With those beautiful, slightly smoky flavors, the perfect caramelization, and that crispy-juicy combo that only comes from working with high heat, a countertop pizza oven can turn just about anything into a culinary masterpiece.
Unfortunately, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can also turn anything into a culinary disaster. So, before you put on your apron and invite everyone around for your Italian chef impersonations, make sure you brush up on these cooking techniques first!
Not all wood is created equal. Wood varies in size and moisture content, as well as the density and quality of smoke, so choosing the right type is essential for good, long-lasting, and even heat.
Here’s what you need to remember when you’re choosing your wood:
The first thing to do, of course, is to start up your beautiful wood-fired oven. No matter what you’re cooking, you have to start with a high temperature and work your way down from there. With standard stones, aim for the stones to get to about 750°F. With Saputo stones, an ideal temperature is about 850°F.
Just follow these steps:
Keep the flames high and the thermometer at the same temperature (750°F for standard stones, 850°F for Saputo stones).
Let’s assume you’re already working bases like a pro (because our pizza dough tips would take up another whole article). Slide your pizza onto a lightly floured pizza peel—you did remember to buy one, right?—and slide it into the oven and off the peel with a gentle flick. Leave the door open because, in about 40 seconds to a minute, you’ll need to go back in there and give the pizza a half turn to cook it evenly. Another 40 seconds (keep an eye on the pie) and buon appetito!
There are two stages to roasting: getting it nice and crispy at high heat, which locks in the juiciness, and the actual roasting part, which happens at lower temperatures. Start off at around 550°F with your meat and vegetables in a roasting tray, and then cover with a lid once the skin is brown and crispy and the moisture is sealed in. Let it drop slowly to 400°F and roast for another hour or as needed.
For baking, you’ll be getting the temperatures back down to a level that’s more or less the same as a conventional oven. Fire the brick oven up to maximum temperatures, then bring it back down to about 350°F (and smaller flames) before you put your bread in. For the perfect crust, add a little steam via some ice cubes in a heat-proof tray and keep the door closed for the first few minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you tap the bottom of the loaf and it sounds hollow.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re working with a backyard pizza oven, which makes practicing your technique essential. There’s one other thing that’s essential, too: having the right oven to begin with.
Investing in a Fontana Forni wood-fired pizza oven will let you live up to your culinary potential. Precise temperature controls and completely even heat distribution take the guesswork out of all kinds of cooking, leaving you to focus on the important things—like who gets the last slice.
Browse our range of outdoor pizza ovens and make your masterpiece today!