Enhance your outdoors and tempt family and guests with an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven.
Make it and they will come – friends, family (and possibly even passers-by) - as they are lured into your garden by the smell of freshly cooked pizza.
Wood-fired pizza ovens at home
Build a wood fired outdoor pizza oven yourself from scratch, buy it in kit form or have a premade pizza oven installed for minimum fuss. You can even hire one on wheels (with or without a cook) in some states for special occasions.
Outdoor wood fired pizza ovens are a natural extension of Australians' love of preparing and eating food in the outdoor environment. And they not just for cooking pizzas – you can cook anything from roast lamb to vegetables, breads and even desserts in a backyard pizza oven.
Once you’ve become well acquainted with your oven you will be able to cook a whole meal, ordering the cooking of your dishes according to the slow cooling temperature of the oven.
Pizza oven temperature
A well stoked pizza oven (fired with appropriate hardwood), will reach temperatures of around 350°C and at this temperature a pizza will cook perfectly in just two minutes.
Tip: A good indication that you've reached 350°C is when the burnt carbon from the previous fire has disappeared from the walls and roof of the pizza oven.
Installing an outdoor pizza oven
Outdoor pizza ovens can be installed in any garden that has sufficient space. Fit them into retaining or dividing walls or into structures in outdoor rooms or create a stand alone feature. They can even be mounted on trolleys and moved around the garden.
Expect to pay around $2,800 for a small pre-made pizza oven (700mm internal diameter and weighing 550 kilograms) to around $3,800 for a larger one (one metre internal diameter). Pizza oven kits start at about $2,000.
A pre-made outdoor pizza oven with a one metre internal diameter will weigh over a tonne, which means that it needs to be moved by mechanical means. Depending on your access and location, this may be as simple as a trolley or as complex as a crane.
The heaviest element in a kit will weigh about 100 kilograms.
DIY outdoor pizza ovens
You can of course construct your own wood fired pizza oven from scratch and there are lots of plans on the internet for DIY outdoor pizza ovens made from a variety of materials, including brick and cob.
Cob ovens are perfect for those with access to clay. A cob oven is basically an adobe pizza oven constructed from clay and a filler, usually straw (think adobe or straw bale house and you’ll get the idea).
No matter what it’s made from, the key to a good outdoor pizza oven is insulation, as the longer you can keep the heat, the longer you can keep cooking.
Whether you choose to buy or build your own pizza oven, the best advice is to get yourself a copy of Your Brick Oven: Building it and Baking in it by Russell Jeavons, which is packed full of sage advice (and excellent recipes) on what he describes as ‘essentially an ancient and basic method of cooking’.