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Three Alternative Ways to Use Your Wood Fired Oven
What's the first thing you think of when you think of an authentic wood fired oven? Is it pizza? Us too! There's just something about a wood fired pizza that everyone can get on board with.
While pizza is never a bad choice, don't limit yourself to just pizza in your wood burning oven! There are so many culinary experiences you won’t want to miss out on! We’ll break down three other experiences you can have in a pizza oven, how they compare, and the basics for how to transform your pizza oven into a well rounded cooking machine! You’ll find these new ways to use your oven not only exciting but easy to master.
1. Cook Bread in a Pizza Oven
This is a MUST! Baking bread in your wood fired oven is not only possible but an absolute culinary delicacy. Best part? You don’t need to buy a separate bread oven to make fresh focaccia or ciabatta bread. Bake it right in your oven. Our recommendation is to bake the bread after your oven cools down from making pizzas to approximately 450 degrees F, which is the ideal temperature to bake most breads!
FAQs: Baking Bread in a Conventional Oven Versus Baking Bread in a Pizza Oven
How much Bread Can I Bake in a Wood Fired Oven?
A pizza oven can cook multiple loaves (depending on the oven size), versus up to 2 in a conventional oven.
How Much Time is Required?
A Pizza Oven will take MUCH longer to heat up due to building the fire in the oven and maintaining it to its desired temperature.
What Does Bread Taste Like in a Pizza Oven vs Conventional Oven?
A pizza oven gives the bread a smokey, charred and overall more enhanced and deeper flavors. A wood fired oven can take your bread from average to that mouth watering bread from the bakery right from the comfort of your home!
If you’re looking to make bread in your wood fired oven follow these basic steps and feel free to get creative!
The Basics on How to Make Bread in a Pizza Oven
1. Make your dough
2. While the dough is proofing, bring the wood fired oven up to temperature
3. Let it cool down to your desired temperature (approx 450 degrees F) and make sure the flames are low
4. Put a little bit of flour on your pizza peel
5. Place your dough in the center of your pizza peel
6. Keep your dough towards the front of your oven and close the oven door
7. Rotate it every couple of minutes to get an even cook
8. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack (to ensure it doesn’t sweat underneath)
9. Allow to cool before cutting
2. BBQ in a Pizza Oven
Love to barbecue? You can do it right in your pizza oven!
However, there are some things you should be aware of before firing up the pizza oven instead of the grill:
BBQ’s are easier to operate than pizza ovens. Pizza ovens are as much art as science where you have to master the flame to maintain a consistent temperature range. Most grills you can set it with a knob and you're done.
Pizza ovens are made to retain heat, whereas BBQ grills are not. So if you're planning to cook a lot, then a pizza oven should use less fuel than a BBQ over time.
FAQs: Barbecuing in a Pizza Oven vs. Traditional BBQ
How Much Food Can You Barbecue in a Pizza Oven?
Sizes can vary for both pizza ovens and barbecue grills. On average, standard residential pizza ovens and grills have similar cooking surface areas.
How Much Time is Required?
In general, pizza ovens take longer than grills to heat up due to building the fire in the oven and maintaining it to its desired temperature.
Even if you have a gas pizza oven, it'll take longer to heat up than a grill due to the floor tiles needing to heat up first before cooking.
Is a Pizza Oven or BBQ better on Energy Consumption?
Typically, BBQ grills aren’t as efficient as pizza ovens due to their steel make up and lack of extra insulation in order to maintain the heat within like that of pizza ovens.
What Does Barbecue Food Taste Like in a Pizza Oven?
A typical barbecue grill cooks food slowly over a flame and lower heat than a pizza oven. Whereas a pizza oven can reach extremely high temperatures and enhances the taste of your food with the type of wood you choose to cook with.
Unless you’re cooking with a smoker, you won't get that infused smoke/wood flavor in your food as you would with a pizza oven. It's important to note that barbecue grills typically do not include smokers so that would be another purchase you would need to get to achieve these flavors. Now the pizza oven, that does it all!
The Basics on How to Grill in a Pizza Oven
1. To BBQ in a pizza oven, you'll first need to bring it up to your desired temperature
2. Use an ember rake to pull a layer of hot coals toward the front of your oven.
4. Start grilling the same way you would in a standard grill!
3. Use Your Pizza Oven as a Smoker
Another way to cook in a pizza oven is to use it as a smoker. In a pizza oven you can smoke up some crispy smoked chicken wings, smoked salmon, BBQ smoked potatoes, smoked corn on the cob and so much more!
Key Elements of the Smoker
A typical smoker uses very low heat, around 180F to 220F. Smokers in general will not exceed 300 degrees F. They can use a multitude of different fuel sources such as charcoal (most popular), wood logs/chunks, pellets, propane, natural gas or electric. The food is then cooked slowly by the smoke and is infused in the food for several hours creating that smokey flavor.
Smoking in the Pizza Oven
The good news is that a traditional wood fired pizza oven can create the same flavors found in a smoker. The key to using your pizza oven as a smoker is allowing it to cool down a bit after reaching a maximum temperature. Typically around 750°F or so. This allows the bricks to be properly heated so it can maintain a low temperature for a long period of time with little fuel added.
FAQs: Smoking in a Pizza Oven vs. Smoker
How Much Food Can You Smoke in a Pizza Oven?
Smokers are built to handle large quantities of meat to smoke food more efficiently. Whereas, a pizza oven, although not specifically made for smoking, would best be used to cook single or family sized slabs of meat.
How Much Time is Required?
In general, it takes approximately 30 to 90 minutes (depending on the load) to heat up a smoker. This is about the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pizza oven making this one a draw!
Is a Pizza Oven or Smoker Better on Energy Consumption?
In general, wood fired pizza ovens will require less energy consumption than a smoker due to the fact that they are just powered by wood. Since smokers can be fueled in different ways such as electric, propane, natural gas, wood, charcoal etc., it can depend on the type of smoker you are using to compare energy consumption. Even with that in mind, if you’re comparing a wood fired smoker to a wood fired pizza oven, a pizza oven will still end up taking less wood due to lower cooking times compared to a smoker that you’ll need to continue to add wood chips to.
What Does Smoked Food Taste Like in a Pizza Oven?
Food cooked in a smoker is going to give you more of a smokey taste than a pizza oven given that it cooks food over a much longer period of time and infuses it with smoke. However, you can get a similar taste with a wood fired pizza oven, but if you’re going for that ultra smokey flavor then a smoker would be the way to go.
How to Smoke Food in a Pizza Oven
1. Start the fire in the pizza oven using seasoned wood, bring it up to its maximum temperature
2. Allow the oven to cool down to approximately 250 to 300 degrees F.
3. While its cooling down, prepare your food and soak your wood chips for a minimum of 30 minutes
4. Place your soaked wood chips on the embers inside the oven along with a pan of water
5. Once the oven is producing an adequate amount of smoke, push the embers to the back of the oven
6. Place your food inside the oven and close the door to keep the smoke inside
7. Allow time for your food to cook and ensure it is cooked thoroughly
*Use an Infrared Thermometer Heat Gun to ensure it's at the optimal temperature for smoking.
Alternative Uses for a Wood Fired Pizza Oven: Final Thoughts
Get the most out of a wood burning oven by experimenting with all of the different ways it can be used! A wood burning oven can offer so much more than just pizza. These multi purpose ovens will bring you back to a traditional time of cooking over a fire with that succulent wood fired taste you and your family will be drooling over.