Everyone likes a grilled pizza at a party or get-together. However, a pizza oven can take your pies to an entirely new level.
It might sound a little intimidating, but there are quite a few options for baking restaurant-quality pizzas right in your own home! From sleek countertop models that won’t clutter up your apartment, to custom-built backyard units that can churn out enough food for even the largest families, there is a pizza oven suitable for any living situation and budget!
Which Type of Pizza Oven is Best for Me?
Which pizza oven is best for you depends largely on your budget and space requirements. For those individuals who are content baking their pies on the grill—or in a traditional convection oven—there is the simple, but effective, pizza stone.
Meanwhile, someone living in a small apartment (or a house with a small yard) might prefer a countertop unit. And, for those pizza fanatics with time and space to spare, there is the option of building your own custom outdoor oven.
Stovetop and Countertop Pizza Ovens
If you’re in the market for a dedicated pizza oven, but want something small enough to fit comfortably in your kitchen, consider a stove or countertop model. These will give you superior pizzas without taking up a whole lot of room.
The Pizzacraft Pizzeria Pronto Stovetop Pizza Oven is designed for gas stoves. It preheats quickly and has an interior temperature that can exceed that of traditional ovens, meaning your Italian sausage and pesto pie will be ready-to-eat within minutes.
The Presto Pizzazz Rotating Oven is another top choice for a home unit. This model has a rotating tray with separately-controlled heating elements and a removable non-stick baking pan. You can bake a pizza on it, or just use the tray to keep food warm. It also features a timer that can automatically turn off the heating elements, meaning that this model is extremely energy-efficient.
Outdoor Pizza Ovens
There are several great portable pizza ovens intended for outdoor use. Tailgaters and campers might want to consider the Pizzacraft PizzaQue Outdoor Pizza Oven. This model is a portable, propane-fueled unit that houses a pizza stone (included). It will quickly give you that oven-baked pizza experience no matter where you are!
If you have a backyard, building an outdoor pizza oven can be a fun home improvement project. The great thing about these is that you can do a lot more with them than just baking pizza. Slow roasting meats and even baking your own bread are all within the realm of possibility.
How to Build Your Own Pizza Oven
Are you ready to get serious about pizza? Then it’s time to pick up some supplies! You don’t necessarily need to get a building contractor for this, but some experience in construction will be helpful.
You will need the following: refractory bricks (for the dome and the cooking floor), refractory mortar, a ceramic fiber blanket (for the dome insulation), calcium silicate (to insulate the floor), and Litefill perlite (to render a layer between the insulation and the bricks that will make up the structure itself).
While it is possible to build a movable oven on a pallet, it’s better to choose a permanent location, lay down a solid foundation, and build from there. A couple of layers of brick on top of the reinforced concrete base will not only look great, but will provide an even cooking temperature for your pizzas.
Setting out the dimensions for the arch is of the utmost importance. Taking time and care at this stage should ensure you won’t have problems later on. As the old saying goes, “measure twice and cut once.” You can use an exercise ball as a base for the dome, or cut some plywood to serve as a solid base for a semi-circular opening. The gaps between the bricks should be kept open by wooden wedges, then filled with the refractory mortar, one brick at a time.
Build up the rest of the oven in whatever way you see fit. Many prefer a domed style, but you can go for a simpler cuboid. What you want is a strong, heat-retaining structure that will ensure even cooking. Looks are important, but durability should be your #1 priority.
When it does come to the time to fire up your oven, it’s a good idea to give it a hot “once over” before guests come over. A few hours of heat will allow all the moisture to evaporate from the bricks and mortar.
You can use any charcoal you like, but some nice hardwood is best. Cherry is ideal, but hickory will also serve you well.
Easy as (Pizza) Pie!
Now that you have an oven, it’s party time! Invite your neighbors over and offer them a selection of chopped vegetables, meats, cheeses, and bases. Everyone can make their own pizza and have a great time doing it!
For an excellent cast iron skillet pizza recipe, click here!