19 Jun. 1990|
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I have dreams about installing a full-on backyard kitchen complete with a wood-fired pizza oven.
Earlier in the year, I posted a link to an article about building your own wood-fired earth oven for $20.
I based the oven on Kiko Denzer's book Build Your Own Earth Oven, although that book can be maddeningly imprecise in critical areas. I got stranded at Pizzeria Bianco without a ride, and a cab driver got us lost on the way back to our hotel. I usually don't cook in it unless we have other people over, because it really isn't nearly as much fun if you aren't cooking a lot of pizzas in it.
I'm a bread baker, and I've done 12 loaves in this — it's great for baking bread because the thermal mass of the oven holds temp so well.
Right now the big hit is a brined-kale-and-goat-cheese pizza with housemade fennel sausage.
I built this oven by myself (not recommended; get friends or a cement mixer) in less than a week of actual work for less than $200. But you may also know him as the founder of Slice (RIP, 2003–2014) where he has written thousands of blog posts about pizza. We cure all our own meats, make our own sausage and brew beer as well, so getting folks to join in usually isn't that hard.
My toddler loves pizza as well, but she's into what my wife calls "cafeteria pizza," essentially a pizza focaccia that I make in the oven. Another good one is the Wakey-Wakey Eggs and Bakey, a tomato sauce, four-cheese pizza with home-cured, smoked bacon with two eggs. That said, a pizza should never come in a box that says Domino's, Papa John's, or Pizza Hut. It makes excellent pizzas, and with a live fire can make easily more than a dozen 12-inch pies, bake tons of bread, and even roast a chicken.
My wife challenged me to build it for $200 or less, so the only things I paid for were about 30 firebricks for the oven floor, concrete sand, and a bag of perlite.
Lately we've been using a variation on Peter Reinhart's Roman pizza dough with a three-day ferment. While I'd still like a masonry oven at some point, this simple, cheap oven pumps out great pizza at a low cost.