The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

outdoor bread and Pizza oven - what is your set up?

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

outdoor bread and Pizza oven - what is your set up?

Hey all, my teenaged son has pizza for lunch almost every day over a decade. It is just his favorite lunch. When he was in grade school, I packed him awful tasting (though he liked it of course) bagel bite pizzas that I thawed and baked and then packed in his lunch box for school.

Then we started homeschool (He is autistic and the schools couldn't meet his needs - dumbing things down for him instead of changing how they taught him. He has been THRIVING since we started to homeschool. He's now 15 and starting 10th grade)

Well, we started doing frozen pizza and that was fine, but I also made homemade pizza frequently and we all prefer that. I started to do some thinking and I decided to bake small pizzas on the grill once a week in bulk and then just reheat them each day. This is way cheaper and way tastier. BUT... You know there had to be a but, we all prefer them when I do them at high heat. I have found some tricks for indoors, but now that it's summer, I'm trying to do most of the heat-producing cooking on the grill outside. I found a make-shift way to set up a pizza oven which I'll share here, but now that I'm baking more and more, I am wondering if I should invest in a used (if possible) brick oven or a new Ooni Pro oven so I can bake bread AND pizza.

My makeshift outdoor oven for the grill is a PizzaQue baking stone turned backward so that the slit is in the back. Then, I got a baking steel to fit under it. I already had the PizzaQue for pizza on the grill (which I found abysmal) and I bought a steel for like $20, so it's a cheap set up.

I preheat and bake. The problem is that the bottom cooks faster than the top, so I use room temperature ingredients and in the end, I put the pizza on top of the stone to the cheese fully melted. I NEVER get that bubbly high heat pizza on the grill with this setup. The worst part is that there is slightly less than a 2-inch clearance to slide a pizza unto

In this particular photo, It shows me baking a pizza WHILE also baking a loaf of bread. It worked and I only had to heat up the grill once for the bake instead of twice.

But what if I had a pizza oven that I could also bake in? Someone is selling a beehive one near me... but is it worth dealing with building a fire? or should I just get an Ooni pro?

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

It depends a bit on the type of pizza you make.  If you are making a NY style, many believe they come out best when baked around 500 or 550 F, so a home oven and a steel,  or on a pizza stone on your grill about both nice options - though it helps to get some top heat -  ideally you would have a stone, and a much larger container, like a steam table pan inverted over it so that some of the heat gets redirected to the top.   Something like the Mighty Pizza Oven would be great, but I don't think they are made anymore  https://slice.seriouseats.com/2013/08/pizza-lab-equipment-test-the-mighty-pizza-oven-and-the-kalamazoo-pizza-oven.html    For me,  I use 100% home milled white winter wheat, and I find I need to cook at a higher temp, like 650 to 750 F -  for that, a dedicated pizza oven is best -  Ooni makes several models,  I have the Koda 16,  there are cheaper versions that are smaller, and that would probably work better for you since you are making a batch at a time.   I suggest you stay with a propane oven, the pellets are a bit harder to control, and most say that pizza is cooked so quickly, you won't get any smoke flavor.  In terms of reheating, there are several options.  One is in a covered skillet on you stovetop on a medium flame -  it recrisps the bottom, but keeps the top tender by keeping in the moisture with a covered skillet.  The other option is to put it on a pizza pan, and put it in a cold oven, then turn the oven on to 200.  It gradually warms up the pizza, and that way the cheese won't be burning hot, and it should not heat up your kitchen much.