Have you ever wondered whether you can bake bread in a pizza oven? Everyone knows a freshly-baked loaf is a thing of great joy. And when done right, it's miles apart from the synthetic-tasting, plastic-wrapped replica you often find in a supermarket. Wouldn't it be nice to cook one up in your own backyard?
Pizza ovens have had a surge in popularity over the last few years, elevating alfresco meal times and backyard get-togethers everywhere. But these outdoor cookers aren't restricted to pizzas and pizzas only. They're a brilliant way to make bread, and it's actually super simple, once you know how.
So, if you're ready to broaden your recipe repertoire beyond everyone's favorite fast food, then give bread a go. It's definitely a reason to snap up one of the best pizza ovens if you haven't got one already.
What type of pizza oven do you need to make bread?
There are different types of pizza ovens, ranging from from traditional wood-fired designs to modern gas versions. The good news is, you can bake bread in a pizza oven no matter what type of fuel it uses.
Gas models make it easy as you have better control of the temperature – it's similar to cooking bread in an indoor oven, really. Cooking bread in a wood-fired pizza oven, however, is a more traditional method and requires a bit more practice – but the results are, arguably, even more delicious.
How do you bake bread in a pizza oven?
There are all types of food you can cook in a pizza oven, but bread has to be one of our favorites. 'People have been baking bread in a wood-fired oven for thousands of years,' says Vicky Naylor, General Manager at ACR Stoves.
Start by making your dough. While it's proving, fire up your pizza oven and get the stone baking board inside heated up to the desired temperature for your recipe. Once it's hot enough, aim to minimize the flame, and, using a peel, place your dough inside the oven, closing the door behind. Vicky recommends ensuring the base of the dough is heavily floured to stop it from sticking. As the bread will rise quickly, it's also a good idea to cut a slash across the top of the loaf before cooking it, to let the air out.
Cook the loaf until it begins to show color, say the experts at Ooni on their website. For a standard loaf, this should be around ten minutes or so. Then, rotate it and continue baking for a few minutes longer, until it's golden brown all over. Vicky explains that this ensures an even bake.
Unless otherwise specified, the interior of your finished loaf should be at least 205˚F (96˚C), the Forno Bravo experts advise. Try tapping the bottom – Vicky says it should sound hollow when it's cooked through. 'Let it cool slightly before you cut it open to allow the middle to firm up,' she adds.
How hot should your pizza oven be to make bread?
'Bread is often baked between 392-482˚F (200-250˚C) in pizza ovens, depending on the bread you are baking,' says Vicky.
'At the top of the temperature range, breads such as naan breads and garlic breads will cook within minutes. Next, lean breads (a dough low in fat and sugar) such as sourdough, ciabatta, focaccia and rolls are baked at traditional temperatures around 392-446˚F (200-230˚C). Breads that have more fat, eggs and sugar are cooked at a lower temperature of around 356˚F (180˚C) until you are essentially baking cakes.'
The experts at Forno Bravo recommend investing in a point-and-shoot infrared thermometer (available on Amazon) to ensure you get the temperature right – it's one of those pizza oven accessories that will make cooking a breeze.
Shop these essential Ooni deals for baking bread in a pizza oven:
Whether you're cooking fresh bread or delicious pizza, get great results every time with this handy infrared thermometer. Simply aim it at the baking stone in the center of the oven and the reading will appear on the display screen.
With multiple fuel options (gas burner sold separately) and enough room for cooking a wide range of foods, this is one of the most versatile, sleek and chic pizza ovens we've seen. Plus, there's a hinged door and a mounted digital thermometer.
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.
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