Pizza is one of the most popular and beloved dishes around the world. It comes in different variations, from classic margherita to gourmet combinations of toppings, but the best, and most flavorful way to cook a pizza is with a wood-fired oven. The wood-fired pizza has a distinct flavor and texture that sets it apart from other cooking methods. In this blog, we will explore the best way to cook wood-fired pizza.
Start with the right dough
The foundation of any good pizza is the dough. A good wood-fired pizza dough should be stretchy, airy, and have a slightly charred crust. It is recommended to use a high protein flour like bread flour or Tipo 00 flour for a chewy texture. You can also add a small amount of sugar/honey to help the yeast activate and create a slightly sweet flavor.
Check out my blog on making Pizza dough here
Get the fire started
The key to cooking a wood-fired pizza is to get the fire started properly. You want to build a fire that generates a lot of heat, but not too much smoke. You can use wood chips, hardwood logs or pellets for fuel, but avoid using treated wood or wood with a lot of resin, as it can produce harmful chemicals.
Let the oven heat up
For most traditional Italian style pizza cooking, the wood-fired oven needs to heat up before you can start cooking. Ideally, the oven should reach a temperature of around 420-500°C (850-900°F) to cook the pizza properly. You can use an infrared thermometer to check the temperature.
Prep the toppings
While the oven is heating up, it's time to prep the toppings. Keep it simple with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, and basil or get creative with toppings like prosciutto, arugula, or roasted vegetables. Make sure to have all the toppings prepared and ready to go before you start cooking.
Stretch the dough
Now it's time to stretch the dough. You can do this by hand or using a rolling pin. Stretch the dough to a thickness of around 1/12 inch, leaving the edges, untouched, slightly thicker and aerated for the crust.
Cook the pizza
Once the oven has reached the desired temperature, use a long-handled wooden peel to transfer the pizza to the oven. Cook the pizza for around 45 seconds - 1.5 minutes, turning it occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly. You want the crust to be slightly charred and crispy, while the toppings are cooked through and bubbly.
Serve and enjoy
Once the pizza is cooked, remove it from the oven using the peel and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy your delicious wood-fired pizza with your favorite toppings!
In conclusion, cooking a wood-fired pizza requires a little bit of practice and patience, but the end result is worth it. With the right dough, fire, toppings, and technique, you can create a delicious pizza that will impress your family and friends.