Cooking Outside In Hot Summers
Outdoor kitchens were, and still are, the most common places for preparing food in tropical countries. In colder countries, many people had outdoor summer kitchens, to minimize heating homes during hot months.
Having an outdoor kitchen today is a matter of prestige, a part of the huge fashion of having complete kitchen as part of outdoor entertainment space. And having an outdoor pizza oven is a must.
A Long And Illustrious History Dating To The Romans
Ancient Romans, especially around Naples, perfected the design of the pizza stone and outdoor pizza ovens, and many are preserved to this day in Pompei and Herculaneum, thanks to the protective cover of ash after the volcano eruption. The design of Roman pizza oven is unmatched to this day for baking the perfect pizza, and is copied in various forms by many manufacturers. The true wood burning pizza oven is made of hard-baked clay and mortar. The shape is often domed, to retain high temperature needed to bake pizza. Clay, being porous, absorbs and retains heat for a long time, allowing for excellent texture of the dough and wonderfully crunchy crust.
Wood-Fired, Gas Or Electric
The most popular outdoor pizza ovens are wood-fired. They can be made in many shapes and sizes, sometimes intricately decorated with colorful tiles. Some models are manufactured of metal, resembling a large oven, and can be used for barbecuing meats and other foods, baking pizzas, breads and anything else on the menu for an outdoor party. Besides wood-burning outdoor pizza ovens, there are on the market pizza ovens which resemble a large toaster oven, fuel by natural gas or electricity. They can be used indoors and outdoors as commercial pizza ovens. If used for baking pizzas, they need pizza stone to produce proper pizza crust.
Although Italians invented wood-fired pizza ovens, many countries are today producing their own version, with more or less similarity to the classical Roman design. One of the most popular manufacturers is Forno Bravo from California, which makes both industrial and residential, including various kinds of outdoor pizza ovens for outdoor entertainment. The price of Forno Bravo residential models ranges between $1,300 for the modular oven kit, to more than $5000 for the fully assembled, wonderfully designed real brick ovens. Another popular brand is Chicago Brick Oven, with elaborate designs and prices that range between $2,400 and $10,000. Among non-fire burning indoor/ outdoor pizza ovens, the most popular manufacturer is Cuisinart, with electrical models that include pizza stone, and cost only $140-$360.
DIY Kits? Sure!
You can also build your own (do it yourself) outdoor pizza oven from many predesigned kits available online, using locally available materials, or you can buy one of the kits available from reliable manufacturers and have your outdoor pizza oven ready to bake in no time.
There Are Other Uses For Outdoor Pizza Ovens
A finely designed fire-burning pizza oven is not only good for treating your family and friends with the best meals they will even taste. It also creates wonderful atmosphere with real flames, warming up the garden during cooler evenings. If elaborately designed, an outdoor pizza oven can be the focal point of your outdoor space. You can also bake almost anything else in your oven, such as breads, pitas and cookies.
A pizza stone is smoothed stone made of terracotta or other clay material which permits even heating of pizzas for a crisp texture.
Use a pizza peel (paddle) to put item in or take them out of the large capacity oven.
An outdoor wood-fired oven is perfect for hot days when indoors cooking is unecessarily hot.