As home pizza ovens are becoming more & more popular, if you’re also thinking about buying one of these new ‘must have’ items, hopefully the below info will help you make up your mind! We’ve used our pizza oven a lot, over the past couple of months and we have definitely made a few mistakes (ok, lots) But, we have also learnt a few helpful tricks too!
In May this year, Aldi released a limited edition pizza oven & smoker, for just £99.99. My boyfriend & mum decided to buy one and we haven’t looked back! My boyfriend is pizza obsessed. Unfortunately, we live in a flat, with no garden. (Bit of an issue for storing an outdoor pizza oven) So, my mum and boyfriend agreed to pay half each, so they can both use the oven, but it can be kept in her garden.
The first time we used the oven, it’s safe to say we were not prepared! There have been a few items that we have realised we need & have bought along the way.
*What you’ll need to get started*
Pizza board – (this one is essential to slide the uncooked pizza into the oven)
Flour/semolina flour – (this is also essential pizza dough will stick to any base that isn’t floured!)
Hardwood or Lumpwood Charcoal (3/4 bags make approx four pizzas)
When it comes to ingredients, everyone has their own personal preference! I personally love mozzarella, anchovies, basil leaves and olives. (not the most popular option, but I love it!)
*Tips & Tricks*
You can buy the pizza garlic bread from supermarket deli counters & cook them in the pizza oven (make sure the temp isn’t too high)
When we didn’t have a pizza paddle, the cardboard bases that come with all fresh supermarket pizzas (we bought the large garlic bread & used the base it came with) work well as a base to make the pizzas on & slide them into the oven. (Flour the cardboard before you put the dough into it)
Tesco ready rolled pizza dough & flatbread dough is the best we have tried so far & it’s reasonably cheap!
The pizza express sauce, you can buy in a tin at most supermarkets, has been our go to pizza sauce.
Calzones work really well in the pizza oven! We first tried one, because the pizza stuck to the board (wasn’t floured enough) & we had to salvage it. After finally getting the mushed/folded pizza into the oven, it cooked perfectly & tasted so good!
I know that ideally you would only burn hardwoods to cook the pizzas. But, we have used lumpwood charcoal (available in most supermarkets) and this has worked fine!
There are also plenty of things we have tried, which didn’t really work!
*Mistakes we’ve made*
Don’t go overboard in toppings! If the pizza becomes too heavy it can tear the dough & it will be difficult to transfer/slide into the oven.
Use plenty of flour on the board you make your pizza on. Raw dough is sticky & the pizza won’t move if miss this step!
Stay away from the Asda ready rolled pizza bases. For some reason, they’re square, which means they are too big for this size of home pizza ovens.
If you prefer proper mozzarella over other types of cheese for your pizza, then buy the best quality mozzarella you can afford – some of the supermarkets mozzarellas have a lot water content, which can make the pizza a little soggy once cooked. Buying the supermarket own brand mozzarella, but leaving it out of the packet for a while, to drain it will also work.
Make sure the wood is spread evenly around under the pizza stone, as this will really affect how evenly the pizza base will cook
One thing I would suggest before buying your own oven, is to try real wood fired pizzas. Honest crust pizza, at Altringham market is one of the best I’ve tried! The reason why? Lots of people enjoy pizza, but aren’t used to the taste / appearance of wood fired pizza. It tastes and looks completely different to a takeaway pizza / Pizza Express / normal oven Pizza’s. So, make sure that real wood fired pizza is actually the style of pizza you like, otherwise, it might not be what you think.
Overall we’re so glad we got the pizza oven. It is genuinely so nice to all get together, make & cook pizzas from scratch. Not only do they taste tonnes better than takeaway pizza, they’re even cheaper to make, once you have all the basics!