Sunday, May 28, 2023

Wood-fired pizzas

Bailey Woodean
Bailey Woodean
I have been a freelance writer for more than 4 years, a mom for more than 2 years, and a wife for just under a year. I am currently a student in a cooking and catering program with the intention of expanding my knowledge of the culinary business. I then plan to take this knowledge to properly write about and critique restaurants and food. Writing to you from Niagara Falls, NY, thanks for joining me on the ride!
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pizza wood-fired

Wood-fired pizzas are made using a wood-fired pizza oven, also known as a brick oven. Most brick ovens cook their contents using wood or gas. In the case of this article, the brick ovens cook with lit wood. Brick ovens retain the heat from the fire burning inside. Then the heat radiates evenly, perfectly cooking the food set inside. These brick ovens are an ideal way to cook delicious pizzas because it crisps the crust with a slight char and the toppings and cheese hot and flavorful.   

pizza wood-fired

Positive aspects of brick oven cooking

  • Brick ovens give food a unique flavor
  • Retains nutrients in vegetables
  • Great for baking bread, meat, pizza, and more
  • Saves energy
  • Saves money on electricity
  • Cooks pizzas in 90 seconds
pizza wood-fired

Negative aspects of brick oven cooking

  • Requires special training and expertise
  • Requires concentration and focus
  • Requires consistency in wood size, species, and moisture content
  • Must use a certain type of dough for the crust (brick oven friendly)

Other facts to keep in mind about cooking pizzas in a wood-fired brick oven include:

  • Having the proper flame height
  • Regulating the heat
  • Regulating the cooking time and temperature

These tips will vary depending on your particular pizza recipe and brick oven. The best way to find out what flame height, temperature and cooking time are right for your pizzas and other foods is to experiment. Once you perfect each of these components of brick ovens and brick oven cooked foods then you can move forward with the other areas of your restaurant.

Chef Leo’s pizza dough recipe for brick ovens

The following recipe yields four 12” pizzas.

  • 5 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons of instant dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or lard
pizza wood-fired

The following instructions should be followed closely to create the best end result.

  1. Place flour in a large bowl and create a well in the center
  2. Pour water into the well, slowly
  3. Add sugar and yeast
  4. Mix well with your fingers acting as a whisk
  5. Continue mixing until the dough is “shaggy”
  6. Add the olive oil and mix until smooth
  7. Sprinkle salt on the dough and knead until semi-smooth
  8. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes at room temperature
  9. Divide the dough into four equal portions and roll into tight dough balls
  10. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Then remove 90 minutes before cooking

Chef Leo recommends refrigerating the dough balls to allow them to rest and allow the flavors to fully develop.

Kenneth Kingswell added this recipe for Jalapeno and Pecan Pesto Pizza

Once you make or buy your pizza dough, proceed to make this jalapeno and pecan pesto pizza with the following ingredients.

  • 2 cups of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 oz. Pecan pieces
  • ¼ cup red onion
  • 6 – 10 jalapenos

 Kenneth Kingswell recommends the ingredients be handled as follows:

  1. Remove stems & seeds from jalapenos. Slice jalapenos lengthwise to make removal of seeds & pith easier. (Note: The jalapenos’ spicy heat comes from the pith and ribs of the pepper. Leave a little more in the mix for a hotter sauce, remove as much as possible for a milder sauce.)
  2. Heat pecans over medium heat to toast slightly. Cool pecans before adding to the pesto. Add your sea salt to your pecans.
  3. Add jalapenos & red onion to food processor and puree while adding your olive oil. Add more oil if needed. Pesto should have the consistency of applesauce. Add your nut & salt mixture and taste — checking both salt level & oil level. Add more of each if necessary.
  4. Set sauce aside and prepare your dough and toppings. Layer them on the dough when you are ready to bake your pizza.

Kenneth then recommends using a light layer of sauce on the pizza dough. Then top it with cheese, sliced onion, or pre-cooked chicken. Any ingredients you choose should be mild in flavor as the sauce itself is meant to be the star!

pizza wood-fired

Recipe sourced from

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