The concept of an outdoor kitchen has been part of the Mediterranean living for centuries. Lately, it’s been catching on in Australia too and for a good reason – it’s a great way to cook and eat while enjoying the wonderful sunny weather.
When building an outdoor space suitable for lounging, normally, you want to focus on picking outdoor furniture made of materials suitable for where you live. But when creating a functional kitchen outside your house, it takes more than just the right furniture. You also need to find practical and robust appliances for outdoor use that will allow you to make the most out of your summer kitchen.
There are many appliances you can include in an alfresco kitchen, from an electric BBQ to a fridge. If you and your family love pizza, then getting a pizza oven for outdoor use will certainly be a big plus. Wouldn’t it be great to recreate your favourite pizza in the comfort of your outdoor space?
A pizza oven is a sizeable oven designed for cooking pizza as well as some other foods requiring high temperatures such as bread or even cake. The design usually incorporates a flat stone hearth beneath a dome made of thick ceramic, clay or bricks, to maximise heat retention and create a high-temperature cooking environment.
When browsing the range of outdoor kitchen appliances, you will usually find models that are wood-fired or gas-fired. These pizza ovens are available in a range of designs and sizes, so you can find the perfect model for you and your family, whether you’re an enthusiastic amateur or have professional skills. The following are their main characteristics of wood and gas pizza ovens that can help you make a final decision.
The greatest advantage of purchasing a wood-fired pizza oven is the authentic, traditional flavour it provides. Modern designs of wood-fired pizza ovens are portable and mainly made of stainless steel or ceramic. Their popularity is increasing lately because they offer the performance of a brick pizza oven while taking up less space. Cooking pizzas in this type of ovens is easy and simple as most of them come with temperature sensors and timers. They’re available in various sizes and some of them are tabletop, while others are free-standing units.
To get perfectly baked pizzas, you’ll need to pay close attention to the temperature and draw. They can be adjusted by opening and closing the door. When the door is closed, the flames are weaker and the pizza cooks by conduction and convection. But when the door is closed, the flames are more intense and the pizza gets a golden-brown, crispy texture. To get the best pizza, make sure to light the fire approximately 30 minutes before cooking. Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to regularly remove the ashes and brush out your wood-fired pizza oven to keep it in good condition longer.
They’re quite simple to use and heat up quickly. They don’t require any preheating and the temperature can be adjusted easily, which means you won’t have to stand by the pizza oven throughout the cooking period. Most of them feature a viewing window and a light and easy to clean surface. The main advantage of getting a gas-fired pizza oven is that you can plumb it into your main gas supply. Since there are no ashes, cleaning your gas-fired pizza oven can be done easily, just by brushing out the baking chamber.
Consider the heating capacity of your oven before purchasing one. Depending on its size, a pizza oven will usually take from 30 minutes to two hours to reach optimum temperature. Pizza ovens are available in various sizes, with an internal diameter of roughly 60 centimetres for domestic models, up to two metres for commercial ones, with a one-metre diameter striking the balance between capacity and expense.
Heavy insulation is essential to the pizza oven’s design as it allows the intense heat to be retained inside the oven while the exterior remains cool to the touch. The insulation of the baking chamber determines how well the heat is distributed throughout the chamber and how evenly your pizza cooks.
An outdoor pizza oven is easy to use and maintain as long as you have the right accessories and tools for cooking, serving and cleaning up. To begin with, you’ll need heat-resistant gloves and pizza peel to protect you from the oven’s intense heat when siding pizzas in and out. Then, a pizza cutter for the fun part – cutting fresh-baked pizzas. Look for a stainless-steel model as it’s dishwasher safe and easy to sanitise as well.
When the cleaning time comes, you’ll need a pizza oven brush and a shovel. Long-handled brushes and shovels will make it easy to reach into the oven and whisk away ash and crumbs. Keep in mind that ashes, crumbs and stains should be removed after every use because if they accumulate, it can prevent the oven from functioning properly. Once you’re done cleaning, protect it with a specially designed cover to keep it clean and safe until the next time you’ll be using it.