The Pizza Has Landed!

Finally. It’s really only been 15 months since I started this project, it just seems like forever. Anyway, not *done* done – still need a door and a roof and to install the Mexican tiles, but: we made pizza tonight in our very own brick oven!

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The Caboose with the first pizza from the oven!

When we last left our intrepid yet reckless home improvement maniac, we had just put the first coat of stucco on over the ceramic insulation batting and chicken wire. The next day, the Caboose and I got up early and threw that second coat on before heading off to Sunday Mass:

Then, this morning, we put on the finish coat:

Since we were done well before noon, figured a new pizza oven needed an epic pizza peel, so I gathered scraps and drug out the table saw and clamps:

Around 6:00, we started the fire:

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The dough was on its second rising:

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Let the coals burn on the area where we’d be putting the pizzas for about 20 minutes, then shoved them to the back, swept the ash to the back as well (more or less) then started in with the pizzas:

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That’s mine – made the crust far too thin, got wadded up getting it off the peel. Tasted good, though.

We ended up making 4 medium-small pizzas, which proved plenty for five people. Things I learned:

  1. Should have let the coals burn longer on the spot we’d be cooking. As it was, by the 4th pizza cook time had more than doubled. Maybe need to heat with coals for 30 – 45 minutes? Maybe allow 1.5 to two hours of total heat time?
  2. No super-thin crusts unless you’re going small.
  3. Got to make a door. Helps keep the smoke out of your eyes.

Way fun.

 

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Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

8 thoughts on “The Pizza Has Landed!”

  1. Awesome! Congratulations on an amazing project. I had no idea that brick oven pizza means that you heat the bricks then shove the fire away to actually cook. Very interesting.

    1. Thanks. I had little idea myself at the beginning. YouTube has dozens or hundred of videos on this topic. Turns out there’s 2,000 years of history and tradition around brick ovens. For basic cooking, you burn for an hour or two, shove the the fire to the back, and then throw pizzas or flatbreads right on the bricks, while other things (and you can cook almost anything in a brick oven) can be placed in various locations inside depending. Putting a pan right on the hot bricks is like a cooktop on high; raised off the floor with wire racks or pieces of brick is like baking in an 700-800F oven (or lower if you wait a bit or move it closer to the front).

      For all those outstanding Italian yeast breads, you burn for hours – like 6 or 8 – raising the temperature to something like 1,000F, then spread the coals for maybe an hour to get the floor heat even, then sweep the fire and ash all out (I’m going to need a metal bucket!), close it up for an hour and let it normalize, then mop up the floor with a sopping rag (which fills the oven with steam), THEN throw the raw bread right on the floor! The combo of high heat and steam produce that amazing crust. Or so YouTube would have it.

    1. Aside from glue dry time, it took a couple hours. Power tools, baby! It would have gone much faster if I could have found a sharp plane (or my power hand plane didn’t need a new belt). As it was, had to do the sloped edges with chisels, rasps and sandpaper – not very efficient.

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