I made my very first wood-fired pizza!
I’ve always been a fan of pizza and I’ve made pizza at home since I was a teenage (okay, Chef Boyardee kits count, right?). I’ve made my own dough and even tried my hand at my own sauce before. Angela and I upgraded to a pizza stone years ago and they do help a lot. During the pandemic, we started making even more pizza at home and my daughter really upped her baking in general.
So one of the things we all agreed would be really awesome would be to have our very own pizza oven. After seeing just how involved a “real” pizza oven would be, we figured we could scale that back to a “portable” pizza oven. They’re on par with the expense and use of a meat smoker and generally are “countertop” sized; though of course you use them outside as they do produce smoke.
The particular model we got is an Ooni Koda 16. It’s portable in the sense that it’s not bolted down; but at about 75 pounds (34 kg), we’re not likely to take it on many camping trips or anything. It’s a multi-fuel in that it uses a mix of charcoal and hardwood. It’s pretty much the same principal as a Kamado-type grill, in that it uses natural drafting to pull in fresh air over coals to get them really hot. Onto which you then add some hardwood to make flames and get the oven even hotter. Like 700°F (340°C) and more hot. Further, like a Kamado, floor of the oven is ceramic tile which retains that heat. This cooks the dough while the flame licking over the inside roof of the oven cooks the toppings. And it does this in about 90 seconds (this is Neapolitan style; if you have “thicker” crust you reduce the temp some and cook for longer).
I’ve had pizza in New York, Chicago, and yes, even Naples, Italy. Was my very first pizza the best I’ve ever had? No, but it was up there for me. And I got to make it! In my backyard! The pictures here just don’t do the chewy, warm crust justice. Yeah, I was seconds away from burning it but it was still so good. I started with just a simple cheese pizza, and then made a pepperoni pizza and another white pizza (well, pretty much cheese-bread as I didn’t use enough olive oil).
Oh, yeah: recipes: I know that there are purists who spend a lot more time on ingredients than I ever will, but I just use a super-simple dough recipe, my favorite brand of sauce, some store-brand shredded mozzarella, and Italian seasoning. Chefs and cooks can hate on that all they want, but I can make this any time I want now. ;)