Pizza is one of life’s great joys. From the doughy goodness to the gooey cheese and everything in between, there are not many things that can top a good pizza. But not all pizzas are created equal. Wood-fired pizzas, cooked in an authentic outdoor pizza oven, have a firm hold on the top position among pizza-making options.
Pizza ovens don’t only make top-notch pizza either; they have a number of benefits that go beyond the crust and toppings. In this blog, Kitchenways explores what wood-fired pizza ovens are, if they’re better than gas (and how), what else they can cook, and all the little details to help you decide if this is an investment worthy of your cash. Keep reading for everything you need to know about this appliance.
What Is A Wood-Fired Pizza Oven?
Most of it is in the name – wood-fired pizza ovens are little pizza powerhouses that get super hot (around 430 degrees Celsius) and cook pizzas absolutely magnificently. The shape and build of these ovens can differ greatly, but all have an oven cavity into which you slide an uncooked pizza in, and a delicious finished pizza out.
The best pizza ovens are wood-fired models, though you can find a few that work with a gas burner. However, wood fire adds a dash of smoky goodness, taking the taste to a whole new level. In addition, the super-high temperatures in these ovens cook pizzas in a flash, ensuring a perfectly crispy crust.
Outdoor pizza ovens also have a round chamber that’s excellent at keeping the heat inside, circulating it around, and making sure every bite is cooked to perfection.
Are Wood-Fired Pizza Ovens Better Than Gas?
At this point, you can probably guess which we prefer. But since the preference between wood-fired and gas ovens depends on various factors and personal preferences, we’ve compiled some points to consider when comparing the two:
- Flavour and crisp: One of the top benefits of a wood-fired outdoor pizza oven is that it imparts a unique smoky wood-fired flavour to pizzas that is difficult to replicate with gas ovens. The high heat generated by the wood fire can also create a crispier crust and slightly charred toppings, which really adds to a delicious pizza.
- Heat distribution: Wood-fired ovens typically offer more even heat distribution compared to gas ovens or a multi-fuel pizza oven. The radiant heat from the firebrick or stone hearth in a wood-fired oven helps cook the pizza quickly and evenly, resulting in a nicely cooked crust with a good balance between chewiness and crispiness. Yum!
- Versatility: Now the gas is about to score a point – gas ovens generally offer more precise temperature control than wood-fired cooking, and they’re easier to operate, too. They can be adjusted quickly, allowing for consistent and repeatable results. Gas ovens also heat up faster and are more convenient for everyday use, as they don’t require the time and effort of lighting and maintaining a wood fire.
- Accessibility: Gas ovens are more readily available and easier to install compared to wood-fired ovens, which can require professional installation and adherence to local fire and safety regulations. Fortunately, this is not the case when it comes to our Homark portable pizza ovens.
Are Wood-Fired Pizza Ovens Cheaper To Run Than An Oven?
Wood-fired pizza ovens can be a more cost-effective option, compared to traditional ovens. Let’s break it down and crunch some numbers.
Firstly, the fuel cost for wood-fired ovens is generally lower than the electricity or gas required to power a standard oven. Wood, especially if you have access to a sustainable source or can find affordable firewood, can be a budget-friendly fuel option. Plus, there’s something satisfying about sourcing your own firewood and channelling your inner pizza chef!
Additionally, wood-fired ovens are designed to reach extremely high temperatures quickly. This means they require less time to preheat compared to regular ovens. Less time spent heating means less energy consumption, resulting in potential energy savings and a lower impact on your utility bills.
Furthermore, wood-fired ovens are incredibly efficient at retaining heat. Once the oven is heated, the thermal mass of the fire brick or stone interior retains and radiates the heat evenly. This allows you to cook multiple pizzas consecutively without constantly reheating the oven.
However, it’s worth noting that wood-fired ovens do require some initial investment and occasional maintenance. Building or purchasing the oven itself and ensuring proper installation may involve some upfront expenses. Additionally, you’ll need to factor in the occasional cost of firewood or wood pellets.
But fear not! We live in a time of accessibility and dynamic materials, and our portable pizza ovens are made from stainless steel, which offers minimal upkeep, durability, and ease of use. Plus, it does make just pizza. Our wood-fired pellet pizza oven is incredibly versatile, allowing you to cook meats, vegetables and even bread, above and beyond the amazing pizzas.
How Long Does It Take To Cook A Pizza In A Wood-Fired Pizza Oven?
Cooking times will vary in a wood-fired pizza, as it depends on the temperature of the oven, the thickness of the dough, and the desired crisp. However, on average, a thin-crust pizza with a properly stretched dough may take anywhere between 60 seconds and 2 minutes – super quick! The high temperatures, typically ranging from 370°C to 480°C, rapidly cook the pizza, resulting in a crispy crust and deliciously melted toppings.
It’s important to remember that, when outdoor cooking, these ovens require constant monitoring and attentiveness, as the intense heat can quickly result in a burnt bottom. And remember, practice makes perfect! It may take a few tries to get the timing just right for your specific oven and desired pizza characteristics. But with a little bit of experimentation and a whole lot of deliciousness, you’ll soon become a wood-fired pizza pro.
Do I Need To Put Flour On The Floor Of A Pizza Oven?
No, there’s no need to sprinkle flour on the floor of a pizza oven, especially if it’s a wood-fired oven with a brick or stone cooking surface. In fact, flour only results in problems, even in the best pizza oven. This is because, if flour comes into direct contact with the hot oven surface, it can burn and create smoke. This can mess with the flavour and appearance of your pizza, giving it a bitter taste or unpleasant burnt smell. Not the kind of toppings you want!
Secondly, sprinkling flour on the oven floor can make a messy situation, and nobody wants a buildup of charred flour messing up future pizza adventures.
So, instead, use a pizza paddle to transfer your prepared pizza onto a pizza stone. You can lightly dust the stone with flour before, to avoid sticking. This is the best option to create a tastily cooked crust.