It is so rewarding and fun but also challenging at times when you cook in a wood fired oven. It is a simple process, yet there are few things to consider like heating up the oven, getting the temperature right and also what can you actually cook in it. Another question I am going to answer is what are the best cooking vessels to use.
The benefits of cooking with a wood fired oven are immense, and the history of its use goes back to the dawn of civilization. For a long time now, a growing number of people have been searching for more traditional ways of cooking and baking. No wonder that cooking on a bbq or in a wood-fired oven has become so hugely popular. In a time where everything has to be quick, and everybody is so busy, it is a welcoming change in pace.
It takes preparation and time to heat up the oven and also some planning on what you are going to cook with it.
Let’s have a closer look.
What Can You Cook In a Wood Fired Oven
Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind (and is probably the most popular dish) is Pizza. Glorious, mouth-watering pizza with all sorts of different toppings, shapes, and variations. It is everybody’s favorite.
If you own a well-insulated brick or clay oven, the oven stays hot for up to 10 or more hours, and you will be able to cook many more dishes in it as well. How about casseroles, chicken wings, roasting, grilling a steak or baking bread?
Every dish requires a different temperature, so you would need to start with the dish that requires the hottest temperature and as soon as the oven cools down you can add other dishes accordingly.
I have found a little guide on pinkbird.org about required cooking temperatures:
Pizza: – 370ºC – 700ºF
Casseroles: – 210ºC – 410ºF
Baking: – 200ºC – 390ºF
Roasting: – 190ºC – 370ºF
Steak: – 170ºC – 350ºF
You could also roast chicken wings etc. while you are heating up the oven. Why not using this short guide as a menu for your next pizza party?
How Long Does It Take To Heat Up The Oven
As a rule of thumb, depending on the size of the oven and the type of wood you are using, it can take between 1 to 11/2 hours.
The temperature needs to reach around 750ºF to cook a perfect pizza. The pizza cooking time will be between 90 seconds and 2 minutes. Here are a couple of tips: 1) Bake a test pizza first. If you cook lot’s of pancakes than you know that the first pancake is usually not the best. The same applies to the pizza. Therefore, a test pizza is your best bet. 2) You will need to rotate the pizza, so it cooks evenly around the edges.
Some pizza ovens have an inbuilt temperature gauge, but I would recommend buying a handheld temperature gun. They are more precise and far more practical.
You will have to experiment with your oven which is part of the fun. In no time you will be becoming a pro, guaranteed.
The ingredients for pizza are very basic: flour, salt, water, yeast and maybe some olive oil. The main difference lays in the different toppings. Here is the link to my favorite homemade pizza recipe and another link that will take you to a collection of a viariety of pizza recipes.
This is my personal super duper easy two ingredients chicken wings dish. Simply combine sweet chili sauce and chicken wings (if you want, add a splash of soy sauce, salt, and pepper), put it in a heatproof dish (I prefer cast iron) and place it in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes and turn the wings over occasionally.
Steaks need to be at room temperature before you put them on the grill. Season well with salt and pepper. Put them on a heavy duty grill stand. The grill stand is placed right above the fire and needs to be preheated before the steaks are getting cooked.
Only turn the steaks once and cook them to your liking. Again, it will take a bit of practice.
I love making my own bread. The smell of yeast and flour; bringing the ingredients together to form a soft, elastic, smooth and stretchy dough is priceless. The taste of freshly baked bread smothered in a thick layer of butter – just yum!
My favorite recipe is by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the best in my opinion. The key to achieving the best result is by kneading the dough at least ten minutes (as mentioned in the recipe)
What Cooking Vessels Are Best
Hands down, it has to be cast iron. Nothing can destroy a cast iron pan. They are heatproof, heavy duty and distribute the heat evenly. Here is a great example of a baking pan I have found on Amazon.
Cooking in a traditional wood-fired oven is lots of fun but it’s challenging as well. It needs practice, practice, practice.
Once you have mastered the skills, cooking and baking will be a breeze.
I do hope that my post has helped you to tackle certain tasks. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you. as soon as possible.
Happy Cooking everyone!
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