Dough It Yourself – bring the authentic taste of Italy to your home with Outdoor Pizza Ovens

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As more and more people are finding, there is one sure way to bring the tastes and aromas of Europe to your home.

To get a true slice of Italian cuisine you only need to travel as far as your garden or patio, with home cooking well and truly at the heart of the matter when it comes to Outdoor Pizza Ovens.

You might be wondering “Who sells outdoor pizza ovens?” – well look no further.

A major part of our Outdoor Living range here at Direct Stoves, Pizza Ovens are the gift that keeps on giving, as so many of our happy customers have found.

Just take a look at these pictures above, which were sent into us by Deana Hunt (Instagram – @newhousenewbeginnings) – who also said to us:

“We purchased our oven in 2020 during the first lockdown to help us through. It is the Supreme pizza oven with stand and side table. All our neighbours were watching from their windows when it arrived. We feel it finished our new garden beautifully and we’ve had hours of enjoyment so far. Not just in the summer but in the winter months too.”

View the Supreme Wood Fired Pizza Oven

In this blog post we’ll take you through everything you need to know about using a pizza oven at home, from the best dough to use, to the best toppings to cook with – along with answering FAQs, explaining how best to light your oven, and of course, giving you some product suggestions throughout. Bellissimo!

How to Light a Wood Fired Pizza Oven

Lighting a wood fire pizza oven does take time and a little patience – the key is to build it up slowly, gaining heat gradually and safely.

Here is our step-by-step guide to lighting a pizza oven…

  1. Open the door of your pizza oven and the chimney smoke control vent – both need to be kept open throughout the fire lighting process
  2. Place some kindling in the centre of the oven. Three or four small logs with a few pine cones or other kindling material should be fine. Arrange them in a teepee shape, and place some firelighters in the middle.
  3. Light your match. Carefully light the firelighter and leave the match placed by it, still in the centre of the kindling. Stand back and allow it to fully catch fire.
  4. Add a few more logs. Once the kindling is burning well, add another three or four small-medium size logs, slowly increasing the fire size.
  5. Wait as the pizza dome turns black. This is down to the smoke being produced by the fire. You will also notice the firewood gradually turning white.
  6. Continue to add more logs. Keep growing the fire across the full floor of the pizza oven to distribute the heat out. Caution: the fire will really be heating up now, so use suitable tools and gloves to stoke the flames. Always be careful the flames don’t get out of hand and have an extinguisher on-hand.
  7. Allow the temperature to continue to increase. As it gets hotter, you should notice the inside of the dome turns from black to white. Move the fire to ensure all the wood is burning and the entire oven floor is covered. At this point, it should be around 350-400°C. Use a laser thermometer to check this – don’t try to test it with a regular thermometer or you will burn your hand!
  8. Close the oven’s smoke control. Now it’s up to temperature, this will keep the heat in and you are ready to prepare your cooking area!
  9. Move the fire embers to the side. Once the flames have died down and reduced to embers, move them to the sides and back of the oven to make space for roasting your food. If you are cooking pizza, move the embers to the back of the oven so you can place the pizza at the front.
  10. Check for embers still burning. If there are still flames or embers, leave the door vent open for a few minutes – or, if you don’t have one, leave the door ajar to avoid too much smoke inside the oven.
  11. Place your food inside. The oven should now be ready to cook your food! A good wood fired oven should stay hot for at least 2 hours – perfect for slow cooking as well as pizzas.

Now you are all ready to cook your pizza, the next question is; what toppings are good on pizza?

For this, we have drafted in not one but two guest contributors; expert pizza makers Deli Conti and I Knead Pizza.

Pizza chef extraordinaire for 40 years, Luciano Vendone is the chef behind Deli Conti, who pride themselves on the quality of their 24 hour fermentation pizza making process.

Below, they talk through a method to make an absolutely beautiful pizza, in your outdoor Pizza Oven.

‘Our dough is made in the truly authentic artisanal way using the best ingredients, 00 wheat flour, semolina, wheatgerm, extra virgin olive oil and added sour dough.

The fermentation is key to a great tasting pizza, so these dough balls are designed to last 3 days with a slow fermentation. They are easy to use, following easy instructions, and they are great fun for all the family.

Thaw the dough at room temperature keeping well covered. If for use the same day, try to thaw in the morning for the evening.

Using a floured surface press out to about 11 inches in diameter once the dough is warm and does not shrink back

Temperature of the oven is very important, a wood fired oven will cook at high temperature of 300c plus and should take no more than 3 minutes! ‘

Toppings are best kept simple, for the sauce, just buy good quality chopped tomatoes and crush, do not put in a blender as this splits the seeds and makes it bitter, add a little salt oregano and olive oil and use approximately 100g A nice creamy mozzarella , no more than 100g will be perfect for a Margherita Pizza or put toppings of your choice.

Top tip – A 220g doughball should not be exceeded by the weight of the tomato and cheese

So that’s the dough prepared, now we’re going to Knead some toppings…

A local business to us here at Direct Stoves, Stockport’s finest I Knead Pizza combine delicious produce with delectable flavour combinations to create beautiful pizza that packs a real punch.

If you’re anything like us, and absolutely love pizza, then you’ll appreciate some of the amazing flavour combinations suggested to us by I Knead Pizza below (plus some mouth-wateringly good photos)

The Special: Tomato, Mozzarella, Green Olives, Goats Cheese, Caramelised Onions. It’s where creamy cheese meats sweet onions and salty olives. It hits every note.

Nduja: Tomato & Mozzarella topped with Nduja which is a soft spicy pork which is from Calabria in Italy. Fiery flavoured pork served with Pickled Roquito Peppers & Basil is a beautiful combination of heat & freshness.

A Taste Of Honey: San Marzano Tomatoes & Fior di latte Mozzarella (Milk Mozzarella) topped with Italian cured meats, Napoli Salami & Pepperoni Picante & drizzle of Honey which has a caramelising effect or the meat and brings out the heat and flavour of the pepperoni.

What else can I cook in a pizza oven?

The answer comes from our customer Deana, who also said:

“We have also used it for a variety of things not just pizzas, roast potatoes, casseroles and joints of meat. We are always on the look out for new recipes and our friends and family are always keen to come round.”

Yes that’s right you can cook a whole host of tasty treats in your pizza oven, just look at the potatoes!

Can you use firelighters in a pizza oven?

Yes, you can use firelighters in a pizza oven, but it’s best to choose a natural firelighter. A standard white firelighter you would use in your stove will likely have chemicals in it that could affect the taste of your food. Natural firelighters are made from compressed wood shavings, making them odourless and safe for use in an oven. Never use kerosene, lighter fluid or any other highly flammable substance to light a pizza oven.

View the Morso Forno Deluxe Oven Set

How long does it take to heat up a wood fired pizza oven?

It usually takes up to 1 hour to fully heat up a wood fired pizza oven. However, this does depend on the size and design of your pizza oven, the wood used and the weather outside. Smaller ovens can be heated up in 40 minutes, larger ovens could take as long as 2 hours or even more to heat up to the right temperature.

Can you use charcoal in a wood fired pizza oven?

Always check with your manufacturer before using charcoal in a wood fired pizza oven. Charcoal can produce a fiercer heat than wood, so be sure that your stove is capable of burning it without cracking.

Charcoal fired pizza ovens can also create a different style of pizza. Due to the heat, they often produce a crispier pizza, cooking quickly with a chewier inside and crunchier crust. Wood fired pizzas are typically softer with a slightly charred edge.

Outdoor Pizza Ovens

At Direct Stoves we have an entire range of Pizza Ovens, from traditional masonry styles, as well as contemporary models too – all to suit your outdoor space.

Browse below just a small selection of our extensive range of Pizza Ovens, and be sure to view the full range over on Direct

ACR Vita Pizza Oven

A brand new product that has recently landed on the Direct Stoves Pizza Oven section, the Vita from ACR Stoves is a Pizza Oven that brings a taste of Italy to your home. Designed in Italy, and carefully crafted from top quality materials for that perfect, Italian dining experience. This log fired pizza oven can reach temperatures around 500 degrees in 30 minutes, with its premium insulation helping to retain body heat and a chamotte oven base for the ultimate in authentic crispiness.

View the ACR Vita Pizza Oven

Fontana Mangiafuoco Wood Fired Pizza Oven

The Fontana Family have been making Outdoor ovens since 1946 & build them to the highest standard. The Fontana Mangiafuoco is a beautiful design which is a high quality and high performance wood fired oven with a large 60×60 cm cooking chamber and manufactured almost entirely from 304 grade stainless steel. This easy transportable cart version of the Mangiafuoco Pizza Oven allows you to make convivial moments even more enjoyable on trips out of town, camping or simply to move to the sunniest part of the garden! With wheels and pull out handles, this pizza oven is easy to move. The Mangiafuoco also comes with wood-holder plate, fire tool, 304 grade stainless steel flue pipe with adjustable smoke exit valve & chimney top and a cooking chamber door.

View the Fontana Mangiafuoco Wood Fired Pizza Oven

Royal Wood Fired Pizza Oven with Base

The Royal oven is incredibly easy to use and very efficient with a fast heat up time and excellent thermal properties, in fact, the oven is so efficient you can touch the outside of the oven whilst at full temperature without burning yourself.

The oven stand is made from natural limestone stone, fire brick and fire cement can be assembled in a short space of time with only 12 component parts to self-assembly with the adhesive provided. XclusiveDecor wood-fired ovens are perfect for any cooking enthusiast and are safe for the whole family. Each oven has superior heat retention on the inside to cook your favourite meats, pizzas, and more.

View the Royal Wood Fired Pizza Oven with Base

If you’re looking to give your summer some extra sizzle, head to Outdoor Living on Direct here

Read more on the Direct Stoves blog

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