Yesterday was pizza day here. Our baby pizza oven is nearly finished and we thought it might be a good idea to give it a right good, proper firing before laying the final layer of mortar, to seal up the inevatable cracks that were bound to occur. For a tiny oven, it took absolutely ages to heat up, it was lit around 11am and the carbon on the inside dome bricks was only just starting to burn off around 4pm!! Our BIG pizza oven (right next to this little one), with an inner diameter of 1100mm takes 3 hours from lighting to saturated heat. The measurements of this baby are a mere 550mm inner diameter and the one advantage is that it takes about a third of the fuel to heat, compared to our big oven. I imagine there is still moisture inside that is still drying, so hopefully in the future the firing time will be significantly reduced.
One thing I've learned since having the pizza oven(s), is that it is SO handy to have pizza dough pre-packaged and stored in the freezer. It is so easy to pull out your dough on pizza day and not have to worry about kneading and rising, as well as stoking the fire.
The recipe for pizza dough I use is as follows:
3 tsp instant dried yeast
3 tsp sugar
1 kg plain flour
1-2 tsp salt
A few splashes of olive oil
Approx. 600ml water (I don't usually measure, just keep adding until dough consistancy is reached)
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then add the water and oil and mix well. Keep adding water until a firm dough is formed. Tip out onto a floured surface and knead well for at least 10-15 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to stop dough sticking to bench. Roll into a neat ball and place into a large oiled bowl, roll dough over oil to coat all sides with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours to rise. Punch down and divide into smaller portions depending on preference. I usually divide the dough into 300g-350g pieces. Place portions into freezer bags and freeze until required. On pizza day, I simply pull out as many dough bags as I think we might need and allow them to thaw on the bench at room temp for about 1 hour. If they are thawed and the oven is not ready, they can easily be placed into the fridge until required.
This time around, Shaun made himself a seafood pizza with LOTS of garlic, and the girls had a ham/pineapple with egg on top. I made a potato and rosemary pizza with lots of garlic too, all with ingredients from the garden.. I love that! They were delicious, hence the incomplete photo of them, we gobbled them up straight away, and these are our leftovers for tomorrow!