added. “Ev­ery time we have at least one per­son over, the pizza oven comes on.”

The wood-fired, stone and brick oven an­chors an out­door kitchen, fea­tur­ing a Penn­syl­va­nia blue­stone coun­ter­top and re­pur­posed Amish trac­tor seats.

“I like to get unique, not just build you a ba­sic stand-alone pizza oven,” said de­signer Chad Turpin of Turpin Land­scap­ing in Coatesville. “The best pizza you’ll ever eat comes out of a pizza oven.”

How­ever, “you don’t have to do pizza in a pizza oven,” he stressed. “You can cook. You can bake. It’s still just an oven.”

“We love to make choco­late chip cook­ies in it after din­ner — wood-fired choco­late chip cook­ies,” agreed Rick Baker, brand man­ager for Al­fresco Home, a Pottstown com­pany that dis­trib­utes out­door ovens na­tion­wide.

The For­netto, Ital­ian for “small oven,” uses wood or char­coal, dou­bles as a smoker and costs $1,499 for the base model. Un­like tra­di­tional pizza ovens

with the fire di­rectly in­side, For­netto has “a sep­a­rate cham­ber be­low the oven it­self.”

“Not only does it cook well, but it looks great on your pa­tio,” he de­scribed. “We’re con­stantly re­order­ing them. Our sales are up ev­ery year for the last four years.”

It’s a hot trend with an out­door oven for ev­ery bud­get. Wil­liams-Sonoma and Sur La Ta­ble of­fer propane­fu­eled table­top ver­sions for about $300.

An­other op­tion: Let Sunfire Pizza of West Ch­ester bring its mo­bile wood-fired oven to you and “ig­nite your event.”

“My fam­ily grew up pas­sion­ate about pizza,” said owner Bethann Jako­boski, who started mak­ing her own dough as a teenager and now sells it at Kim­ber­ton Whole Foods. “We do a 48-hour cold rise,” which “re­ally al­lows fla­vor to de­velop.”

When it comes to cook­ing, “there are tricks about learn­ing how to use the oven,” she ex­plained. “I start on the left. You kind of move the piz­zas through, mak­ing quar­ter turns… get­ting a nice char all around.”

Back at the Kir­tons, Steve checked the fire while Carol chat­ted about recipes.

“Pizza is just a happy food,” she said with a smile. “Ev­ery­body likes pizza.”

Sunfire’s But­ter­nut Squash, Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Pizza

Our clients ab­so­lutely love this pizza. Think out­side the cheese and pep­per­oni box — get in­spired by sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents.


1 pound frozen Sunfire Pizza Dough, thawed or home­made dough

12 to 16 ounces peeled, seeded and cubed but­ter­nut squash (Time­saver: Look at your gro­cery store for pack­ages of fresh, ready-to-cook but­ter­nut squash in the pro­duce area!)

2 ta­ble­spoons melted but­ter

2 tea­spoons fresh sage leaves, minced

¼ tea­spoon freshly grated nut­meg Salt and pep­per 2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil 1 large sweet or yel­low onion, thinly sliced

3 ounces goat cheese, sliced and crum­bled

1 ounce Parmi­giano-Reg­giano cheese, shred­ded Flour or corn meal Pig­noli (pine nuts), op­tional


Pre­pare the squash: Pre­heat oven to 375 de­grees. Toss but­ter­nut squash with 2 ta­ble­spoons melted but­ter. Spread squash on pan and roast in oven, turn­ing ev­ery 10 min­utes un­til ten­der, about 30 to 35 min. Re­move from oven and process us­ing an im­mer­sion blender, food pro­ces­sor or stan­dard blender un­til smooth. Stir in sage, nut­meg, salt and pep­per.

Pre­pare the onions: Heat a large, heavy skil­let over medium heat. Add 2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil. Add onion slices and re­duce heat to very low and cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til soft and golden brown, about 20 to 25 min.

As­sem­ble and bake the pizza: Heat the oven (500 de­grees). Stretch and shape your pizza dough. Place stretched dough on a pan lightly dusted with flour or corn­meal. Spread squash mix­ture onto dough. Top with caramelized onions, goat cheese and Parme­san cheese. Sprin­kle a small hand­ful of pig­noli, if us­ing. Bake 16 to 20 min­utes. Man­gia bene!


Sunfire’s Sweet Berry Pizza

Who says you can’t have pizza for dessert? Add a small scoop of vanilla ice cream to each warm slice for added deca­dence.


1 pound frozen Sunfire Pizza Dough, thawed or home­made dough

½ cup mas­car­pone (an Ital­ian, triple-crème cheese) ¼ cup plain Greek yo­gurt 3 ta­ble­spoons honey 16 ounces fresh berries your choice, black, blue, red or mix!

2 ta­ble­spoons brown sugar

Parch­ment pa­per


Pre­pare the top­pings: Rinse berries and place on a towel to dry. Mix mas­car­pone with the yo­gurt and 1 ta­ble­spoon of honey.

As­sem­ble and bake the pizza: Heat the oven (500 de­grees). Stretch and shape your pizza dough. Place stretched dough on a pan lined with parch­ment pa­per. Spread mas­car­pone mix­ture on dough. Top with berries and lightly press into dough. Sprin­kle brown sugar over pizza. Bake 10 to 18 min­utes. Re­move from oven and driz­zle re­main­ing 2 ta­ble­spoons of honey on the pizza. Man­gia bene!


Per­fect Pizza Dough IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

4 cups stone-milled flour (bread flour will work per­fectly) 1 cup of warm wa­ter 2 tea­spoons ac­tive dry yeast, dis­solved in the wa­ter 1 tea­spoon sugar 1 ta­ble­spoon olive oil Pinch of salt


Pre­heat your For­netto oven to 400 de­grees and main­tain the heat. Com­bine yeast, sugar and 2 ta­ble­spoons of warm wa­ter and set aside in a warm place for ap­prox­i­mately 15 min­utes.

Place flour and salt in a large mix­ing bowl and make a well in the cen­ter. Add re­main­der of wa­ter to yeast and whisk through. Add yeast mix­ture to flour mix and com­bine thor­oughly to form a rough ball. Add small quan­tity of flour if your mix­ture is too wet. Turn out onto a lightly-floured board and knead for 5 to 10 min­utes un­til smooth. Place ta­ble­spoon of olive oil in a clean bowl, coat dough all over and cover with clean tea towel and put aside for 1 to 2 hours al­low­ing the dough to dou­ble in size. Place dough back onto floured board and knead a few times.

For thin-base piz­zas, di­vide your dough into four parts. Shape each quar­ter into a round ball. Take one ball of dough; keep others cov­ered so they don’t dry out. Use a small amount of flour to dust the rolling sur­face and the rolling pin, to pre­vent dough stick­ing. Roll out to re­quired size (about 12 inches). Place on pizza stone or tray and add your fa­vorite top­ping – re­mem­ber not to overdo it. If you use a pizza paddle, leave the base on your sur­face, you can slide it un­der after all top­pings are on the base.

Tip: Sprin­kling (un­cooked) po­lenta meal onto your pizza spat­ula or stone will pre­vent it from stick­ing when you place on the pizza stone and also gives a de­li­cious crispier tex­ture to the base.


Mar­garita – spicy home­made tomato relish and shred­ded fresh moz­zarella or boc­concini, fresh basil leaves to gar­nish

Mushroom pizza – sliced sautéed mushroom and basil leaves, served with crème fraiche

Pancetta – rash­ers of pancetta, sautéed onions, shred­ded moz­zarella

Pesca­toro – fresh salmon chunks, prawns, baby mus­sels or clams, scal­lops and cala­mari

Salty pizza – black olive tape­nade, salt flakes and chopped rosemary. Driz­zle with olive oil and gar­nish with ex­tra rosemary.

Tan­doori – tan­doori paste, tan­doori chicken (cooked), fresh chopped toma­toes and mint yo­gurt


Bacon, Pep­per­oni and Onion Deep Dish Pan Pizza IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

Our Per­fect Pizza Dough 3 ta­ble­spoons to ¼ cup of your fa­vorite tomato/ pizza sauce. I pre­fer to use 100-per­cent pas­sata di po­modoro (pure Ital­ian tomato purée).

3 to 4 rash­ers of smoky bacon

12 to 15 rounds of spicy pep­per­oni

½ of a small onion sliced into thin rings, or to suit your taste

4½ ounces moz­zarella cheese, grated

Ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

For­netto deep dish pizza pan

In­struc­tions Be­gin by pre­par­ing the dough fol­low­ing the di­rec­tions in the recipe. When the dough has risen, pre­heat your For­netto to 375 de­grees. (Note that for a deep dish pizza done in ce­ramic, it’s im­por­tant that the heat is not too high or the top­pings will cook too quickly and the dough won’t cook through.)

Lightly grease the dish with a small amount of olive oil. Spread the dough in the dish us­ing your fin­ger­tips un­til it stays at the edge of the dish on its own. Spread the tomato sauce over the dough. If you like it very saucy, use the whole ¼ cup of sauce. Sprin­kle ¾ of the grated cheese evenly over the sauce. Place the bacon, pep­per­oni and onions rings evenly on the pizza and sprin­kle the re­main­ing cheese over top. Driz­zle the top lightly with ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil.

Bake the pizza in the low­est rack po­si­tion of the oven for 30 to 40 min­utes. If bak­ing two, al­ter­nate the piz­zas half way through the cook­ing time. Al­low the pizza to cool for about 5 min­utes in the dish then re­move, slice and serve. You’re in for a treat. En­joy!



Turpin Land­scap­ing cre­ated this out­door kitchen, fea­tur­ing a wood-fired pizza oven, Penn­syl­va­nia blue­stone coun­ter­top and re­pur­posed Amish trac­tor seats. “We get a lot of use out of it,” says home­owner Carol Kir­ton.


For­netto of­fers built-in and free­stand­ing mod­els.


A cus­tom-de­signed trailer sup­ports Sunfire Pizza’s mo­bile oven.


“You burn a fire right in the oven,” says Chad Turpin of Turpin Land­scap­ing. “Once it pre­heats, you sweep the coals over to the side.”

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